U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday that Israel will be expected to carry out further withdrawals that would ultimately lead to an independent Palestinian state, Israeli sources reported.
Rice said that she feels for those settlers being evacuated, but ‘It cannot be Gaza only.’
She reiterated its request to the Palestinian Authority to disarm Palestinian resistance groups, who are planning to break the current cease-fire declared in the Sharm Al-Sheikh summit in February.
Palestinian factions have always reiterated their commitment to the cease-fire, despite them being critical of it, and commitment to the unilateral relative calm they declared after their talks in Cairo in March.
In her interview with the New York Times at the State Department, the secretary, remarked that she expected the Israeli and the Palestinian officials to take further steps in short order toward the creation of a Palestinian state.
Such steps must include removing travel restrictions in the West Bank and withdrawing from more Palestinian areas.
Rice has been to the region twice in preparation for the pullout, and urged Israel to coordinate the disengagement with the Palestinians, yet Palestinian officials complained the lack of coordination.
Israel only coordinated security issues with the Palestinian Authority to ensure that pullout will be carried out with no Palestinian fire.
The pullout from the Gaza Strip and four minor settlements in the northern West Bank is seen as a two edged sword by some Palestinians.
Many have voiced concerns that Israel will sell the pullout as the end of the occupation and enforce its grab on the West Bank.
Israel expects ease in the relations with the United Nations and the Arab world in particular after the pullout.