As the Israeli government officially approved ending 38 years of Ã¢â‚¬Å“military ruleÃ¢â‚¬Â in the Gaza Strip, and complete the army withdrawal by Monday morning, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, reiterated his statements of enforcing settlements in the West Bank.
Sharon told the Washington Post newspaper that his government will continue the constructions in big settlement blocs in the West Bank, in spite of US objections.
Sharon reiterated his statements regarding keeping the big settlement blocs in the West Bank and expanding them, in addition to his statements which rejects any political solution which could change the status of Jerusalem as Ã¢â‚¬Å“the united capital of Israel, for everÃ¢â‚¬Â, according to Sharon.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We will not evacuate big settlement blocs in the West BankÃ¢â‚¬Â, Sharon said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We will continue settlement construction in the West BankÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Several Palestinian officials and organizations repeatedly warned that the Gaza pullout could be the start of a new Israeli plan for settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank, especially after Sharon repeatedly stated that big West Bank settlement blocs will always be part of the state of Israel.
Commenting on the American reaction to the Israel intentions, Sharon said that Ã¢â‚¬Å“they [US government] will not be happy about it, but these are main settlements blocs, and we will construct and expand themÃ¢â‚¬Â.
April 2004, Washington announced its support to Israel in expanding the big settlement blocs in the West Bank; the US president George Bush sent a letter to Sharon expressing the American support to keeping the big settlement blocs under Israeli control, and demanded the Palestinians to give up their right of return.Ã‚Â
Also, Sharon said that Israel will not negotiate with the Palestinians unless they disarm the resistance factions, and added that his government will remove some random settlement outpost installed by settlers in the West Bank.