Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, said on Tuesday that he apposes any unilateral withdrawal from West Bank settlements, adding that settlements in the West Bank are considered the future borders of Israel.

In an interview to Israel Radio, Mofaz stated that the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip corresponds with the Israeli international interests, and added that the southern borders were already set in agreements with Egypt.

“Gaza-Jericho agreement, and keeping the settlements in the Gaza Strip, does not benefit us in the future”, Mofaz stated.

Yet, Mofaz believes that settlements in the West Bank are considered vital to the Israeli security.

“We cannot conduct any unilateral moves in the West Bank”, Mofaz stated, “In the coming years we can arrive to an agreement with the Palestinians to co-exist”.

Also, Mofaz added that Israel can arrive to e peaceful agreement with the Palestinians in the coming years “if they are committed to the Road Map Plan, and if they dismantle the terrorist organizations”, according to Mofaz.

“President Abbas did not implement his vows yet”, Mofaz said, “He must dismantle the armed groups, he has to do what the world expects him to do”.

Mofaz claimed that Israel does not interfere in the Palestinian elections, but he reiterated his statements rejecting the participation of Hamas at the legislative elections slated from January 2006.

“If Hamas takes power, we will not negotiate with them”, Mofaz stated, “The world will not support the P.A if Hamas takes over”. 

Mofaz also said that Israel will retaliate to any homemade shells fire at Israeli targets, and will use all available means to retaliate.

Commenting on Sunday’s clashes between the P.A and Hamas fighters, which left three killed, and 50 injured in Gaza, Mofaz said that this is an “isolated incident which does not present a change of the P.A policy against Hamas”.