Khaled Masha’al, head of the political bureau of Hamas described the plan by the acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to unilaterally set Israel’s borders as a declaration of war on the Palestinian people.
Masha’al said Olmert’s plan is not a peace plan, but constitutes "unilateral moves that will allow Israel to remain in most of the West Bank through construction of the wall, leaving in its hands the settlements and Jerusalem and rejecting the right of return of the Palestinian refugees," reported the French News Agency AFP.
On his part, Palestinian Legislator Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, head of the National Dmocratic Initiative also described the plan is a declaration of war not only on the Palestinians, but also on the two-states solution, and said that the Palestinians will resist this plan as it aims to "reinforce the occupation and the settlements policy and turn it into an apartheid which will turn the life of the Palestinians into hell."
Following the ailing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s lead, Olmert is planning to unilaterally withdraw from some selective settlements in the West Bank and annex the major bloc to Israel by the year 2010.
"I believe that in four years’ time Israel will be disengaged from the vast majority of the Palestinian population, within new borders, with the route of the fence – which until now has been a security fence – adjusted to the new line of the permanent borders," he said.
Olmert said on Thursday that if he is elected prime minister, Israel will set down permanent borders within four years, separating itself from the Palestinian population of the West Bank.
Olmert is leding the newly formed Kadima party facing head of the Labor Party mir Peretz and head of the Likud party Benjamine Netanyhau in the upcoming election by the end of March.
Olmert’s plan was faced, not only by Palestinian criticism, but Israeli as well.
Peretz said Olmert did not state who he planned to hold negotiations with. He warned that unilateral action would be "a very serious mistake," and called for talks with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
On the other hand, Knesset Member Gideon Sa’ar described the plan as giving the Palestinians wihtout taking from them.
"Olmert’s withdrawal plan is the most extreme leftist plan that has ever been presented to the Israeli public," MK Sa’ar said Friday. "Olmert is planning to give without getting anything in exchange and with no agrement."
In an attempt to satisfy the settlers, Olmert said he plans to offer the settlers a deal in in an effort to reach an agreement about Israel’s withdrawal line in the West Bank: convergence into the large settlement blocs and the expansion of those blocs in exchange for evacuation of settlements beyond whatever border is set.
He also said he will build up the disputed E-1 zone between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, despite American opposition.