Palestinians: Gaza plan devious

Palestinians say the Gaza withdrawal plan is a ploy by Israel to retain large swathes of the West Bank and any alternative will be more of the same.

    Sharon plans to scale down Gaza withdrawal

    "This is a new manoeuvre to extract more concessions from the Americans and taking this course will mean expanding settlements in Gaza Strip," said Yasir Abid Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official.

     

    Rabbo called for the implementation of the peace "road map" that outlines reciprocal steps leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state in 2005.

     

    The Palestinian reaction comes amid moves by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Tuesday to amend his US-backed Gaza pullout plan that his Likud party rejected,

    holding consultations with cabinet ministers on a new blueprint.

     

    Pressure

      

    Sharon met Justice Minister Yosef Lapid, a senior coalition partner with 15 seats in the 120-member parliament. Lapid kept pressure on Sharon by threatening to take his Shinui party out of the government if the plan was scratched from the agenda.

       

    The prime minister said on Monday he would amend the proposal, which Likud rank-and-file voted down by a 60-40% margin in a referendum on Sunday.

     

    "This is a new manoeuvre to extract more concessions from the Americans"

    Yasir Abid Rabbo


    senior Palestinian official

    Newspapers reported that would mean scaling back the original plan to evacuate all 21 Gaza settlements and four in the West Bank. Instead, the reports said, three Gaza settlements and two in the West Bank would go. There was no immediate official comment on the reports.

       

    Shimon Peres, head of the main opposition Labour Party, urged Sharon not to water down the plan, predicting the Likud would oppose any ceding of land to the Palestinians.

       

    "They won't let Sharon push through anything serious, even a more limited plan," said Peres, calling for a general election. 

       

    US President George Bush drew Arab rage when, in backing the plan, he said Israel could not be expected to give up all the land it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

       

    Meanwhile, senior officials of the Middle East peacemaking "Quartet" - the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - planned to meet in New York later on Tuesday to discuss its violence-stalled "road map".

       


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.