Reaction to Gaza pullout rejection

Reaction to the rejection of Ariel Sharon’s plan to dismantle settlements in the Gaza Strip is varied. Only forty percent of the Likud party members voted in the referendum.

Uraiqat: Likud members have no right to overrule agreements
Uraiqat: Likud members have no right to overrule agreements

Saib Uraiqat, Palestinian Minister of Negotiation Affairs:
“The Likud party members have no right to determine the fate of the Palestinians. They also have no right to change the UN Security Council resolutions, the agreements signed in Madrid or the road map. Bush should also have called upon all sides to hold talks over reviving the implementation of the road map, particularly since there is a Quartet meeting on Tuesday”

Ehud Olmert, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister:
“This move cannot be stopped just on the basis of today’s decision … There is no alternative for Israel if we want to stop terrorism.” 
Ahmad Quraya, Palestinian Prime Minister:
“I hope this will be an incentive to go back to the right path so we can find a just and permanent solution that will ensure the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Scott McClellan, White House spokesman:
“We have been informed of the results of the Likud (party) voting. Our own view has not changed: The president welcomed Prime Minister Sharon’s plan to withdraw settlements from Gaza and a part of the West Bank as a courageous and important step toward peace. We will be in consultation with the prime minister and the government of Israel about how to move forward.”

Justice Minister Tommy Lapid, head of the Centrist Shinui Party:
“They forget these aren’t national elections, but a vote in Likud, and the Likud is not the people of Israel. We demand this issue be brought for discussion before the cabinet and parliament … the Likud will not determine the fate of the nation.”
Khudur Habib, Islamic Jihad official:
“The Israelis will leave Gaza. This is a fact that they will reach sooner or later. They will get to this fact when they lose much of their people’s blood.”

Uzi Landau, leader of Likud opponents of Gaza pullout:
“We succeeded in persuading the Likud to remain true to its principles … No split is expected in the Likud.” 
British Foreign Office spokesman:
“The vote in Israel was a domestic matter for the Likud Party. Our position remains unchanged. The Prime Minister made a statement on April 19th where he said he welcomed the Israeli proposal to withdrew from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. The road map remains the best way to peace and disengagement from the occupied territories, can be an opportunity to return to it”.

David Makovsky, Senior fellow at Washington Institute for Near East Policy:   
“There’s no doubt he (Sharon) has been hurt by the defeat in the party referendum. The question is, has he been fatally crippled? We’ll know by his actions. But for him to suddenly back off from his own proposal and adopt an approach of passivity would decisively undermine his standing both at home and abroad.” 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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