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Israeli finance minister Netanyahu resigns 'dissapointed that government is ignoring reality' of Gaza becoming terrorist state

PM who gave Hebron to Arabs scrambles to jump from sinking ship
August 7, 2005

MIM: After meeting with Arafat at Camp David, and being perceived as having betrayed voters with moves such as giving Hebron to terrorists resulting in terrorist attacks. Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have decided that he wants to redeem himself at the zero hour, in order to assure that his political career will not be completely tainted by a legacy of appeasement and resulting terrorism. One Knesset member scoffed at the move saying that "he will not suceed even in saving himself - let alone Gush Katif".

Netanyahu Resigns from Government
17:14 Aug 07
By Hillel Fendel

Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced his sudden resignation from the government this afternoon, citing the disengagement plan as dangerous and harmful to the State of Israel.

"We have reached the moment of truth," Netanyahu informed the Cabinet in a letter he left on the Cabinet table after his dramatic announcement this afternoon. "There is a way of reaching peace and security, but unilateral withdrawal - under terrorist fire, and with nothing in return - is not the way to do this. Withdrawing from Gaza will turn that area into a terror base that will endanger the country."

Netanyahu further wrote that the disengagement is a "move that splits the nation, and will endanger Jerusalem in the future."

The outgoing Finance Minister will convene a press conference at 6 PM.

Less than a half-hour after the surprise announcement, the Cabinet voted by a 17-5 margin to approve the first stage of the disengagement. The three communities that are to be destroyed, according to the decision, are Kfar Darom, Netzarim and Morag.

The five ministers who voted against were Netanyahu, Naveh, Katz, HaNegbi and Livnat. Education Minister Limor Livnat announced her plans earlier today, after she asked PM Sharon if he plans to present the second stage of the expulsion prior to the implementation of the entire plan. He did not promise to do so, and Livnat then said that this was against previous government decisions - according to which all stages must be approved by the Cabinet before the actual expulsion/withdrawal begins. She therefore announced she would vote against.

The other ministers who voted against have not yet reacted to Netanyahu's announcement, thus that the question of whether they will follow suit and resign as well remains open.

Knesset Member Yuval Shteinitz (Likud), who half-heartedly supports the disengagement plan, said today, "I hope that Netanyahu will be the next Prime Minister of Israel." He said that it's Sharon's fault that Netanyahu had resigned, because of his "disrespect for the Likud referendum, his refusal to hold a nationwide referendum, his willingness to abandon the Philadelphi Route to Egypt..."

Among disengagement opponents, Likud MK Yuli Edelstein said that Netanyahu's move was a "courageous" one, but MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) was not impressed. "He will not succeed in saving even himself, let alone Gush Katif," Eldad said today.

MK Uri Ariel called on the other Likud ministers who oppose the expulsion plan to resign as well.

Minister Dalia Itzik of Labor said that she noted that Netanyahu's mood was "different" during the last couple of days, and that she had commented on this to her party colleagues. She had a sharp question for Netanyahu: "You gave away Hevron, yet Gush Katif you are not willing to cede under any circumstances?!"

The specification of the three towns Morag, Kfar Darom and Netzarim does not mean that they will be the first to be destroyed. Fifteen other towns in Gush Katif are also slated for destruction, and the government has already announced that it will proceed from north to south in razing them. Four communities in northern Samaria are also threatened with destruction, but no order has been announced for such.

A government decision of several months ago determined that the expulsion would not begin before the day of fasting and mourning of Tisha B'Av, which falls next Sunday.

The entry of the left-wing Labor Party into the government seven months ago has virtually assured Prime Minister Sharon of a majority on all disengagement-related votes.

Dozens of people protested outside Netanyahu's home in Jerusalem last night, demanding his resignation from what they called the "expulsion/transfer government." Participants lambasted Netanyahu's "double message" approach - characterized by his statements and votes against the disengagement, while at the same time not taking concrete steps to stop it. They said that this approach would not help him in the upcoming Likud party elections for party leader. "We're Not in Your Pocket," according to signs held at the demonstration.

MIM: Finance minister and ex Israeli prime minister Netanyahu resignation letter to Ariel Sharon. Netanyahu states that he does not want to be party to the bloodshed which will result when Gaza becomes a terrorist state. He writes of his "dissapointment that the government is ignoring reality".

7 August 2005

Mr. Ariel Sharon
Prime Minister


From the first conversation when you presented your plan to me, I told you
that I oppose unilateral withdrawal without anything in return, that in my
estimation will strengthen the forces of terror. As a minimum I asked for
the inclusion of the settlement blocs within the security fence before the
beginning of the withdrawal and the holding of the Philadephi Corridor in
our hands. In this way we would be neutralizing the impression that we are
running away from terror and instead shows that we are choosing a new
defense line in accordance with out national interests. In addition, we set
that after then the Government would be able to consider if to decide on the
evacuation in light of the reality developing in the area.

To my sorrow, the security fence has not been completed around the
settlement blocs, the Philadelphi Corridor will be handed over to the
Palestinians, and worse than that, we will allow the Palestinians to open a
sea port that will be open to the terror boats.

To my disappointment, the Government ignores reality. As I warned, the
Hamas is strengthening, the terror continues, the firing of rockets and
mortars on our communities has not ended, and terror elements proclaim that
they will move the rockets that drove us out of the Gaza Strip to Judea and
Samaria, and from there will operate them until "the complete liberation of

I do not know when the terror will break out in full force. It is possible
that it will take a month or two or a year or two. It is possible that the
terror will first break out in Judea and Samaria. I hope that it won't
break out at all. But just as I warned in 1993 that the Oslo Agreement will
bring attacks from Judea and Samaria and rockets from Gaza, so I
unfortunately am convinced today that the current move will bring in the
course of time to an increase in terror rather than a decrease. As you know
full well, security officials also confirm that in the wake of the
unilateral withdrawal they expect an increase in terror in the mid-run.

In summary: it is becoming increasingly clear that the unilateral withdrawal
under fire doesn't give us anything. The opposite; it endanger the security
of Israel, divide the Nation, and sets the principle of withdrawal to the '67
lines that are no defendable.

This is not the way to achieve peace.

I always thought that the withdrawal from Gaza is possible in an agreement
or for a reasonable consideration. That is not the case now. Therefore,
what are we receiving in return for the withdrawal? What are we receiving
for uprooting families with their children, their homes, their graves! We
will receive an Islamic terror base.

After the terror attacks in New York, Washington, London and Sinai, the
world begins to understand that it is necessary to fight terror and not make
compromises. The international community understands more and more that it
is impossible to fight terror by running away from it, because the
accumulating experience shows that the terror only strengthens and pursues
us. And yet Israel, which showed the world the way to fight terror, now,
goes in the completely opposite direction.

In recent months I hoped that the Government would open its eyes against
this clear reality and change direction. But the opposite happened. A
balanced Government that reflected the will of the People in the last
elections has turned into a Government that carries out automatically
policies that oppose the principles of the Likud and the mandate that we
received from our voters.

Mister Prime Minister, you could have kept a balanced National Government.
You could have prevented the splitting of the Nation. Over the course of
months I asked for a national referendum that would maintain unity in the
Government and the Nation. To my sorrow, you chose to oppose it, as before
you chose to ignore the referendum of the Likud members that you initiated
and whose results you promised to honor. Now, in these hard days before us,
the need for reserve, control and responsibility from all parts of the
Nation and the Government is greater than ever.

All this time I remained in the Government despite my growing opposition to
the withdrawal given the developments. I did this as an attempt to minimize
the dangers and damages resulting from the unilateral withdrawal. An
attempt that to my sorrow has been exhausted. And I did it out of
responsibility to my position as minister of the treasury. We are in the
middle of carrying out a revolution of reforms and privatizations
unprecedented in the market, which will strengthen the State of Israel and
its economy. These days I completed the two last reforms, in banks and
reducing taxes, and I prepared a responsible State budget that I developed
in complete coordination with you.

When I entered my position two and a half years ago, the Israeli economy was
on the edge of collapse. Today this economy is healthy, growing and
vibrant. If the economic policies that I led are not changed, the growth
will continue and reach all parts of the Nation.

Today we reached the moment of truth. There is a way to reach peace and
security. Unilateral withdrawal under fire without compensation is not the
way. I am not prepared to be a partner to a step that ignores reality and
blindly advances the establishment of an Islamic terror base that will
threaten the State. I am not prepared to be a partner to an irresponsible
move that endanger the security of Israel, divides the Nation, sets the
principle of withdrawal to the '67 lines, and in the future even endangers
the unity of Jerusalem.

Therefore I advise today of my resignation from the Government.

Best regards,
Binyamin Netanyahu

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