Sharon on the Peace Process
In the campaign, Sharon pledged to continue
to negotiate with the Palestinians. He declared that "Oslo is dead"
because the Palestinians have not complied with the signed agreements and he
argues that a new approach to negotiations must be considered. Unlike Barak,
Sharon does not consider a final status agreement with the Palestinians
realistic, and says he will pursue a "multi-staged" process with
agreements similar to "non-belligerency" treaties. In the campaign
Sharon declared that he would not dismantle settlements. He also stated that he
would not make public his "red lines" on settlements or borders, but
that peace with require "painful concessions."
Sharon insists that he will never "divide" Jerusalem, and says that
Jerusalem will remain a united city under Israeli sovereignty. He has declared
that he will never give up Israeli sovereignty of the Temple Mount.
For some time now, Sharon has stated that he would agree to the establishment
of an independent Palestinian state in part of the West Bank and Gaza. Sharon
points to the territory from which Israel has already withdrawn in the West Bank
(42%) and Gaza Strip but questions any more withdrawals. While the areas under
Palestinian control are not contiguous, Sharon envisions a system of bypass
roads and tunnels that would enable Palestinians to travel between these areas
without encountering Israeli checkpoints. Sharon insists that Israel continue to
hold the Jordan Valley as a vital security zone.
Like Barak, Sharon is insistent that there can be no right of return for
Palestinian refugees. Sharon argues that refugees should be resettled in the
countries in which they currently reside, with issues of family reunification
will continue to be considered on a case-by-case informal basis.
Next: The Need to Build a Governing Coalition