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Kadima Candidate Dichter: 'Kadima Plans On Implementing Another Unilateral Withdrawal Of Isolated Settlements In West Bank Immediately After Election'

'However, IDF Will Maintain Control Of Evacuated Areas'

Prime Minister Olmert Will Reportedly Seek International Support For Step, If Hamas Does Not Change Its Positions

Avi Dichter

On February 24th, IsraCast reported that if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party wins the upcoming election, it will prepare to withdraw unilaterally from isolated settlements on the West Bank. Today, two leading Israeli newspapers, Yediot Ahronot and Haaretz have now confirmed this.

'Immediately after the March 28th election, Kadima plans for another unilateral withdrawal in Judea and Samaria (West Bank)' - that declaration comes from Avi Dichter, Kadima candidate and former chief of the Shabak Security Service. Dichter, as reported by IsraCast on February 24th, stressed that although Israel would withdraw from isolated settlements, the IDF would continue to maintain control of the evacuated areas. The step would be based on the northern Samaria model; Israel withdrew from 4 settlements there as part of the Gaza evacuation last summer, but the IDF still operates in the area. The Yediot Ahronot newspaper also quotes Dichter as naming the settlements to be evacuated: Alon Moreh, Yitzhar, Itamar, Tapuach, Shilo, Pasagot, Nokdim, Tekoah, Pnei Hever, Maon and Otniel. The other settlements would be grouped into seven settlement blocs. Dichter went on to say that Israel would allow the Palestinian Authority to take control of the evacuated areas only after it proved ready to combat the terrorists.

The Haaretz daily goes on to say that Olmert plans on recruiting international support for the step outlined by Dichter. Olmert would try to get U.S. and other international backing to carry out such a move if Hamas does not agree to recognize the Jewish state, halt the terrorism and honor prior agreements.

David Essing

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