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REACTIONS TO GEN. Yaalon'S WARNING

Dep. Premier Olmert:'If Palestinians Launch New War Of Terrorism After Disengagement, Israel Will Make Them Wish They Hadn't!'

Olmert Reacted To Outgoing IDF Chief Of Staff's Warning That After Israel's Withdrawal, Palestinians Will Start Intifada #3

Analyst David Essing:'Government May Order IDF To Remain Deployed In Northern Samaria After Pullout From 4 Settlements'

Outgoing Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon

Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz became the IDF's new Chief of Staff today - outgoing commander Gen. Moshe Yaalon bowed out with a grave warning of new Palestinian terrorism. Yaalon told the Israeli daily Haaretz that the Palestinians will launch a new war of terrorism if they do not get their way after Israel's upcoming evacuation of the Gaza Strip and 4 settlements in northern Samaria. Reacting to the assessment, Deputy Premier Ehud Olmert warned if the Palestinians do renew the violence, Israel would hit back hard. In light of the grim outlook of Israel's intelligence community it now appears likely that the cabinet will instruct the IDF to remain deployed in northern Samaria to prevent terror attacks on the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv.

'It may very well be that the Palestinians will launch a new war of terrorism after Israel's evacuation, if they do Israel will hit back so hard, they'll regret starting it!' That's the reaction of Deputy Premier Ehud Olmert to the dire warning by the IDF's outgoing Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon. Just before being retired, General Yaalon told Haaretz newspaper that the Palestinians will launch a new war of terrorism if Israel doesn't carry out another pullback on the West Bank. Yaalon spoke of a 'Palestinian eruption'. It would include terror attacks of all types: 'shooting, bombs, suicide bombers, mortars and Qassam rockets.'

Ehud Olmert

Olmert's Take: An enthusiastic supporter of Sharon's disengagement plan, Olmert says Israel is taking worst case scenarios into account and must be ready to cope with a terror escalation on the West Bank.But he added, the disengagement is in Israel's best interest and Israel is going into it with eyes wide open and without expectations. It appears that in light of Yaalon's warning, which apparently reflects the view of IDF intelligence, the cabinet may instruct the IDF to remain in northern Samaria after the pullout from 4 isolated settlements there. This would be in line with the recommendation of Gen. Yair Naveh, who has recommended that the Israeli army remain in northern Samaria for at least 4 months after the evacuation of the 4 settlements.

Israel Police Gearing Up: The Israeli Police force, which will be on the front line of evacuating the settlers, is stepping up its training. More than a third of the entire force - some 6,500 policemen will be involved. Here also, Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra said that worst-case scenarios were also being considered. The entire evacuation of the Gaza Strip and the 4 Samaria settlements will take 5 weeks starting after August 15th. Three weeks will be required for Gaza, one week for the Samaria settlements and a fifth week to move out property. Police Chief Moshe Karadi said the force is also preparing for major protests inside Israel warning that demonstrators will not be allowed to block highways. Two major detention centers for Jewish protesters are being set up with judges in place ready to hand out swift justice. Most of the settlers are religious and there could be a problem if male policemen start physically evicting female settlers because there are not enough policewomen. The fear is this could spark clashes. Gideon Ezra also warned there could be violence between protesters blocking busy freeways during rush hours and drivers who are getting fed up with the traffic jams.

With the historic withdrawal less than 3 months away, the government press office says thousands of foreign journalists and TV crews are planning to arrive to cover the story.

David Essing

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