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2002-04-23

Ariel Sharon Plans to Annex Half of the West Bank: A Debate On the History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Zionism

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Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres Sunday confirmed a report that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wants to annex half of the West Bank under an unpublished plan for the Palestinian territories that he is drawing up with close advisers.

Following a report in the London Telegraph, Peres confirmed in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press that Sharon is suggesting Israel annex half of the West Bank as an "interim agreement." Peres says he doesn’t think that is a final solution.

Meanwhile, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports Sharon angrily declared Sunday at his weekly cabinet meeting that the Israeli government will not discuss the removal of any Israeli settlements on Palestinian land until the next elections in October 2003. Banging his hand on the table for emphasis, he said there would also be no such discussion after those elections if he is reelected.

The subject was raised when a Labor Party minister asked why the government doesn’t adopt Israeli Army officer recommendations to evacuate isolated settlements. According to an Israeli news program, senior officers are arguing that isolated settlements in the Gaza Strip have become tremendous security burdens, requiring a regiment of soldiers to protect each one.

Today on Democracy Now! we will have a discussion on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, looking at the expanding Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, but also going back earlier, to the 1948 war and the roots of the Zionist movement.

Guests:

  • Ilan Pappe, senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Haifa University and author of ??The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
  • Meir Pail, professor of military history, former Knesset member and former military officer, speaking to us from Tel Aviv.
  • Norman Finkelstein, lecturer at De Paul University in Chicago and author of several books including ??The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (Published by Verso). ??Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. His earlier book ??A Nation on Trial on Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners was named a notable book for 1998 by The New York Times Book Review.

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