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Lieberman: Israel should declare Gaza an enemy state, break off all ties

Date: 31 / 05 / 2007 Time: 13:09

Friday 1 June 2007

Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman suggested on Thursday that the Gaza Strip be declared a hostile political entity and an enemy state.

According to reports in the Israeli media, the Yisrael Beitenu chairman proposed a harsher response to the Palestinian homemade Qassam projectiles being fired out of Gaza, completely severing any Israeli and West Bank ties with the Gaza Strip and isolating parts of the West Bank.

He also suggested canceling Palestinian prisoners’ visitation rights until the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is released, and ending all contact with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Lieberman’s plans refer to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as two separate entities, both on the political level and on the practical level.

He says that Israel should address both entities separately. Any negotiation with the Palestinian Authority will only apply to the West Bank. “Gaza will be defined as a hostile independent political entity for all intents and purposes,” Lieberman explained.

That would mean no movement between Gaza and the West Bank, not of goods, and not of people, including the Palestinian president’s aides and Palestinians VIPs.

Furthermore, no workers at all would be permitted to leave Gaza to work in Israel. Taxes for the Gaza Strip would not be collected. Ashdod port would not transfer any goods to the Strip. All crossings, including Karni crossing, would be sealed.

Israel would not provide the Gaza authorities with any type of infrastructure or resources, including fuel, water, and electricity.

Lieberman suggested that this process of complete severance of ties would begin in 2008, when all contact between Israel and Gaza would be cut off.

“Gaza’s fate will be like that of Sinai,” Lieberman’s plan said. “Just as Israel did not continue to provide anything to Sinai after it withdrew, there is no reason why it should act any differently toward Gaza, especially in the current situation.”

Lieberman also threatened to react harshly to any attack coming from Gaza. “It’s very simple,” said Lieberman, according to Yedioth Ahronoth. “Sderot’s fate will be similar to that of the Gazan neighborhood of Rimal, if Sderot is hit, the Rimal neighborhood will be hit just as hard at the very least.”

He also suggested that NATO and European forces take control of the Gaza Strip.

"The security situation will change only when NATO forces and the European Union take full responsibility for what goes on in the Gaza Strip. NATO will act to enforce public order and preserve security in the region. The European Union will take responsibility for the construction and opening of alternative infrastructure and provide employment for the residents of Gaza.

“Financial activity will include not only money transfers, donations and investments, but the management and close supervision of projects being started and infrastructure being built. Otherwise, the money will evaporate, or be used to fund terror against Israel and those international forces.”

Regarding the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, Lieberman added that “as long as Shalit is held captive with no way to visit him, not even by the Red Cross, visitation rights of all Palestinians security prisoners held in Israel should be cancelled immediately.”

He also suggested ending Israel’s diplomatic support for Palestinian President Abbas. Israel should “admit that every attempt to strengthen him or place him as a partner who is capable of getting the job done, has failed. Israel should wait for an authentic replacement with leadership potential and a pragmatic outlook.”