Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been a staunch supporter of the settlements in Israel in the past, told his Likud party members on Monday that they might have to dismantle some settlements in order to secure peace in Israel.
"We will give no rewards to terror," Sharon told the Likud Central Committee. "But," he said, "if we get security, we will give a great deal, a very great deal. If a new Palestinian Authority is established, free of terror, if the incitement stops, the Israeli government led by the Likud will be prepared to carry out its part to make possible the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, first in temporary borders and eventually under a permanent agreement. It is clear that under the agreement we'll have to give up some of the Jewish settlements."
The Defense Ministry in Israel has created a list of 28 settlement outposts that will be dismantled and their residents forced to move in January, in compliance with the terms of the "road map" to peace.
However, Ephraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad Intelligence Agency and former director of the National Security Council, argued that trying to accomplish peace through the road map plan is a doomed effort. The Palestinian Authority is not able to disarm terrorist groups according to the terms of the road map, Halevy stated.
Halevy also pointed out that the PA has failed to take the necessary steps to create the infrastructure needed for an independent Palestinian state. Rather than building up their government and creating strong security and legal systems, the PA has preferred to just wait around and let time work in its favor. By making sure the peace process takes more time, the PA enjoys the world pressure on Israel to make concessions without any matching concessions required on the part of the Arabs.
Yet, while Sharon has appeared to give in regarding recently built settlements, some do not believe this compromise will have lasting effects. The inhabited outposts dismantled since last spring have since been rebuilt.