Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday voiced harsh criticism against Israel's 2005 unilateral evacuation from Gaza, telling his cabinet ahead of its weekly meeting that his government "will not repeat this mistake and create more evacuees."
Netanyahu added that "the unilateral evacuation brought neither peace nor security. On the contrary."
The prime minister explained that since the evacuation of Israel's settlements from the Gaza Strip, the coastal strip had become a base for Hamas terror. "What is done cannot be undone," he said. "We want a bilateral agreement, which will include [Palestinian] recognition of the State of Israel and a sustainable and enforceable security arrangement."
"Should we achieve a turn toward peace with the more moderate partners," Netanyahu continued, "we will insist on the recognition of the State of Israel and the demilitarization of the future Palestinian state."
Netanyahu spoke ahead of a special cabinet session marking four years since the evacuation of the Gaza settlements and several settlements in the northern West Bank. During the session, the cabinet members were to be briefed on the compensation already paid out to evacuees.
Before the cabinet meeting Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke about the ongoing Fatah convention, taking place in the West Bank city of Bethlehem since last Tuesday, saying that the stance adopted by the convention was "unacceptable."
On Saturday, the Fatah convention adopted a position paper stating that the Palestinian national enterprise will not reach fruition until all of Jerusalem, including the outlying villages, come under Palestinian sovereignty.
In response, Barak said Sunday that "we must accept the fact that there is no solution for the Middle East besides a comprehensive solution, which would include us and the Palestinians. I strongly advise [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] to enter into such an agreement following the Fatah convention."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now