By Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom—
Two weeks after the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip and the eviction and destruction of the settlements in Gush Katif, then-Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert informed then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he intended to present then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with the notion that the disengagement from Gaza was merely the prelude to a similar move in Judea and Samaria.
Speaking with Israel Hayom, Olmert said that Sharon disliked the idea, but did not stop him from presenting it to Rice. Olmert briefed Sharon on the meeting when he returned from the United States.
Sharon, it appears, discussed with his confidants the possibility of pursuing a disengagement move in Judea and Samaria in the event that the plan known as the “Roadmap for Peace” failed and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would deadlock.
The discussions never went beyond a theoretical plan, but nevertheless, in late 2005, not long before Sharon suffered the stroke that rendered him comatose, he and then-Justice Minister Tzipi Livni appointed a panel to review the matter.
Headed by then-Justice Ministry Director General Aharon Abramovich, the forum included, among others, then-Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, and then-Deputy Attorney General for International Affairs Shavit Matias. They were asked to outline the security, economic, diplomatic, and legal framework of a disengagement move in Judea and Samaria, based on the lessons learned from the Gaza withdrawal.
Named the prime minister in the wake of Sharon’s grave illness, Olmert presented the so-called “realignment plan,” which would have seen Israel unilaterally withdraw from vast areas in Judea and Samaria.
Attorney Dov Weisglass, who was Prime Minister Sharon’s bureau chief, said, “While the disengagement from Gaza was an independent move, it was meant to eventually fit in with another move, based on the road map, in an effort to avoid a deadlock . Continue Reading…