Violence Forced Sharon to Withdraw From Gaza, Palestinians Say
By Julie Stahl, CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief
.... Initially, most Palestinians rejected the idea of the disengagement because they believed it was a trick, but according to Dr. Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah, Palestinians now welcome the disengagement and believe that it is a victory for their armed struggle.Read it all. Good article.
"There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians welcome the disengagement," Shikaki told reporters at a briefing sponsored by Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Israel Newsmakers Forum in Jerusalem.
"They welcome it essentially for two reasons - one, because Israel says it wants to pull out to the lines of 1967," Shikaki said. This sets a "very important precedent" in the minds of Palestinians that could be applied to the West Bank, he said.
Palestinians want to establish a state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, where hundreds of thousands of Israelis live in Jewish communities, established since the 1967 Six-Day war on land that many Israelis believe the Bible promises them as an eternal inheritance.
"The second [reason] is because Israel says it wants to evacuate all the settlements in the Gaza Strip, and that too, in the minds of the Palestinians, is setting a precedent for the future in the West Bank as well," Shikaki said, emphasizing the word "all."
"But when we asked them why is Israel doing it ... the unequivocal answer of the Palestinian public is because Israel is forced to. Sharon has been forced by violence to pull out from Gaza. Three-quarters of the public believe this is a victory for armed struggle against occupation," said Shikaki.
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"If the Palestinian Authority [and Abbas' Fatah party] does not present the disengagement as part of or aspects of disengagement as part of its diplomatic activity, then it will not be able to own the disengagement, and Hamas will own the disengagement, and it will be victory for Hamas," said Shikaki.