Yesterday, Sharon’s Spokesman, Raanan Gissin, said in a statement to the Agency France Press (AFP): "Sharon is planning for the exchange of territories within the context of future permanent regularities. As a result of this, it is foreseen that while the Israeli-Arab settlements would be placed under the sovereignty of Palestinian, Jewish settlements in the West Bank would become Israel’s territory."
Experts state that in this way, Sharon plans both to rid Israel of its Arab population, harbor itself in, and take control of strategic points in the West Bank.
Arabs, comprising about 20 percent of the Israel population of more than six million, reside in the North of the country. Nearly 240,000 Jews live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which are already under the occupation of Israel. The number of Jewish settlers is over 400,000 if Eastern Jerusalem is included.
Meanwhile, Sharon said the decision to evacuate Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip is painful; however, it is necessary for the future of the Israeli state. According to the Israeli state radio, Sharon said in a statement that he reached this conclusion as a person who has the responsibility on his shoulders to provide maximum security for the future of Israel. Sharon expressed that he feels this pain much more than any person in Israel. The Prime Minister had previously stated that he would have established a new coalition government if his current coalition partners had denied his plan to evacuate 17 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.