It was always a 'roadmap' based on delays, obfuscations, and deceptions. But even so the Israelis decided to use it as subterfuge and twisted it into the 'Gaza Withdrawal':
October 6, 2004
Israeli Causes Uproar With Remarks on Status of Road Map
By TERENCE NEILAN
An Israeli official close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon created a political storm today when he said in a published interview that Israel wanted to pull out of the Gaza Strip unilaterally in order to freeze the so-called road map to peace with the Palestinians.
The aide, Dov Weissglas, spoke with confidence and the kind of bluntness that even Mr. Sharon has avoided showing in public.
His biggest allegation is that Mr. Sharon's effort to pull out of Gaza unilaterally mattered because it put off the establishment of a Palestinian state and had the support of the United States, an assertion that is likely to embarrass the Bush administration.
The remarks by Mr. Weissglas angered the Israeli left and prompted Mr. Sharon's office to issue a damage-control statement saying Israel continued to support the American-backed road map, which calls for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Last month, Mr. Sharon said in a newspaper interview that Israel was no longer following the road map. Israel's public position has been that the plan calls on both sides to follow its provisions and that the Palestinians have failed to do so.
In portions of the interview posted on the Web site of the daily Haaretz, Mr. Weissglas said Mr. Sharon's policy had temporarily removed the Palestinian state from the Israeli agenda.
"And all this with the authority and permission," he said. "All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress."
The excerpts added: "The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians." The full interview will be published Friday, Haaretz said.
Mr. Weissglas stepped down some months ago as Mr. Sharon's chief of staff, but he remains very close to the prime minister and acts as his point man with top Washington officials, including the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.
In an interview with Israel Radio today, Mr. Weissglas said a headline in Haaretz did not fully reflect what he had said.
He asserted, in a message clearly directed at his Likud audience, that "one of the reasons behind the disengagement plan was indeed in order not to hold a peace process with the Palestinians as long as the Palestinians do not meet even the most fundamental commitments they took upon themselves in the road map; first and foremost, the absolute eradication of the terror organizations, stopping terror in all its forms, and the establishment of an effective and law-abiding Palestinian administration that can prevent the development of terror and hostility.
"This part is missing from the headline."
Asked about his use of the word formaldehyde, he said: "At the moment, the road map is a plan that exists on paper, it is a plan in theory, and is completely not upheld by the Palestinians. You can call this death, you can call it a deep coma or freeze, I will not compete with you in how to call it."
The Labor Party chairman, Shimon Peres, said Mr. Sharon had never told him the Gaza plan was intended to freeze the peace process.
"He who seeks half-peace will bring half-war," he said.
An Arab Israeli legislator on the left, Ahmed Tibi, said he had sent a letter to Washington's ambassador to Israel, Daniel C. Kurtzer, questioning whether "the American administration is a partner to Sharon's political deceit, which Weissglas revealed with incriminating candor."
Another leftist legislator, Yossi Beilin, said the remarks by Mr. Weissglas were "frightening comments" uttered in a rare moment of truth, and showed Mr. Sharon's real, dangerous intentions, the Haaretz Web site reported.