It's historically and politically ironic of course but both the Israelis and the Saudis are working hard now to ensure the election of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and the right-wing neocons. Each for their own reasons wants them to retain full executive power in the U.S. The Saudis because they fear the Democratic party neocons with whom they have not so good relations. The Likudnik Israelis -- about to form another 'national unity' government thanks to Shimon Peres -- have plans for the years ahead and prefer Bush, the evangelicals, and the hard-line neocons even though they will manage if need be with the Democrats whom they also have very much under control.
PM will seek to evacuate outposts prior to U.S. vote
By Aluf Benn
Ha'aretz - 08/08/2004
The government will try to evacuate illegal outposts in the West Bank before the U.S. presidential elections in November, sources in the prime minister's bureau said yesterday. "We have an interest in evacuating them," one said.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is expecting the report of Justice Ministry attorney Talia Sasson, who was charged with finding a legal solution for a speedy evacuation of the outposts.
Sharon's outgoing bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, yesterday said in an interview with Channel 2 that Sasson's recommendations will be presented to Sharon in six weeks to two months. This would give Sharon "more effective tools to evacuate the outposts and he will begin to do so energetically," he said.
Weisglass said "we cannot boast" of moves to evacuate the outposts, but "we will keep this undertaking in full."
According to the defense establishment, 23 outposts have been built in the West Bank since March 2001, when Sharon came to power. The administrative and legal steps to evacuate the outposts were presented last Thursday to White House envoy Elliot Abrams, who met the defense minister's advisor, Baruch Spiegel, and Sasson.
Sharon's aids criticized Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz for not acting resolutely enough to evacuate the outposts, and for publicly confirming the plans to build 550 apartments in Ma'aleh Adumim. Sources close to Mofaz commented "the defense minister and prime minister are fully coordinated and there is no difference in their positions. All the decisions on the outposts and the construction were made by both of them."
Weisglass told Channel 2 that Israeli officials are holding "unofficial talks" with former Palestinian minister Mohamed Dahlan. "He has many acquaintances in Israel," said Weisglass. Senior officials said Dahlan was in touch with Shin Bet director Avi Dichter and head of the Defense Ministry's political-security division Amos Gilad, and less frequently with Weisglass.
Weisglass is due to leave for the U.S. on August 19 for a meeting with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. He was expected to present the separation fence's amended route, but due to delays in planning and the pending High Court debate on the petition against the fence, the route will be decided by month's end.