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|Monday, August 20, 2001, updated at 22:22(GMT+8)|
Israeli President Backs Unilateral Separation From PalestiniansIsraeli President Moshe Katsav on Monday expressed support for a proposed unilateral separation from the Palestinians, the website of the leading Israeli Ha'aretz daily reported.
Katsav said that Israel had "no choice" but to adopt separation, which has won growing political and public support in recent months.
He proposed the line of the unilateral separation be drawn in the Israeli-ruled Area C and that the aim was to enhance security. He added that the final border, however, would be determined in negotiations.
The Israeli president stressed that he was "speaking of a military separation," but not a diplomatic separation, "in order to better defend Israeli civilians."
Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Almert, together with other four Knesset (parliament) members Dan Meridor, Michael Eitan, Haim Ramon and Dalia Itzik, earlier voiced support for the proposed unilateral separation.
But former Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami on Sunday criticized the plan for potential dangers of a perpetual war between Israel and the Palestinians and even the Arab and Muslim world.
"Instead of land for peace, they are offering land for nothing and the creation of conditions for a continued war with the Palestinians," Ben-Ami said.
Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres have both opposed the plan, saying that such a separation would eventually lead to a "mortar battle" rather than an end to shooting at Israeli targets.
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