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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Palestinian reaction to Sharon's plan to quit Gaza:

Arutz Sheva: Leading Fatah officials believe that despite, or because of, Ariel Sharon's plan to quit Gaza, the terrorist war on Israel - unifying Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah - must continue. Nabil Abu Rudeina, advisor to PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and Sameer Mashrawi, a member of Fatah's leadership council, both spoke yesterday with the Arabic-language satellite station Al-Jazeera.

Interviewed from Ramallah, Abu Rudeina said that Sharon's declarations "are not serious. The only aim of the Israeli declarations is to mislead the international public and to avoid implementing the signed agreements.... [and] to cover up the internal problems of Sharon and an attempt to hide the truth."

In answer to Al-Jazeera's question whether Sharon's declaration can be seen as a "victory for the intifada," Abu Rudeina replied: "The intifada is winning, either with these declarations or without them. The intifada is the only way that might lead to peace."

Sameer Mashrawi of Arafat's Fatah faction told Al-Jazeera that "we do not necessarily trust statements by Sharon or his government," but in any event, "no one should believe any such move is a result of Israeli good will, but rather highlights Israel's security and moral bankruptcy."

Praising terrorist groups from Hamas and Fatah, Mashrawi continued, "[The unity of] the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the Al-Quds Brigades and the Al-Qassam Brigades... has shown to all that the intifada has won out . . .