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Ramon: Truce ‘triumph for radical Islam’

Jun. 17, 2008 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

Vice Premier Haim Ramon on Tuesday reacted harshly to reports of an imminent
Gaza cease-fire, calling it a victory for radical Islam.

“I am against a truce, because it is another triumph for radical Islam. It
won in Lebanon and now it is about to win in Gaza. So what is the point of
being moderate? Why would Hamas be interested in a resolution?” said Ramon
at a Haifa University conference.

Ramon, together with Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and Justice
Minister Daniel Friedmann, abstained from a cabinet vote last Wednesday to
refrain from embarking on a large-scale military operation in Gaza and
instead to give more time to Egyptian-mediated truce efforts, although none
of the ministers voted against the decision.

Ramon said that the Gaza truce deal must be brought to for a referendum.
“The government must reach the framework of an agreement and then bring to a
vote,” he said. “Any significant agreement with the Palestinians requires a

National Religious Party MK Zevulun Orlev called the agreement “a balloon
that will burst” and added that “a ceasefire agreement without Gilad Schalit
is a moral crime that conveys the message of abandoning the kidnapped
soldier to his fate.”

MK Arye Eldad of the National Union/National Religious Party said that
“because of a corrupt prime minister and an insecure defense minister,
Israel is capitulating to Hamas and accepting a cease-fire that will allow
Hamas to hit Ashdod and Kiryat Gat later on. The residents of Israel will
take note today of who is to blame when the entire center of the country
turns into a war zone – because of Olmert and Barak.”

In contrast, Meretz chairman Haim Oron expressed hope that the reports of a
truce agreement were true. “Under the current circumstances, it is the best
solution in order to bring calm to Gaza-belt communities, ” he said. “The
government, as well as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, must make every
effort to abide by the cease-fire and simultaneously, it must expedite
negotiations with [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas and
[Palestinian negotiator] Ahmad Qurei [Abu Ala].”

During his speech Tuesday, Ramon also expressed his opposition to the way
Israel was negotiating with Syria. “The way in which Syria is conducting the
negotiations is unacceptable, in my opinion.

They are saying ‘first, we will determine the borders and then we will
negotiate.’ They want to accomplish different things – and they already have
– without having to do anything.”


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