Israel's final Borders
Israel will begin setting its final borders over the next two years according to a plan based on including the major West Bank settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Spelling out his vision of the future borders, Mofaz said in an exclusive interview that Israel would retain control over the settlements of Ofarim and Beit Aryeh, currently on the Palestinian side of the security fence. He also indicated that the withdrawal from the West Bank would include civilians and the military. But, he said, Israel would retain a "free hand" to operate within the evacuated areas at its discretion.
In a detailed listing of the settlement blocs to be retained under a second withdrawal following the Gaza and northern Samaria disengagement, Mofaz included Ma'aleh Adumim, the Jordan Valley, Ariel, Kedumim-Karnei Shomron, Gush Etzion, Reihan-Shaked and Ofarim-Beit Aryeh.
"These are the main places," he explained. "And if the need arises, we will move the security fence to enclose all of these places."
During the interview, which will appear in its entirety in Friday's Post, Mofaz said that Israel would prefer to set its borders in agreement with the Palestinian Authority and based on the US-backed road map. "But if we see that we do not have a partner, then I think we will need to take our fate into our own hands and make a decision where it is right to be and where it is not right to be," he said.