Dichter: Kadima won't hurry to withdraw

Claims party won't make unilateral concessions to the Palestinians.

avi dichter 298 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
avi dichter 298 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Kadima will not lead the country to a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and is in no hurry to make territorial concessions to the Palestinians, Kadima Knesset candidate and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Avi Dichter has told The Jerusalem Post. In his first interview with an Israeli newspaper since he entered politics, Dichter said he would accept any portfolio offered to him in a prospective Kadima-led government and explained why the road map was the best diplomatic solution for Israel. Speaking at party headquarters in Petah Tikva, Dichter said the perception among the public that Kadima would withdraw from much of Judea and Samaria regardless of what happens with the Palestinians was incorrect. Dichter, a supporter of the Gaza Strip disengagement plan, said the West Bank was different from Gaza. "The Palestinians haven't enforced any of the many plans that we signed with them," he said. "We have time. We are not in a hurry. We're not going to try to end the problem without solving it. We're not going to withdraw from the West Bank unilaterally just because it was done in Gaza." Dichter said trading land for peace had not worked with the Palestinians or with Lebanon, so Israel would have to calculate its next steps carefully. He said Israel could not interfere in the Palestinian Authority elections, because its experience in Lebanon proved that it could not try to impose a leader on the Palestinians. Although it was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who brought Dichter into Kadima, he said he had full confidence in Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Dichter said Israel's behavior after Sharon's stroke brought the country much respect around the world and brought voters to Kadima. "What convinced people to vote for Kadima is the path, not the man," he said. "Olmert knows that he's not Sharon. Olmert is a veteran politician. He knows when he should bark, when he should bite, when he should kiss and now he knows he needs to lead. No one remembers now that before he gained power in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak was considered a joke, but now he has been in power for 25 years." Ahead of his role as Kadima's Election Day campaign chairman, Dichter met with people who held similar positions with the Democratic and Republican parties in Washington. He said he learned from them about what they called "micro-targeting" of voters using thousands of volunteers. "I've talked to the people who have been volunteering with Kadima, and for them the reason they are enthusiastic is one word: hope," Dichter said. "People have gotten tired of the way things in this country are advanced. We tell people that we're not wizards and we can't do everything in a year. But they know that what's needed is not just one man to change things, but an entire team - and that's what we will give them." The full interview with Avi Dichter will be published in The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.