MK Danon: 'We'll send Obama the pullout report'

Danon Well send Obama

MK Danny Danon (Likud) said Tuesday he would have the interim report on the state of Gush Katif evacuees translated and sent to Washington, to put out the message that Israel had learned the lessons of 2005's disengagement - that any similar withdrawals in the future would not be carried out at the "whim" of an American administration. The report was presented to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin in the early afternoon. Danon told The Jerusalem Post that he would have the report's conclusions translated into English and that in coming days, he would send copies to the White House as well as to Democrat and Republican leaders. "They need to understand that this is what Israel did on the basis of the Bush letter - we turned our own citizens into refugees. And now the Obama administration says that that act has no weight. So why should we consider another evacuation, in light of the costs described in the report, if the next administration down the line can decide that it too has no significance?" Danon asked. The reference was to the 2004 letter from then-US president George W. Bush to prime minister Ariel Sharon, in which Bush acknowledged that it was not realistic to expect Israel to pull back completely to the pre-June 1967 lines, something Israel interpreted as US support for its holding on to the large settlement blocs close to the Green Line. Danon acknowledged that translating the interim report would show the US government how Israel had failed to meet its obligations to the Gush Katif and northern Samaria evacuees, but said that this failure should be understood by the Americans as part of the cost of any such evacuation. But while the document sent Danon into action regarding the Americans, other MKs focused their criticism inward. "The report regarding the uprooted people from Gush Katif obligates the government to take immediate action. The prime minister must honor his promise and make sure that every resident receives a home," said MK Uri Ariel (National Union), who appeared at the press conference held by evacuees. And from within the government, an accusing finger was pointed toward Kadima - the party that ran the government's services for the evacuees for almost four years following the August 2005 disengagement. Following the publication of the report, Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) blasted former prime minister Olmert and those in his cabinet, saying that the findings of the commission "completely exposed" the previous government. "The leaders who tried to convince the people through a campaign of lies, saying that there would be a solution for each resident, were totally exposed," he said. "The report proved that the Kadima government was built on the backs of the evacuees, and that they never learned while in office to provide even basic solutions." "It's [Kadima's] obligation to conduct a profound self-examination," Edelstein said. "The current government has the responsibility to bring an end to the suffering of the evacuees." Coalition Chairman Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), however, took an optimistic tone, describing the publication of the interim report as a positive step for the evacuees. "The things are clear. The report determined that the practices of the government regarding Gush Katif evacuees demand a change - and that the government must hurry. "What the evacuees need is rehabilitation now. What has continued for four years cannot continue any longer," said the Likud MK, who was a Kadima legislator in the previous Knesset. Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.