Israel threatens to annex W. Bank if diplomatic deadlock with PNA continues

Israel threatened to turn unilateral disengagement into government policy, including annexation of West Bank territory and withdrawal to what the Jewish state would set as its permanent border if the diplomatic deadlock with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) continues.

Eyal Arad, a senior strategy advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made the remarks broadcast by Israel Radio on Wednesday, referring to the stalled peace process with the PNA.

Arad was quoted as saying that "if we see that the standstill continues --despite the fact that is a standstill in a diplomatic situation which is 'easy on Israel' - there may be room to consider turning disengagement into a strategy."

According to Arad, the policy would comprise "a strategy of unilaterally determining the permanent borders of the state of Israel."

The significance of the policy was not "withdrawal to and continuing to hold territory that we will not evacuate, rather, withdrawal to and annexation of territory that we would not evacuate," Xinhua quoted Sharon as saying.

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