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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Friday, April 22, 2005

The third stage

Israeli peace group Gush Shalom have released their weekly message, published in Haaretz:

"Israel and the entire world are fascinated by Sharon's great show in the Gaza Strip. That is the first stage of his plan.

"Behind this smoke screen, Sharon is occupied with expanding the big "settlement blocs" in the western part of the West Bank. Their annexation is the second stage of his plan.

"But at the same time, Sharon is preparing the third stage: the annexation of the Jordan valley and the Dead Sea shore. Together with the settlement blocs, these constitute 52% of the total West Bank area.

"This week, the occupation authorities have informed dozens of inhabitants of Akaba, north of Nablus, that they have to get out of their village, which has been declared a "close military zone".

"Akaba is a small village bordering on the Jordan valley. The expulsion of the families is the beginning of a big secret operation for widening the valley, in preparation for its eventual annexation to Israel."


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