(Israeli Knesset & Political Lobbies)

A. Table of Positions

B. Additional Information

A. Table of Positions

Group, Lobby, Political Party Position 3 Main Reasons for Support or Opposition

Am Echad (Party, faction within Labor Party)

For 1. Israel needs to show initiative on the peace process by making a limited, unilateral, territorial concession, in the context of continued diplomatic and Knesset inertia.
2. Belief: that Disengagement advances the creation of a Palestinian state, which would contribute to ending terrorism.
3. Belief: that territorial compromise and dismantling some settlements now will impact on Israeli society, making it easier to dismantle more settlements in the future.


Balad-Ta'al (Party)

(but support withdrawal)
1. Belief: that Disengagement is intended to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state, this statehood being a goal of the Balad party platform.
2. Concern: that Disengagement will lead to permanent Israeli control over Gaza Strip's borders, air space, coast, territorial waters, along with the right of military intervention.
3. Concern: that Israel will consolidate control over West Bank settlements, which the party platform wishes dismantled.


Azmi Bishara Q&A about Disengagement (foreign site)
Chadash (see: Hadash)    

Coalition of Women for Peace: Women in Black (Lobby)


(but oppose retaining West Bank settlements)
1. Organization's fundamental position: Israel should dismantle all settlements and remove all IDF soldiers from the Territories.
2. Perception: that dismantling Gush Katif sets a signficant political and psychological precedent which will make future dismantling of settlements much easier and more likely.
3. Perception: that day-to-day life of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will improve after a full Israeli withdrawal.
Interview with key founding member of the Coalition of Women for Peace, the umbrella organization which includes Women in Black:


Gush Shalom (Platform & Lobby)


(but support withdrawal)
1. Concern: that the Disengagement Plan will create International support for Israeli retention of parts of the West Bank, as per Prime Minister Sharon's stated intention.
2. Concern: that Disengagement will lead to a permanent situation wherein Israel retains control over Gaza Strip's borders, air space, and coast.
3. General support: for actions which weaken the political standing of the religious parties and the settlement movement whom Gush Shalom views as political rivals vis a vis the overall direction of Israeli society.

Hadash (Party)

(Arabic, Heb., Eng.)

(but support withdrawal)

1. Perception: that Disengagement Plan, being a unilateral decision, is not intended as part of the process to achieve peace.
2. Concern: that Disengagement will not lead to a complete withdrawal to Israel's 1967 borders, which is part of party platform.
3. Belief: that Disengagement is a measure designed to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state, also part of the party platform.


Labor (Party)


For 1. Perception: that the Disengagement plan implements part of the Labor Party election platform, calling for: unilateral withdrawal from most of the Territories to a new defensive line; negotiated annexation of large settlement blocs; dismantling of isolated settlements.

2. Belief: in diplomacy and the essential premise of the Oslo Accords remains valid, namely: that it is necessary and possible to negotiate with and empower the PLO/Palestinian Authority.
3. Belief: that demographic and security factors make it imperative to create a viable Palestinian state in the near future.

Likud (Party)

(Heb., Russ.)


1. Faith in PM Ariel Sharon as a statesman/leader, therefore acceptance of his principle of "painful concessions" (from Sharon's election campaign)

2. Belief: that policy decisions should be adapted to imperative circumstances (international, security/ terrorism, political, economic, demographic), even where inconsistent with the traditional Likud platform (vs. unilateral withdrawal, Palestinian statehood).
3. Perception: that the US will support Israeli intentions to retain major West Bank settlement blocs, as well as building of the West Bank security fence.

1. Dedication to: Likud Party founding ideals, namely: “Greater Israel”; no dismantling of settlements.
2. Adherence to: the Likud's official election platform vis-a-vis opposition to: a Palestinian state, unilateral withdrawals.
3. Security/terrorism concerns: that the PA and terrorist organizations will exploit Disengagement to strengthen terrorist infrastructure, recoup and stockpile weapons, which in turn will lead to more terrorism, especially missile attacks on Israeli communities and towns.

Mafdal (see National Religious Party)    

Manhigut Yehudit (Lobby/ faction: members joined Likud)

(Heb., Eng., Fr., Russ.)

Against 1. Belief: in "Greater Israel", opposition to a Palestinian State, plus the claim that dismantling Israeli communities is a disengagement from Jewish values.
2. Belief: that PM Sharon was bound to accept the results of the Likud referendum (opposing Disengagement) and concern that Disengagement will lead to further Israeli withdrawals (unilateral or negotiated, from the West Bank and East Jerusalem).
3. Security concerns, plus perception: that Disengagement is a surrender/reward to terrorists, who will step up their attacks after withdrawal.
Meretz (see Yachad)    
Moetzet Yesha (see Yesha Council)    
National Democratic Assembly (see Balad)    

National Religious Party (Party)

(Eng., Heb.)


1. Belief: that the integrity and settlement of the Land of Israel is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, therefore a Jewish, Zionist ideal and duty.
2. Commitment: to the NRP's political platform which opposes Palestinian Statehood and (since the Second Intifada) calls for annulment of Israel's commitments to the Oslo Accords; perception that Disengagement is a continuation of territorial compromise that continues to empower and transfer territory to the PLO, under Oslo;
3. Security concern: that Disengagement will encourage terrorists and facilitate rapid expansion of terrorist infrastructure.


National Union (Party)

Against 1. Belief: in "Greater Israel" and opposition to Palestinian statehood plus perception that the PA will exploit Disengagement and statehood to strengthen terrorist infrastructure, thus escalating terrorism, especially missile attacks into Israeli communities and cities.
2. Security concern: that Islamist radical groups are politically dominant in the Palestinian Authority.
3. Security concern: that Arab and Islamic states will interpret Disengagement as a retreat under/reward for terrorism, thus motivating increased terrorism.

Peace Now (Israel; Lobby) (see: Shalom Achshav)    

Professors for a Strong Israel (Lobby)


Against 1. Belief: in "Greater Israel" and opposition to Palestininan statehood, plus Security concern: Perception that the PLO, the Fatah Party – who control the PA - are dedicated to Israel's destruction; hence, that territorial concessions or transfer of power automatically undermines Israeli security.
2. Claim: that Disengagement, as a compulsory removal of Israelis from homes, is a "population transfer", thus a grave violation of human and civil rights.
3. Social concern: The use of the IDF and the police against a Israeli civilians is a dangerous precedent threatening the fabric of Israeli society, bringing it to the brink of civil war.

Shalom Achshav (Peace Now, Lobby)

(but support withdrawal)
1. Supports: the Geneva Initiative, propposing almost total return to 1967 borders, a compensatory widening of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount, internationalization of the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives and of the City of David. In return, the Palestinians engage to end terrorism and dismantle militias.
2. Concern: that Disengagement will lead to strengthening of West Bank settlements, slated to be dismantled under the Geneva Initiative.
3. Concern: that the Gaza Strip occupation will not end, as the IDF presence will continue along the Philadelphia Route, over Gaza airspace and Gaza coastline.


Shas (Party)


1. Security concerns: After meeting with IDF officials, spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef concluded that further empowerment of the PA via unilateral territorial concessions threatens Israeli security and endangers human life (pikuach nefesh), particularly the potential for missile attacks on large population areas.
2. Rabbi Yosef supports the principle of “land-for-peace”, but thus opposes unilateral withdrawals, outside the context of a peace agreement. He declared his opposition to Disengagement and ordered all Shas MKs to vote against the plan.
Video of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef (Hebrew):


Shinui (Party)

(Heb., Russ., Eng.)


1. Belief: that only Israel's adoption of the Disengagement Plan prompted President Bush's statement to the effect that Arab refugees will not have the "Right of return" to Israel, and that US support on this issue is highly significant for Israel - diplomatically and demographically.
2. Security concern: Belief that withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is critical to progress in negotiations with the PA, and that arriving at a final status agreement with the Palestinians will improve Israeli security.
3. Political, social concerns: to impact the overall direction of Israeli society, particularly the influence of the religious parties, as well as the settlement movement.


United Arab List (Party)

(but support withdrawal)
1. Belief: that all settlements should be dismantled and all IDF personnel removed from all the territory captured by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967.
2. Concern: that the Disengagement Plan will create international support for Israeli retention of settlement blocs in the West Bank, as stated by Prime Minister Sharon.
3. Concern: that Disengagement will lead to permanent Israeli control over the Gaza Strip's borders, air space, and coast.


United Torah Judaism (Party)

Against 1. Spiritual mentors Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Degel HaTorah Lithuanian faction, now in the government) and Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter (Agudat Yisrael Hassidic faction) oppose Disengagement.
2. Party platform opposes: the creation of a Palestinian state, West of the Jordan River.
3. Party platform expresses belief: that Jews should be allowed to live in all parts of Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel).
Platform details:

Women in Black (see Coalition of Women for Peace)    

Women in Green(Lobby)


Against 1. Belief: that the Land of Israel is both a Divine inheritance and the historic Jewish homeland, from which Jews should not depart voluntarily.
2. Claim: that withdrawal from Gaza was already attempted under the Oslo Accords, but failed due to the PA's inaction on and support for terrorism, with the ultimate goal of Israel's destruction. Terrorism will continue, the IDF will have to re-enter Gaza, even after Disengagement - there will be no true Disengagement.
3. Security concern: that after Disengagement, major Israeli population centers will come under direct missile threat, including Ashkelon and Ben Gurion Airport.

Yachad (Party)

For 1. Belief: that the settlements constitute obstacles to creating a viable Palestinian state, which it deems a necessary condition for peace. Has always supported the dismantling of all settlements.
2. Belief: that occupation of the territories is worse for Israel than the risk of allowing the development of a terrorist infrastructure in the territories – both demographically and psychologically.
3. Political, social concerns: to impact the overall direction of Israeli society and economy, particularly the influence of the religious parties.


Yesha Council

Against 1. Belief: that expelling large groups of civilians from their homes is immoral and a breach of human rights' law, as well as contradicting government promises not to do so, and that for Israel's government to evict Jewish Israelis from areas of Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) is a historic crime.
2. Concern: that Disengagement is the initial step to more extensive expulsions from the West Bank.
3. Opposition to Disengagement by peaceful and lawful means.

Hebrew: http://www.moetzetyesha.co.il/arti.asp?id=92
Zu Artzeinu (see: Manhigut Yehudit)    

For details on how the political parties voted, please see:
History of the Disengagement Plan

F. Compensation-Evacuation Law & Reference file.

Additional Information

The Likud Party Referendum


Note on Israel's Arab Parties re: Disengagement

Arab Knesset parties oppose strengthening of West Bank settlements, but support dismantling of Gazan settlements and “liberation of Palestinian land”:


Last update - 02:04 13/10/2004
Arab factions present conditions for disengagement support
By Yair Ettinger
Reproduced with permission from ©Haaretzdaily.com


The eight members of the Knesset's three Arab factions are reportedly leaning toward voting against the disengagement law, which is to be brought before the Knesset on October 25.

The factions did, however, present conditions Monday that would lead them to abstain, and even vote in favor of the law, depending on its wording.

MK Azmi Bishara, chairman of Balad, said his three-member faction would not support disengagement, "as it has been presented in its present form." Bishara has opposed disengagement from the time it was first presented by Prime Minsiter Ariel Sharon; the question now being considered is "whether to abstain or oppose the plan, which comes instead of a political program."

The two other factions - Hadash-Ta'al, with three MKs, and the United Arab List (UAL), with two MKs - have expressed themselves similarly, although they have left open the option of supporting the bill.

Hadash-Ta'al chairman Mohammed Barakeh said his faction will oppose the bill if, as Sharon said Monday, its wording is the same as that of the cabinet decision on disengagement, which includes strengthening settlement in Judea and Samaria.

According to Barakeh, the option of a yes vote on the bill might be created "in a situation in which the government proposes only evacuating the settlements and we believe there is separation from the Sharonian complex, which is unilateral and includes strengthening of the settlements."

UAL chairman Abdulmalik Dehamshe also said, "if the bill includes only disengagement, and no more, we will be obliged to support it.

The Arab party institutions are slated to meet in the coming days to discuss disengagement. Discussions will focus on whether the bill should be supported as a political move, even if its origin is in a right-wing government, when its practical result is the evacuation of settlements, Israeli withdrawal and "liberation" of Palestinian land.

Those opposed to disengagement quote the interview given to Haaretz by Sharon adviser Dov Weisglass in which he said the goal of disengagement was a freezing of the political process. Supporters of disengagement in Hadash use the reasoning expressed by Communist MKs who voted in favor of Camp David in 1978.

The question in principle is whether the political forces at work will wear down even the undecided, impelling them to vote against the bill, similar to the way in which the Arab public was called to boycott the 2001 elections for prime minister. The nationalist elements in the Arab community, led by Balad, are likely to be the source of such political forces.

List of Knesset Factions

additional details http://www.knesset.gov.il/history/eng/eng_hist16_s.htm

International Opinion on Disengagement

The Quartet
Reasons for supporting Disengagement:

1. Belief that Disengagement will help restart negotiations
2. General support for actions which put Israel and PA on track to Road Map.
3. General support for movement towards the realization of a two-state solution to the conflict.

The Geneva Initiative/Accord

Online, downloadable text in several languages, background, international response
Highlights and other Landmarks
Presentation by chief architects of the G.I.
Main points - "Logic"
Alternative option to militarism
Opponent's critique






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08 Nov 2005 / 6 Heshvan 5766 0