(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday (Sunday), 25 July 2004, met participants in the IDF staff and command course and made the following remarks regarding the role of staff and command positions, and the role of the commander, in the IDF:  “I think that every officer and soldier must go through the military education system; it is very important that we study both successful and less-than-successful events.”

Prime Minister Sharon also discussed the decision-making process regarding the disengagement plan in light of the fact that Israel has no Palestinian negotiating partner: “I decided to proceed with the disengagement plan because it is clear that Israel cannot remain in the Gaza Strip forever.”  The Prime Minister emphasized that he does not intend to go back on the plan in light of the severe and dangerous economic and security situation that Israel would find itself in if it had no diplomatic plan: “Under no plan or agreement will Israel be able to hold on to all of the territories; the accomplishments which we have achieved as a result of the disengagement plan are things that we have never achieved before.”