The United States has told Israel they will oppose any plans to separate itself from Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, had warned that if the roadmap peace plan failed he has a "disengagement plan" for separation.
The White House however has re-affirmed its committed to a negotiated settlement between the two sides under the American-backed roadmap.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said he was "disappointed" that Mr Sharon was "threatening the Palestinians".
What do you think about Mr Sharon's ultimatum? How do you think it will affect the peace plan?
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.
For those who are supporting Sharon's acts: if Sharon wants to build a wall, let him build a thousand walls in his territories, no problem. The problem is that the wall is built on Palestinian soil.
Imad, Beirut, Lebanon
How ironic! Sharon's sensationalized ultimatum in which he threatens to implement a unilateral disengagement plan to separate Israel and Palestine (should the latter not accept the road map peace plan) is nothing but a diversionary tactic to disrupt the positive response and unexpected momentum being gained by the Geneva Accord immediately after it was unveiled.
Abukar Arman, Hilliard, Ohio USA
People have not focused on the fact that the disengagement plan is a negotiating strategy. Sharon is saying to the Palestinian leadership that, if you are serious about peace, dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and you will get more land. If you are not serious about peace, you will get less. This is actually a fair ploy to let the world see if Arafat is sincere about peace or merely posturing.
Henry, New York, USA
The Israelis have never made a good faith agreement in their history and they never will. Their intention is to reclaim land they believe was given to them by God and any measure necessary to achieve that end is justified in their eyes.
Doug Pgelps, Stanwood, Washington
I have to say I like the idea of the wall. Hopefully it's not permanent but perhaps necessary until such time as peace is the answer instead of bombs. I can tell you if this situation were happening in the US we would have had a much harsher reaction than to build a wall and we would have reacted much sooner.
Israel is in a tough spot here and the Palestinians know it. They will continue to make it difficult for Israel on every level. However, they must be careful or they will lose the world support they have attained over time. Incidents like attacking the Egyptian Foreign Minister are proof that the militant Palestinians are a very big part of the problem.
Mike Daly, Hackettstown, NJ, USA
It is as if people forget that the desire to destroy Israel started before the occupation. In fact, the occupation is a legacy of multiple attempts to destroy Israel. The desire will be there again even when the occupation ends. That is the main problem. Safety through peace was never offered Israel. It has had to seek peace through safety.
James, Toronto, Canada
For those who believe there will ever be peace in the Middle East, you are living in a dream world. Violence is a way of life. The Palestinians teach it to their children and their children's children. One can only hope to contain the violence which is what Israel is trying to do. Short of wiping out the insurgents all at once, this is the only way to slow the rate of innocent deaths.
Roy, Ohio, USA
Like all walls, it will crumble and so will the tyrannical and oppressive tactics of countries that thrive off the misery of those that it undermines. Walls symbolize paranoia and the unwillingness to promote peaceful co-existence. Sharon has already built his wall-of-shame by terrorising a defenceless people.
Jane Mascarenhas, Barrie, Canada
Along time ago kings or rulers of the land would decided how to solve problems between these two antagonists. The decisions would be final and any who opposed it would be dealt with. But in this enlighten age we attempt to negotiate an amicable solution, as if it was even possible. A wall seems like a good and simple solution to a problem that has existed for too long.
Kevin D, US
I must be missing something here? Am I right in thinking that the only democracy in that region of the world is building a security fence to protect itself? And are they trying to protect themselves from a group of people who deny their right as nation to exist, commit terrorist activities against them almost on a daily basis and teach their schoolchildren that the Jewish race is sub-human and equate them to pigs and dogs? And they say Sharon is against peace?
Adam, Stoke, England
The Berlin wall analogy is false - this wall is to keep terrorist elements out. This is an intelligent move to force the Palestinians into disarming the terrorist elements.
Nate, Lanham, USA
If the Israeli's wanted peace that badly they would have built the fence on their own land.
Nigel Cousins, Houston, USA
Sadly, I think this is the only solution that will work. There is no leadership in the Palestinian territories, and recent studies have shown that half the population supports the suicide bombings. There is not even a unified movement that can be negotiated with, but rather many. I don't see peace coming any time soon. Unilateral separation may just work.
Nathan, Houston, USA
Now even Libya is living in compliance with UN resolutions, something Israel has avoided with arrogant impunity for 30 years. Soon the winds will change and the world will finally tell Israel that never again will it tolerate human rights abuses like the ones perpetrated by Israel. Sharon is building a wall between his country and the world.
Ken T, Pretoria, South Africa
I do not understand everyone's view that Sharon is the problem. It's as if history only started when Sharon became PM of Israel. Was Barak not the PM during Camp David? And were the previous democratically elected leaders also at fault? There has only ever been one problem in the Middle East, and that is Arafat.
John, UK expat in Israel
To those who are in favour of building a wall. My question to you is this: Do you seriously think a concrete wall is the solution to the crisis? The answer is an obvious no. You only need a few bombs to tear down the wall. Peace is the ultimate 'wall' to the current crisis. US has the key but refuses to use it in the right door.
Kwabena Tawiah, Ghana
In a borderless society filled with 'terrorist' elements, one of the best options of guarantying the security of lives and properties is by using a wall. Israel wall is in order in as much as terrorism has not be reined in.
Ojukwu Gregory, Nigeria
This problem would have been solved a long time ago if they each had subscribed to the simplest of logic that they both will have to live in that land rather than invoke lethargic religious claims. Since both the Palestinians and the Israelis have decided that they rather die together than live together I don't think there's anything one can do. As far as the wall that Sharon has built is concerned, it will be broken down as soon as the same two sides decide to live together in peace.
DaEtim Edem, Houston, USA
A coalition of the willing under a UN banner needs to send an armed force into the occupied territories, push out the settlers and establish the border, circa 1967. We do not need a UN resolution to do this, we have precedent, and it's called Iraq. Israel must give up its weapons of mass destruction the same as Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea. Anything short of this is an Anti Semitic and racist standard.
William L Donlon, Rochester, New York, USA.
Mr. Sharon once again wants to prove his extremist and anti-human sense. I think US is equally involved in this decision although she opposed it apparently. If US really want peace, the wall is not the way to bring it, everybody knows what USA can really do to cure the wounds of Palestinians.
Palestinian use of terms like 'Berlin wall' or 'racist wall' speak for themselves. They do not want the wall, never mind were. That is one of the reasons for the careless drawing of the line. If the Palestinian leadership really wanted to get rid of the sight of Israeli soldiers in their land, they should be looking forward to the wall rather than use derogatory polemics.
S Levy, Affula
A very shrewd move to comply with the UN mandate on dismantling settlements while not seeming to do so.
It seems obvious to me that this plan is what the Israelis have always intended. Their reneging on previous 'agreements' so as to antagonise the Palestinians, was the means by which the 'end' is now being justified.
Definitely the time has come to change the reality on the ground.
The historical question is either the Palestinian leadership can lead their people to a better future. So far , for over 55 years they prove that they can only lead to destroy and not to build, to love the death and not the life, to teach hating and not coexistence. Until this question is not firmly replied the disengagement is the best what can be done.
Dov, Rishon le Zion , Israel
It would be better to have nice neighbours, but given the continuing attacks upon their citizens, the Israelis are doing the right thing. Those who complain about the barrier being a land grab assume, incorrectly, that the land in question belongs to the "Palestinians." Who decided that?
Paul Leber, Potomac, Maryland
I don't see how Israel can do anything other than build a wall and completely cut the Palestinian's out. What Israel is proposing is both intelligent and humane.
Mike Brooks, USA
Good fences make good neighbours; ask Northern Ireland and the Republic. Granted there will be losers on both sides as land is lost and communities separated, but, as long as two parties can't live peacefully together it may be best to allow them to separate for a generation with the hope that passions will cool, and reason will eventually rule the situation. At any rate it should be a means to reduce some of the killings.
RA Varga, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
If Mr Sharon wants to build the wall let him. But at the same time the USA must start funding Palestine on a pro rata basis at the same rate that it supports Israel. Only by doing this will the Israeli government realise how extremist its policies are, and also the Palestinians will be able to build a true state that is not reliant on Israel for jobs for its migrant workers.
Peter, Kabul, Afghanistan
If Israel builds the wall on the Israeli side then you can call it a border. I don't think US would be too happy if Canada decided to build a border on US land.
Ahmed Ali, Bahrain
Sharon's plan has depressing similarities with post World War 2 Berlin and apartheid South Africa - it smacks of the desperate actions of a regime that has run out of both humanity and imagination.
Robert Webster, Melbourne, Australia
There has been too much blood shed in the last 50 years and there is a lot of hatred between the two sides. Almost everyone has lost a dear one and the hatred is enough to generate violence triggered by revenge.
I think it is a good idea to build the wall and separate the two nations for the next few generations so that eventually after a few generations the hatred is lessened and after a few generations no body would have lost a brother, father or son. Then we should let the future generations decide to break the wall.
In the meantime education and economic growth should be supported in Palestine to moderate the intellect of the coming generations and make life easier. However, the wall should not be carved out of Palestinian areas as this will make life harder for the Palestinians and the hatred will linger on.
Imran Azim Butt, Doha, Qatar
Well, if Mr Sharon wants to build a fence on Israeli land and patrol it, then I don't see how we can oppose that. It may not bring a solution to the problem but would allow both sides a period of peace and give the international community time to sit down with the Palestinian government and sort out their economy and resource issues.
Mike Hudgell, Portsmouth, England
This is an opportunity for the US to re-evaluate its policies towards Israel and the continuous aid that it has been providing. Sharon has never wanted peace nor has he made true concessions for the people.
Rima, Washington DC, USA
It is acceptable for any leader to look after the safety of people that depend on the individual. This not a crime, what is criminal is the price others have to pay for this individual to secure such safety. The world is kidding itself if it thinks there is ever going to be peace between these parties. Israel will continue to oppress the Palestinians and they in turn will continue to blow themselves up. Where is the UN?
Sajad Hussain, Rome, Italy
I really wonder why so many people listened to Sharon's speech? There was nothing new, no plans for resuming the negotiations, no plans for ending the occupation and the oppression and no plans for a real peace measures.
George Nasser, Bethlehem, Palestine
Sharon and Israel are making a historical and fundamental error in thinking that a physical barrier can protect them. Peace with the neighbour is the only solution.
Tony Fellows, Birmingham, UK
The Berlin wall was built by a totalitarian regime to stop people escaping to freedom in the democratic West. Israel, a democracy, is building a wall to protect its people from murderous terrorist attacks. If you can't see the difference between the two walls then brush up on your history.
Mark Brobyn, London, England
To all those who support Sharon's plans, can I please come to your house take over two thirds of it and then build a partition wall between yourself and me, but don't worry I'll give you the bathroom and that's all and you can call that your home.
Shuhel Ahmed, London, UK
The problem for the Palestinians is that with borders come responsibility, and the end of the possibility of blaming Israel for their problems. Security for both people can only come through definite and controlled borders.
This disengagement plan consists of fencing the Palestinians into a giant prison, surrounded by watchtowers and armed guards, with helicopter gun ships hovering overhead. It will be interesting to see if world leaders, especially President Bush, allow this to pass. If they stop it they will have refreshed their democratic credentials, if not, welcome to the new world order!
Kate Reynolds, UK
Good! Build the wall and watch the Palestinians run out of excuses! Too often have our leaders used the "Palestinian problem" to avoid addressing much needed concerns at home.
Ahmed Gulani, Bahrain
Ahmed Gulani comments hit the mark. What the Arab nations really fear is that this fence will lead to a cooling in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. Then, the populations of 22 Arab nations will begin to take notice of 'fences' in their own countries, such as lack of education, women rights and freedom of expression.
Aaron, Vancouver, Canada
Israel needs to arrive at a solution that stops the violence and prevents the creation of a state where Israelis are a minority. With that in mind, his plan has merit, but will only work if he deals with the land issue fairly, and creates a neighbouring state without lingering political issues that will lend fuel to pre-existing tensions.
Where is the UN in all of this? How many resolutions is Israel already violating? Wake up and do something about it and this discussion will be null and void.
Paul, New Britain, USA
I do not want to be "more loyal than the king" when I talk about the Palestine issue as most south Asian Muslims behave. But Mr Sharon must understand that it's a really very hard bite to chew by taking unilateral decisions. History is full of disastrous unilateral decisions which ultimately resulted in damage to the original cause and issue.
Muhammad Ali Panhwar, Khairpur, Pakistan
It is obvious that Sharon has made a big shift in his ideology toward peace. Why don't the international community do more to encourage him?
Pablo, Montevideo, Uruguay
This action of Sharon merely perpetuates violence in the middle east. Comity between the Israelis and the Palestinians never sets in if they are not seeing to one another's needs and demands.
Shafiqa, Afghanistan, Kabul
I think that the US is 'side stepping' our commitment to Israel. Once again I think we need to realize that the Israelis are a people 'defending' their own country. Maybe we don't understand the motivations of the Arab world as much as the Israelis do.
Kay, US in EU
There is no solution but to accept one state, non-racist, right of return of refugees to return and repatriation of foreigners from Europe and US.
Abdul Rupani, Luton, UK
The same spiral has been occurring for years. It's time Sharon took the necessary precautions to protect his country, as would Bush, Blair or Arafat. It's a leader's responsibility to try to negotiate peace with their neighbours if their relationship is unsettled. Primarily though he must protect his own. I don't believe he is doing much wrong by proposing peace now or they will go their own way. Let's see if the answer is yes to peace.
David, London, England
Sharon has never been and never will be a man of peace. He does nothing to help the Palestinian Authority reassert its control and meet its obligations under the road map.
William Prescott, Adelaide, Australia
Just read the whole speech and you can make your own mind up what Sharon is saying. He wants and I quote "A viable Palestinian State" where is the threat in that?
Jeremy, London, UK
Well done Mr. Sharon, do not listen to those who complain that the Palestinians should have the roadblocks removed and settlements disbanded and now that you are saying you will do it, they accuse you of something else. Unilateral steps are what is needed and should be taken as soon as possible. Let the Palestinians have a state and be done with it. If they cross a recognized border then self defence is allowed by law.
Allan, London, England
What on earth does "disengagement" mean? This is clearly just confusing the issue. The real issue is that Sharon's fence will confiscate even more Palestinian land, along the border and along the Jordan Valley. Just look at the proposed route. Some settlements will be removed, but the rest will be incorporated into a larger Israel that has taken over Palestinian land. This will leave the Palestinians without a viable state - meaning that "disengagement" will always be impossible.
There was never a peace plan. There will never be a just solution to this problem with the US's involvement, because all US administrations are impotent to deal with this problem in a fair manner due to the tremendous influence of the pro-Israel lobby in this country. There is not a single politician in the USA who can dare to be honest about the Palestinian-Israeli issue.
K A Alam, USA
The issue is not whether Sharon will separate from the Palestinians but how much land he will take in this move. If he 'separates' along the 1967 green line I am sure the Palestinians will be delighted. Sharon's plan is to keep most of the illegal settlements - that is the issue.
Chris O'Donoghue, London, UK
The Palestinians are just afraid of having their own state and looking after themselves. If the Israelis weren't there, they would most probably be having disputes amongst themselves and would have no one else to blame. As regards the wall, some people think it is sinister, however, I think most countries have them - they call them
"The Man of Peace" has shown his true face. He never had any interest for peace and knows that going into an election year, no US President would dare challenge him. Perfect timing to obtain as much land as possible and to built his wall (sorry, the barrier as the press prefers to call it)in the heart of Palestine.
Ismail, Cairo, Egypt
It amazes me how some people compare the Separation Wall that Israel is building to a "Berlin Wall". The Berlin wall used to separate the same people who were under different political system. This is clearly not the case with the Israeli wall which separates two peoples with a different vision and religion. Also if Palestinians wants the end of the occupation, Sharon's plan is the quickest way to get there by far.
Michael, Sydney, Australia
Congratulations Mr Sharon! You call 'imposing' of settlements on the Palestinians democratic behaviour?
In my view, it further highlights the fact that the Israelis are not interested in peace - imposing settlements that the other party have clearly NOT agreed to. End the suffering of the Palestinians; give them back what belongs to them, and then maybe you might realize that the wall is not needed, it might just also benefit your economy!
Zeinfur Mohammed, St Annes, UK
It is obvious that the PLO is not interested in peace, they only pose for the camera and say that, so good for Ariel Sharon. This is a good tactical move to preserve the citizens of Israel.
Daniel W., Canada
The Palestinians have shown no indication they want peace and security for themselves or Israel since Arafat led them away from a Palestinian State and secure borders more than three years ago. The terror groups and Arafat are leading the Palestinians down the path to misery and disaster.
Steve, New York City, USA
I can't really blame him at this point. Ultimately his responsibility for the security of the citizens of his own country take precedence over the Palestinians or "international opinion".
How is Sharon threatening the Palestinians by saying that he wants nothing to do with them? Would that not mean an end to the occupation? What in the world do these people want?
Garry Cobb, Cherry Hill, NJ, USA
Since the Palestinians have removed themselves from the roadmap in a de facto manner by refusing to move forward, I see no reason to expect Israel to continue down that same path. The roadmap for peace is supposed to be a two way street.
Douglas G., Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
Unilateral action was Sharon's plan all along. He was never a fosterer of peace. Instead, he antagonized the unusually sensitive Palestinians to give the illusion terrorism was a bigger problem. Now he's in a position of greater power. It's all about strategy.
I just cannot understand what Sharon hopes to achieve by angering the Palestinians more. If he has somehow deluded himself that unilateral action, which will undoubtedly involve heavy military incursions into Palestinian territory, will somehow curb the violence then he is in for a rather unpleasant reality check. Israel does not need a warmongering ex general like Sharon as prime minister, what they need is another Yitzhak Rabin.
Keiran Allan, Aberdeen, Scotland
Without a true partner for peace Israel should do what is necessary for a democracy to do to protect it's people.
When the world puts pressure on the PLO to stop terrorism maybe some progress will happen, until then Israel must be allowed to protect it's citizens.
It is a sham! Sharon will be encapsulating Israel against the world within it own "Berlin Wall". This ultimatum derails the peace plan
and will further isolate the Israelis.
Sharon has continued to disregard the international community, and has continued to show no respect for the NPT which prohibits Nuclear Weapons construction. It seems the "International Community" is judging with double standards with regards to Israel. This man is the root cause of all the Middle East crisis. I say remove him from power and try him for war crimes. This is only way to peace.
Ajani, SF, USA