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March 28, 2005


Israel’s Parliament the Knesset has voted down a bill to hold a national referendum on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements. The vote was 72-39 against the referendum in the 120 members Knesset. The referendum is widely viewed as a ruse to block the withdrawal. Prime Minister Sharon’s ruling Likud party split over the referendum with more voting for it than against. In any case, opponents to the withdrawal are not giving up.

February 18, 2005

THIS WEEK - 18.02.05

After the historic Knesset vote on disengagement, Sharon officials believe the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements is now a done deal. The 59-40 vote poured cold water on the campaign by withdrawal opponents for a national referendum, not that they won't l keep trying. Even the vote count is misleading; the number of hard core MKs against the evacuation is even less than 40 in the 120 member Knesset. The MK breakdown: Likud rebels - 17, National Union - 6, National Religious - 6 for a grand total of 29. Sharon sources say: 'Forget about the 11 Shasniks, the ultra-orthodox party will not oppose the withdrawal if it gets what it wants on child allowances.' This 30% is also said to reflect Israeli public opinion after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas started halting the terrorism.

February 14, 2005


A major confrontation between Prime Minister Sharon and his withdrawal opponents erupted in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Sharon said it was clear who was behind the recent wave of incitement by opponents to his withdrawal plan. MK Effi Eitam of the National Religious Party retorted that Sharon was manipulating the incitement for his own political purposes.