Sharon Sets Cabinet Gaza Vote for Full Pullout Plan Despite Opposition

(Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided on Friday to put his full Gaza pullout plan to a cabinet vote on Sunday. Sharon offered a whittled-down version of his U.S.-backed plan on Thursday, envisaging the evacuation of just three of 21 Jewish settlements from Gaza while "taking note" of his original scheme to remove all of them. But after Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - Sharon's powerful rival - rebuffed the compromise, Sharon "decided to submit the full, original plan, as originally intended. He is challenging the right-wing ministers, both in Likud and the National Union and National Religious parties," a senior confidant said. There was one key new element in the plan to go before the cabinet: it would raze or dismantle houses instead of leaving them intact for Palestinians. The change could be aimed at winning over rightists convinced militants would seize the property and declare victory from the rooftops. Netanyahu and others have insisted that Sharon abide by a May 2 referendum of Likud party rank and file that turned down the initial plan.

2004-05-28 00:00:00

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