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Netanyahu Quits Israeli Cabinet over Gaza Withdrawal


Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has quit the government to protest Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

His resignation came just before the cabinet voted 17-5 Sunday to start the first stage of the pullout August 15 by dismantling three isolated Gaza settlements.

Israeli media quote aides to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as saying the evacuation will begin on schedule, despite the resignation.

Mr. Netanyahu - a Sharon rival and former prime minister - has long opposed the withdrawal. Reuters quotes his resignation letter as saying he "cannot be a part of" what he called the irresponsible move to evacuate Gaza.

Meanwhile, gunfire directed at an Israeli car near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ateret north of Jerusalem critically wounded a 10-year-old boy.

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