|Israeli weekly cabinet meeting |
Israel's Cabinet has rejected a proposal to delay the planned pullout from the Gaza Strip. Some settlers are already moving out.
The Israeli Cabinet voted 18-to-3 to reject a proposal to delay the Gaza pullout by six months. The decision clears the way for the withdrawal to begin on schedule in mid-August. Under the plan, 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza will be evacuated, along with four more in the West Bank. About nine-thousand settlers will be removed from their homes.
Government spokesman Ra'anan Gissin says, "I think that, pending no major disasters, I think there is no reason why this plan will not be implemented. I think, more and more people are resigned to the fact, even those that are opposed, that this will be implemented."
Indeed, a growing number of settlers are giving up the fight. At least eight families slated for evacuation moved out of their homes in recent days, including two from Gaza and six from the West Bank. More plan to follow suit, dealing a blow to the settler resistance.
But settlement activist Israel Meidad says that, for every person who leaves, 100 more will come from around the country to protest.
"There are many, many people who are going to be there demonstrating for the right of Jews to live in a portion of the Jewish national home," Mr.Meidad says.
In a sign of growing apprehension about turmoil, Israeli Cabinet ministers have been fitted for bullet-proof vests, after some received death threats from pullout opponents.
Israel is not taking any chances since Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a fellow Israeli Jew in 1995. The biggest concern is that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could be targeted in a last ditch attempt to stop the pullout.