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Anti-Disengagement Leaders in Israel Meet to Curtail Violence

Leaders of the settlers' movement have called a meeting to formulate a code of conduct to prevent violent confrontations between anti-disengagement protestors and Israel security forces. The meeting comes in the wake of clashes in Gaza last week.

The leaders of the Jewish settlers are expressing concern that further violence will only undermine support for their protest against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan.

Effie Eitam - a member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset - told Israel Radio that restraint is needed. Mr. Eitam says attempts to harm people and property are unacceptable and are forbidden both by law and Jewish tradition. He says, what he termed, "a red line" had been crossed last week when extremists seized a Palestinian-owned building in Gaza - sparking clashes with Palestinians and Israeli security forces that came to evict the extremists.

During that incident last Wednesday, several of the Jewish extremists were videotaped stoning a Palestinian teenager. The attackers were heard shouting "lynch him" while they struck him in the head with stones as he lay unconscious on the ground with an Israeli soldier trying to shield him from the attackers.

On Sunday, one of the attackers was arrested in the Israeli town of Bet Shemesh.

The proposed code of conduct the anti-disengagement leaders are considering calls for nonviolence, a voluntary collection of weapons owned by settlers and for verbal restraint with security forces.

The Sharon government says it will begin evacuating all Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and four small settlements in the West Bank on August 15.