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Sharon Denounces Those Resisting Gaza Evacuations

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon denounced as hooligans those who violently resisted their evacuation from Gaza settlements. It is the harshest official attack yet on resisters and settler leaders.

Speaking at his weekly cabinet meeting, Mr. Sharon said the acts of the young extremists attacking soldiers and police and violently resisting evacuation in Gaza last week were nearly criminal.

The prime minister also had harsh words for settler leaders who have called on those evacuated to set up tent camps in Israel.

Mr. Sharon called their appeal a political ploy for sympathy and denounced them for what he called their willingness to make others suffer for their political agenda.

Mr. Sharon also had a warning to any dissident cabinet ministers, saying those who wished to were free to resign.