Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is in the United States to rally support from Jewish groups for the planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Sharon will have a series of meetings in New York and then address a prominent lobbying group, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, Tuesday in Washington. No meetings with U.S. officials are planned.

On the flight to New York, Mr. Sharon said he will not postpone the start of the pullout from mid-August, despite Israeli reports that his military chiefs want to delay because of recent Palestinian attacks on settlers in Gaza.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Washington later this week, at the invitation of President Bush. Mr. Abbas says he will push for political and economic support when he visits the White House Thursday.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.