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Jewish settlers protest over Gaza pullout plan

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Jewish settlers protest over Gaza pullout plan


Hundreds of Jewish settlers have gathered outside Israel’s parliament in protest at Ariel Sharon’s Gaza pullout plan. Youngsters were among those taking a stand against the planned evacuation of some 8,000 settlers from Gaza and four enclaves in the West Bank. The premier wants to complete the withdrawal by the end of 2005. In what could be a sign of trouble ahead, there were angry scenes as police and soldiers dismantled two makeshift buildings at a West Bank outpost established without government permission near Nablus. There were scuffles between settlers and security forces. Over a dozen people were detained.

Their leaders have called for a campaign of civil disobedience. There have been warnings that some troops could break ranks and refuse to implement the evacuations. Many combat soldiers and officers are Orthodox Jews. None of this bodes well for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s efforts to persuade an ultra-Orthodox Jewish party to join his coalition so as to ensure a comfortable parliamentary majority.
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