It is underway and it is expected to be fiery.Israel’s prime minister has presented his controversial Gaza withdrawal plan to parliament at the start of a two day debate. It is the first chance parliament has had to discuss the issue since Ariel Sharon announced his proposal earlier this year.
“I know this will have a large effect on thousands of Israelis, but I’m convinced this disengagement will strengthen Israel and its hold on the territory vital for our existence,” Ariel Sharon said in the Knesset. Lawmakers will vote on the plan on Tuesday, which is widely expected to be passed. But, despite that, Sharon is up against far-right opposition, which has blasted his plans. His ruling coalition is also under threat. The Israeli cabinet passed a bill at the weekend outlining a compensation package for Israeli settlers forced to leave their homes, and punishment for those who refuse. Each family who leaves the settlements, built on land occupied by Israel since the 1967 war, could receive more than 200,000 euros. More than 8,000 people will be removed from all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip, as well as four of the 120 in the West Bank, in an effort to improve security. Despite having support from the majority of Israelis, Sharon has been criticised by those who once celebrated him as the champion of the settlers. They accuse him of giving in to Palestinian violence.