Security was heightened at the Israeli parliament as the chamber gathered for a final vote on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw Jewish settlements from Gaza. He has received death threats from right-wing extremists over the proposal.
The vote was to approve a compensation package for around 8,000 families who will be affected by the pullout. Outside the Knesset it was clear that an offer of more than 300,000 euros for an average family was not going to clear the anger of some. Many have vowed to fight efforts to remove them from their homes in 21 settlements in Gaza. Meanwhile the Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie has secured the backing of the Fatah group on the composition of his new government. It came after a meeting in Ramallah. About half of 900 Palestinian prisoners due for release by Israel as part of the new ceasefire deal between the two sides are from the Fatah movement.