Israeli cabinet OKs end of Gaza Strip occupation, but refuses to raze synagogues
The israeli government voted 14-2 Sunday against demolishing over 20 synagogues in the evacuated Gaza Strip settlements. Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the cabinet meeting before the synagogue vote Sunday that he opposed the demolition.
Israeli officials said Sunday that following the cabinet's decision, the Gaza Strip handover ceremony had been canceled, and cited the Palestinian refusal to attend the ceremony. On Sunday afternoon, a joint Israeli Palestinian ceremony was to be held at the Erez crossing, in which Israeli officers were to give their counterparts in the Palestinian security forces maps detailing Gaza Strip's water, electricity and sewage infrastructure.
Earlier, Israeli ministers on Sunday unanimously gave the Israeli army the nod to end "military rule" in the Gaza Strip, installed 38 years ago following the 1967 War.
According to Haaretz, the cabinet also approved the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the "Philadelphi" route along the Gaza Strip-Egypt border, where Egyptian and Palestinian forces started their deployment the previous day.
Following the vote, the Israeli army is to start withdrawal Sunday night from the Gaza Strip, and by 8 A.M. Monday, the last Israeli soldier is to have left the Strip.
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