Sharon ready to take ''unprecedented'' measures to pass disengagement plan
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his Cabinet on Sunday that he is ready to take "unprecedented political steps," including the dismissal of ministers, in order to pass his Gaza withdrawal plan, an official at the meeting said.
The Israeli leader is trying to win approval for the plan from the 23-member Cabinet, but so far does not have a majority.
"I am determined to pass this plan, even if I am forced to change the make-up of the government or to take unprecedented political steps," Sharon was quoted as saying.
The meeting began with a call from Sharon for ministers to show leadership and give the nation hope, Israel Radio reported.
The prime minister, who only intends to put the plan to the vote next week, decided to present the "graduated plan" after failing to obtain Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's support for it.
Netanyahu is firm in his objections, as are Education Minister Limor Livnat, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Health Minister Danny Naveh.
The four tried to convince Sharon to suggest a reduced evacuation of only three settlements but Sharon is prepared only for an evacuation that is part of his comprehensive plan.
Under the plan presented to the ministers, all settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in northern Samaria will be evacuated. The settlements earmarked for evacuation were divided into four groups and the dismantling of each group will be brought for cabinet approval separately.
The evacuation will be completed by the end of 2005, but construction and development in the settlements earmarked for evacuation would cease from the day the decision is made. The state can pay advance compensation to settlers seeking to leave voluntarily, before the compensation legislation is completed. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)