The Knesset, Israel's parliament, is holding a two-day session to give final approval to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip this summer and dismantle 21 Jewish settlements there. A majority is assured. The Knesset vote will be followed this Sunday by Cabinet approval of the pullout, the first of several Cabinet votes to endorse the evacuation of settlements in stages. The Cabinet vote will launch a five-month countdown to the start of the withdrawal, meaning that the target date would be July 20th. The evacuation of all the settlements in Gaza, and four more in Judea and Samaria, is expected to take three months.
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