Cabinet approves Gaza pullout

Sunday, February 20, 2005 | 

The Cabinet approved the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip today by a vote of 17 to 5. Under the plan, Israel will dismantle 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four more in Judea and Samaria, beginning in July. "It's not an easy day, it's not a happy day," said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was once the top patron of the settlement movement. Five ministers from Sharon’s Likud party voted against the plan, led by Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sharon's main party rival. “Because the vote will not include a provision for a referendum, I shall vote according to my conscience, against the decision," Netanyahu told Israel Radio.

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