To make the Gaza pullout more palatable to Israelis, the Cabinet also approved a new route for the security barrier in Judea and Samaria, by a vote of 20 to 1. Two major settlement blocs near Jerusalem will be included within the barrier--Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion. The votes underscore Sharon’s strategy--to get rid of Gaza with its huge Palestinian population, while holding on to settlement blocs in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. The votes, which commentators described as “historic,” effectively shape the nation’s future borders. "A new chapter in Middle East history will be written at the Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem this morning," wrote commentator Shimon Schiffer in Israel’s biggest newspaper “Yediot Ahronot.”
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