US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won a commitment from Israeli and Palestinian leaders to coordinate Israel's planned pullout from the Gaza Strip, which is due to begin in just two months. "Israel and the Palestinian Authority share a commitment to ensure that 'disengagement' happens smoothly, without violence," Rice told a news conference here in Jerusalem. Under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, 21 Gaza settlements will be dismantled and more than 8,000 settlers removed from their homes. Rice discussed the plan with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and with Sharon in Jerusalem. She said the pullout could give a boost to the "roadmap" peace plan, "toward realizing the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security."
Want more news from Israel?
Click Here to sign up for our FREE daily email updates