The Cabinet has rejected a proposal to delay the upcoming pullout from the Gaza Strip by six months. The 18-3 vote means that the evacuation of 21 Gaza settlements and four more in Judea and Samaria will begin on schedule in mid-August. The delay was proposed by Agriculture Minister Israel Katz, a hawk who opposes the withdrawal. Former Prime Minister Benjamin also voted in favor of the delay. Netanyahu’s vote points to a future battle for the leadership of the ruling Likud party, which will take place after the pullout. Netanyahu hopes that a tough line against the pullout will ingratiate him to the hawkish Likud Central Committee that has tried to stop the withdrawal time and again.