Israel's Cabinet has rejected a proposal to delay the planned pullout from the Gaza Strip. Some settlers are already moving out.
The Israeli Cabinet voted 18-to-3 to reject a proposal to delay the Gaza pullout by six months. The decision clears the way for the withdrawal to begin on schedule in mid-August. Under the plan, 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza will beevacuated, along with four more in the West Bank. About 9000 settlers will be removed from their homes.
This is Government spokesman Ra'anan Gissin: "I believe that, pending no major disasters, I think there is no reason why this plan will not be implemented. I think, more and more people areresignedto the fact, even those that are opposed, that this will be implemented."
Indeed, a growing number of settlers are giving up the fight. At least eight familiesslatedfor evacuation moved out of their homes in recent days, including two from Gaza and six from the West Bank. More plan tofollow suit, dealing a blow to the settler resistance.
But settlement activist Israel Meidad says that, for every person who leaves, 100 more will come from around the country to protest.
"There are many, many people who are going to be there demonstrating for the right of Jews to live in a portion of the Jewish national home," Mr.Meidad says.
In a sign of growing apprehension about turmoil, Israeli Cabinet ministers have been fitted forbullet-proof vests, after some received death threats from pullout opponents.
Israel is not taking any chances since Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a fellow Israeli Jew in 1995. The biggest concern is that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could be targetedin a last ditchattempt to stop the pullout.