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Israeli Parliament Approves Sharon's Gaza Withdrawal Plan

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Israeli Parliament Approves Sharon's Gaza Withdrawal Plan

Old 10-26-04, 07:16 PM
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Israeli Parliament Approves Sharon's Gaza Withdrawal Plan

Israeli Parliament Approves Sharon's Gaza Withdrawal Plan
By STEVEN ERLANGER

Published: October 26, 2004


JERUSALEM, Oct. 26 - Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, won what he called the most important vote of his political life tonight, as the Israeli parliament approved his plan to remove all Israeli settlements from Gaza.

The vote, in an atmosphere of high drama and tension, with thousands of settlers in their trademark orange T-shirts demonstrating outside, was 67 to 45, with 7 abstentions and 1 legislator absent due to illness.

The vote, which was narrower than Mr. Sharon had hoped and badly split his own Likud Party and coalition, leaves the prime minister with some difficult choices about whether to restructure his government or call new elections, or both.

While a defeat tonight would have doomed Mr. Sharon and his Gaza plan, a victory does not guarantee implementation. But the vote is an occasion of profound symbolism - the first time Israel will agree to dismantle settlements in Gaza, 21 of them, and the West Bank, though only 4 tiny ones there will go.

A large part of Mr. Sharon's Likud Party, which had an old slogan about its refusal to return Palestinian territory - "Not one inch!" - opposes the plan and will continue to try to block it and its committed proponent, Mr. Sharon.

After the vote, Mr. Sharon's finance minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking for three other ministers, said they would resign from the government if Mr. Sharon did not agree to hold a national referendum on the Gaza plan within 14 days. Mr. Netanyahu, a former prime minister, voted stony-faced for the plan before his ultimatum and said: "We do not wish to topple anyone. We do wish, however, to give unity a chance."

But a close adviser to Mr. Sharon said the prime minister would not allow a referendum to delay implementation and would call Mr. Netanyahu's bluff. "He is playing politics and it's a little pathetic," the adviser said of Mr. Netanyahu. "Sharon is not playing games, and he is armed with the Knesset vote and wide popular support, and he will concentrate on the real interests and hopes of the Jewish people to live in a democratic, Jewish homeland." Mr. Sharon, said the adviser, would continue to govern with whatever majority he could muster.

For a moment last night, Mr. Sharon thought he had faced down Mr. Netanyahu when the finance minister came in late and voted in favor, along with the foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, and the education minister, Limor Livnat, who had been meeting together to try to force a referendum. After Mr. Netanyahu's vote was recorded, a very relieved vice prime minister, Ehud Olmert, burst into laughter, but Mr. Sharon's face was almost as stony as that of his rival.

Minutes later, Ms. Livnat, Danny Naveh and Yisrael Katz joined Mr. Netanyahu in threatening resignation. They said they had voted yes "in order not to put Mr. Sharon on the spot," Mr. Netanyahu said.

Mr. Sharon believes a referendum would only delay the withdrawal from Gaza and he threatened to fire any minister who voted against him - two did, both were fired within minutes.

The religious right also opposes the plan, saying that it is a sin to pull Jews from their homes and that Gaza is part of the Land of Israel given to Jews by God. Palestinians, of course, have a different view of God's intentions. Mr. Sharon hoped for some votes from some of the religious parties; in the end, he got only one, from a rabbi, Michael Melchior, whose party is affiliated with Labor.

Mr. Sharon had full support, however, from his formal opposition on the left, which sees Gaza disengagement as a vital first step toward a smaller Israel that can make peace with a Palestinian state. And he has a firm majority in public opinion. The latest opinion poll, published today by the daily Yediot Aharonot, showed that 65 percent of Israelis favor Mr. Sharon's Gaza plan and 26 percent oppose it.

While Mr. Netanyahu left the hall without speaking to Mr. Sharon, the Labor leader, Shimon Peres, came over to congratulate the prime minister.

Even the Bush administration got into the act, with a State Department spokesman calling Mr. Sharon's proposal a "real opportunity for progress and a return to the political process."

Earlier today, in the second day of debate before the vote, Mr. Shalom, the foreign minister, urged legislators to approve the plan by minimizing its importance, saying that this vote was not a vote to actually dismantle settlements, implying that there will be other opportunities to thwart his party leader and the plan.

Mr. Shalom insisted that those who characterize the vote as historic are wrong. "There is no bigger lie than this," he said.

Asher Susser, the director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East Studies, said Mr. Shalom was disingenuous. "This is one of the most historically important moments in Israel's history since 1948, and certainly since 1967," he said.

"This is not about Gaza - this is the opening of a major debate about Israel's soul," Mr. Susser said. "We are for the first time since 1967 discussing what Israel is, how it shall be governed, and how we define ourselves. Is Israel a secular democratic state, or a state governed by Jewish religious law? We are debating the borders of Israel, its long-term survivability and the very nature of the Jewish state."

Today was also the ninth anniversary, by the Jewish calendar, of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and his son, Yuval, spoke movingly of the similar dilemmas his father had faced over Oslo. He said the essence of the parliament's decision today was the same as over Oslo: "It is the realization of the need to separate from land, from settlements and from a home." Mr. Sharon, he said, "joins his predecessors, Menachem Begin and my father, who had led similar processes that entailed painful concessions." Like their decisions, Mr. Rabin said, Mr. Sharon's decision "cannot become a consensus - decisions that enjoy complete support are merely decisions that are easily made."

There were also echoes today of another fundamental transition that will come in time in the Palestinian world. Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian president, has been suffering from some form of intestinal problem - perhaps ulcers, perhaps a viral infection, perhaps a large gallstone, perhaps even a flu, as his doctors insist. Mr. Arafat, 75, has had a series of visits from doctors, an endoscopy and today, at his doctors' urging, broke his Ramadan fast to undergo more medical tests. There is speculation that his ailments are more serious, and that his doctors and spokesmen are behaving in a Soviet style, when general secretaries like Leonid Brezhnev had the flu until the day they died.

The Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, visited Mr. Arafat today and said: "He needs some time to recover completely, but it's nothing dangerous."

Even if Mr. Arafat's ailment proves minor, his time is also passing. He has faced a series of challenges to his leadership from a younger generation urging more efficiency, transparency, democracy and less corruption in the Palestinian Authority, and Mr. Sharon and President Bush have written off Mr. Arafat as a serious partner for peace talks.

The Israeli army ended today the latest iteration of its incursion into Gaza in an effort to stop mortar firing from Khan Yunis into the very Gaza settlements Mr. Sharon wants to dismantle. In this latest operation, which began Sunday night, 17 Palestinians died and more than 80 were wounded; two Israeli soliders were seriously wounded in intermittently heavy fighting.

Part of Mr. Sharon's intention is to de-escalate in Gaza by removing the 8,000 or so settlers and removing the obligation of the Israeli army to defend them against a population of more than 1.3 million Palestinians. As Mr. Sharon said Monday night, "a democratic Israel will not be able to withstand" an effort "to control millions of Palestinians who double their presence each generation."

Another intention of the Gaza plan, he said, is to "strengthen Israel's grip over the land that is crucial to our existence" - in other words, parts of the West Bank, where more than 230,000 Israeli settlers live, not including east Jerusalem. Palestinians fear that for Mr. Sharon, "Gaza first" means "Gaza last," and object to any Israeli effort to divide and rule. But for many Israelis and Mr. Bush, Israeli withdrawal from Gaza will be a challenge to Palestinians to run their own affairs and to crack down on militancy and terrorism.

In an indication of the mood here, a right-wing legislator, Aryeh Eldad of the National Union Party, read out the names of settlers slated for evacuation in the somber tone and form that legislators read out the names of Jews murdered in the Holocaust on memorial day. "Gidi Reish, age 43, Atzmona resident, Jew, slated for expulsion," Mr. Eldad intoned. A Shinui legislator, Etti Livni, broke in to accuse Mr. Eldad of incitement. "I think Goebbels would be very happy with a student like Aryeh Eldad," she said. "I think the words that were said, and the connection that was made, is forbidden to make."

Mr. Eldad answered, "Everyone to their own associations."
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/in...rtner=homepage
Old 10-26-04, 09:52 PM
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I agree with this, there isn't any good that could come from Israel staying in the Gaza Strip, it would just cost more lives trying to keep the settlers protected.

Once Israel pulls out, the Palestinians can see that it's not those 'evil Zionists' keeping them down, it's their shitty, corrupt leadership.
Old 10-26-04, 09:59 PM
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Originally posted by Jam Master Jay
Once Israel pulls out, the Palestinians can see that it's not those 'evil Zionists' keeping them down, it's their shitty, corrupt leadership.
One can only hope...
Old 10-27-04, 06:21 AM
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One can only hope...

Not bloody likely. The hatred of Jews is permanently interwoven into the fabric of their culture.
Old 10-27-04, 06:47 AM
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I am sorry but i really dont understand the confrontation between the Palestinians and the Israelis.....


What the deal between them?
Old 10-27-04, 09:16 AM
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I'm waiting for the Palestinians to torpedo this effort like they always do.
Old 10-27-04, 09:45 AM
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Originally posted by raven56706
I am sorry but i really dont understand the confrontation between the Palestinians and the Israelis.....


What the deal between them?
It's all about the Mohammed. The Jews don't believe in him, the Palestinians do... and they think they have an Allah given right to kill those who don't believe in him.

Plus, the whole "dirty Jews living in sacred Palestine" thingie.

So it's a two-fold issue; Jews don't deserve to live, and yet they are living in Palestine.

That's the deal. In a nutshell. A very small, limited nushell that doesn't includes shades of gray.

Sorry.
Old 10-27-04, 11:35 AM
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Originally posted by Mutley Hyde
It's all about the Mohammed. The Jews don't believe in him, the Palestinians do... and they think they have an Allah given right to kill those who don't believe in him.

Plus, the whole "dirty Jews living in sacred Palestine" thingie.

So it's a two-fold issue; Jews don't deserve to live, and yet they are living in Palestine.

That's the deal. In a nutshell. A very small, limited nushell that doesn't includes shades of gray.

Sorry.
wow, you should be touring, giving lectures to world leaders, hold press conferences. you obviously have grasp of the real facts, and history behind this mess. your unbiased views will change the way the world looks at this conflict.
Old 10-27-04, 11:46 AM
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ummmm ok.... for real can someone tell me the whole history by their fighting?
Old 10-27-04, 12:07 PM
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How far back do you want to go? And which side do you want hear? You'll never get an unbiased view.


Here is one timeline: Mid-east web

Or a simpler one.

Another site I think is fairly informative: link

I don't really want to get into this one, as I readily admit to being biased against terrorists, but there is plenty of information out there.

Last edited by xLongshank; 10-27-04 at 12:16 PM.
Old 10-27-04, 01:30 PM
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Originally posted by nomaan
wow, you should be touring, giving lectures to world leaders, hold press conferences. you obviously have grasp of the real facts, and history behind this mess. your unbiased views will change the way the world looks at this conflict.
[takes bow]Thank you nomaan, thank you very much![/takes bow]

Originally posted by raven56706
ummmm ok.... for real can someone tell me the whole history by their fighting?
I don't get it.
Old 10-27-04, 03:14 PM
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Got to give it to Sharon, he's got balls. Not only is his political future on the line but so is his life because Israeli extremists have already threatened to assassinate him.
Old 10-27-04, 06:05 PM
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Arafat Deathwatch

This is sort of relating to the topic. The world's oldest terrorist seems pretty close to kicking the bucket.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...at_s_health_14


Old 10-27-04, 06:16 PM
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Let's all say a prayer for Mr. Arafat to get well.





NOT!
Old 10-27-04, 06:53 PM
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His time is almost up. I can't wait til the UN blames Israel.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/...lth/index.html
Close aide: Arafat in critical condition

(CNN) -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was in critical condition late Wednesday after his health deteriorated through the course of the day, Palestinian officials said.

Doctors were treating him at his Ramallah compound and assessing whether he should be sent to a hospital.

"He is in critical condition, but he's conscious," said Hassan Abu-Libdeh, Cabinet secretary to the Palestinian Authority. "During the last six hours, he has relapsed."

He said a team of Egyptian and Tunisian doctors were examining Arafat and that Jordanian doctors -- including his personal physician -- were en route to further aid in Arafat's treatment.

Arafat's wife, Sufa, was expected to arrive in Ramallah Thursday.

A senior Palestinian official inside the compound said Arafat's condition was "extremely bad."

Palestinian officials said Arafat, 75, was too weak to meet with anybody and that he was unable to walk, having to be carried by aides when he needed to move. They also said he has been unable to keep food down.

Israel Radio reported late Wednesday that Arafat had lost consciousness, although Palestinian officials disputed that account.

Palestinian legislator Hannan Ashrawi said top Palestinian officials have been meeting since Tuesday, although she did not characterize the nature of the discussions.

"Right now, everybody who is in a position of authority must think seriously about maintaining order and not allowing panic to take over," she said. "This would be a very serious blow should anything happen to President Arafat."

Earlier in the day, Arafat said he wanted to name former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas as his deputy, according to the central committee of Fatah, the mainstream faction and Palestinian nationalist movement of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Abbas and Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei then went to the Ramallah compound but were turned away after being told that Arafat was too sick, said Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah's central committee. The two later left the compound.

Palestinian aide Yasser Abed Rabbo, who was in the compound, said the Egyptian and Tunisian doctors were trying to determine whether Arafat should go to a hospital.

Ambulances were outside the compound, and Israel has said he can travel to a hospital for treatment.

Speaking from Geneva, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath said he has been in constant touch with Arafat and that he was "quite weak."

"He cannot retain food in his stomach. He is being fed intravenously and therefore he is weak," Sha'ath said.

"Nobody can yet tell any physical reason as to why this condition has lasted and has continued to cause him this weakness," he said.

Arafat has been sick for the past two weeks. During that time, Palestinian officials have cited various ailments, first the flu or stomach virus, then gall stones.

Israel has confined Arafat to his compound in Ramallah since late 2001, accusing him of provoking suicide bombings and other violent acts in the Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000, charges he denies.

An Israeli Defense Ministry official said Monday that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz agreed to a Palestinian request to let Arafat go to a hospital in Ramallah after being examined in his compound by doctors.

Israel has previously said Arafat is free to leave Ramallah but cannot guarantee it will allow him to return.

Arafat has long been reported to have Parkinson's disease. According to aides, he suffers from neurological injuries caused by a near-fatal plane crash in Libya in 1992.

Arafat canceled several meetings last week and missed prayers at the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. Palestinian sources said he had a high fever and nausea but recovered and needed to rest, Reuters reported.
Old 10-27-04, 06:58 PM
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Now they admit he collapsed and passed out for a while. I think this is one terrorist we can write off soon. Obviously, when he dies, things will get worse for a while, but depending on who gets picked, maybe there is a chance of future improvement that wouldn't exist with Arafat.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...rafat_s_health
Arafat Collapses As His Health Worsens

1 minute ago Middle East - AP


By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH, Associated Press Writer

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Yasser Arafat (news - web sites) collapsed Wednesday evening, was unconscious for about 10 minutes and remained in a "very difficult situation," Palestinian officials said. A team of Jordanian doctors was urgently summoned to treat the ailing Palestinian leader.


Arafat was eating soup during a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and another official between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. (2 p.m. or 3 p.m. EDT) when he vomited, according to a bodyguard who was in the compound at the time.


The 75-year-old Arafat was brought to the clinic inside the compound, where he collapsed and was unconscious for about 10 minutes, the guard said. His doctors were urgently summoned.


On news that Arafat's health was worsening, scores of top Palestinian officials descended on the sandbagged, partially demolished Ramallah compound where he has been confined for 2 1/2 years. The officials milled around the courtyard, waiting for news outside Arafat's three-story building, bathed in spotlights.


Israeli security officials said Arafat's wife, Suha, who lives in France with their young daughter, was expected to arrive Thursday. The Jordanian doctors were also due Thursday. . . .
Old 10-27-04, 07:01 PM
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Damn OldDude, did you keep on refreshing the Yahoo news page? You posted the article one minute after the news release.
Old 10-27-04, 07:08 PM
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No, just a "lucky hit," REALLY.
Old 10-27-04, 07:29 PM
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I don't like to wish ill on anyone, even a scummy excuse for a person like Arafat.

But his death can only improve the situation of the people of Palestine and Israel.
Old 10-27-04, 08:07 PM
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Originally posted by Myster X
His time is almost up. I can't wait til the UN blames Israel.

Is posting nonsense like this really necessary?
Old 10-28-04, 01:43 AM
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Originally posted by eXcentris
Is posting nonsense like this really necessary?
You think this is nonsense? I'm sure you know it's not something I thought up out of the blue.
Old 10-28-04, 02:55 AM
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1) Paletinians want ALL of Israel, not just Gaza.

2) By Israel moving out, the amount of violence will probably remain the same, and may even escalate, due to the geographical ground attained by the Palestinians.

3) It wouldn't surprise me at all, in fact I plan on it happening, when Arafat dies, Sharon and Israel will be blamed for his death--I suspect the latest damage done by Israeli forces will be attributed to the "stress" in Arafat's life.

Arafat's existence has merely prolonged the inevitable: A direct and violent clash against Israel and the Palestinians. Arafat is very much unlike the rest of his gangbang thugs, who want instant gratification. Arafat wanted a slow but effective annihilation of Israel, but couldn't get the support he needed.

Instead, when Arafat dies, we will have a lot of internal conflicts (actually, they've already started but the news doesn't seem to report much about it) and I seriously doubt a leader will have the same power as Arafat did.
Old 10-28-04, 08:28 AM
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1) True.

2)I agree, however, the withdrawel gives Israel something to take to the UN when it does fail. They will now have a bargaining chip in being able to say "Hey, we fucking pulled out, and we're still getting murdered. How about you guys finally look at the other side now?" Not that it will matter much though, of course.

3) I agree, no matter what eX says. Arafat's death will, in at least some abstract way, be blamed on Israel.

Yup.
Old 10-28-04, 11:49 AM
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Originally posted by Mutley Hyde

3) I agree, no matter what eX says. Arafat's death will, in at least some abstract way, be blamed on Israel.

By Palestinians and Arabs most probably but by the UN??? Please...
Old 10-28-04, 11:56 AM
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wait and see I guess

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