Israel's Pullout Plan
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is moving full speed ahead on his controversial plan to pull settlers out of the occupied territories. On Sept. 14 the Israeli Security Cabinet approved a framework package to compensate 12,000 settlers in the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank that could cost the government up to $600 million. Initial payments will begin within two weeks. Sharon wants all settlers out by September, 2005, at the latest. In the meantime he faces numerous hurdles before the plan can be implemented, including calls from dissenters in his own Likud party for a national referendum on the disengagement. The plan must also be approved by the Knesset, which is scheduled to take it up in November.
Edited by Patricia Kranz