Israel's Sharon Faces A Showdown

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is planning to hold a vote in the Knesset on his controversial "disengagement plan," despite growing opposition from within his own Likud Party. Sharon will put the plan, which involves evacuating all Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the northern West Bank, before the Knesset on Oct. 25.

Nearly half of Likud's 40-seat Knesset faction opposes the disengagement plan. If Sharon can't muster support from Labor and other opposition parties, he may have to call national elections more than two years ahead of schedule. Sharon's policy statement at the opening of the Knesset session on Oct. 11 failed to win a majority, a first in Israeli history.

Edited by Rose Brady

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