Sharon: Hardliners want civil war

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has accused groups opposed to his Gaza pullout plan of trying to incite a civil war.

    Sharon has shrugged off all attempts to block his pullout plan

    Sharon said at the start of Sunday's cabinet meeting that relevant measures to stop the groups - who were "in essence aimed at inciting civil war" - had to be taken.

    "I call upon those of you in charge of security matters, to take all necessary steps," he added.

    His call comes after settler leaders warned on Friday that withdrawal plans could plunge Israel into civil war.

    A group of prominent hardliners urged security forces to disobey orders to dismantle settlements.


    Settler supporters turned out in a peaceful show of force in Jerusalem on Sunday night to defy Sharon.


    Witnesses and police sources put the number of demonstrators at 70,000.


    "(Sharon) should be ashamed of himself. We should find another prime minister immediately," said 18-year-old Elior Malul. About to be drafted into the army, he said he would resist any order to dismantle settlements.


    Protests over Sharon's pullout
    have been ongoing since July

    Settler supporters, including many Likud politicians, oppose giving up land they see as a biblical heritage and say Sharon's plan would also "reward Palestinian terror."


    The fear of security forces is that far-rightists will try to use violence to knock the plan, designed to be completed by the end of 2005, off course.


    Tight security


    Security has been tightened round Sharon. An assassin killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 in an attempt to scupper interim peace accords signed with the Palestinians.


    One option for dealing with people suspected of planning violence was "administrative detention", or detention without trial, which has been used against hundreds of Palestinians arrested during a four-year-old uprising, officials said.


    "I hope we will not have to use it against settlers or against religious leaders. But we are reserving our right to do so if necessary," Justice Minister Yosef Lapid told reporters.



    's inner cabinet is expected later this week to discuss a law for carrying out the withdrawal plan.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.