Likud votes for Gaza referendum

The rebellious executive of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party has voted to urge Likud deputies in parliament to seek a referendum on his plan to withdraw from Gaza.

    Sharon aims to evacuate all Jewish settlements in Gaza

    But the Central Committee ballot in Tel Aviv on Thursday pushed through by hardliners opposed to the plan was non-binding.

     

    Sharon's aides said it would have little impact since there is no majority in the Knesset (parliament) for referendum legislation.

       

    But the vote displayed the strength of rebels in Likud who aim to join forces with the opposition in the Knesset to reject the state budget in a vote later this month.

     

    Failure of the budget would force snap elections and could shelve the Gaza plan.

       

    Central Committee members approved the motion for a referendum by a show of hands so overwhelming that the forum's secretary said there was no need to see who would vote no.

     

    Plan

       

    Sharon aims to evacuate all 8500 Jewish settlers from Gaza and a few hundred of more than 230,000 from the West Bank later this year to "disengage" from conflict with the Palestinians.

       

    The plan, which would mark Israel's first pullout from lands it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war and which Palestinians want for a state, has been touted by US-led mediators as a springboard towards final peace negotiations.

       

    Enjoying solid support in countrywide opinion polls for "disengagement", Sharon has rejected referendum proposals made by diehard settlers and nationalist patrons as a stalling tactic.

       

    Likud's policy-making Central Committee is strongly opposed to ceding any of Gaza or the West Bank.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    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.