Netanyahu quits over Gaza pullout

Netanyahu quits over Gaza pullout

JERUSALEM – Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tendered his resignation yesterday over his opposition to this month’s planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, official sources said.

Netanyahu, a former prime minister and stalwart of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Likud party, resigned shortly before a cabinet vote to give the final go-ahead on the evacuation of a first batch of Gaza settlements. “The moment of truth has come.I cannot sanction a decision which threatens state security,” said Sharon’s main domestic rival in his resignation letter, excerpts of which were handed to the media.After handing his letter to the cabinet, Netanyahu walked out of the meeting without giving any explanation.The 55-year-old hardline minister is vehemently opposed to the pullout – Israel’s first ever from occupied Palestinian land – and had announced he would vote against the evacuation, which is due to kick off on August 17.Several other right-wing ministers had already quit Sharon’s government coalition over the controversial ‘disengagement’ plan, under which Israel unconditionally relinquishes the whole Gaza Strip and four isolated settlements in the norther West Bank.- Nampa-AFP”The moment of truth has come.I cannot sanction a decision which threatens state security,” said Sharon’s main domestic rival in his resignation letter, excerpts of which were handed to the media.After handing his letter to the cabinet, Netanyahu walked out of the meeting without giving any explanation.The 55-year-old hardline minister is vehemently opposed to the pullout – Israel’s first ever from occupied Palestinian land – and had announced he would vote against the evacuation, which is due to kick off on August 17.Several other right-wing ministers had already quit Sharon’s government coalition over the controversial ‘disengagement’ plan, under which Israel unconditionally relinquishes the whole Gaza Strip and four isolated settlements in the norther West Bank.- Nampa-AFP

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