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PALESTINIANS DEMAND ISRAEL DEMOLISH SETTLER HOMES

Opposition Leader Lapid: 'I Call On Prime Minister Sharon Not To Demolish Evacuated Settler Homes; Palestinians Demand That Israel Do So In Order To Smear Israel On TV Screens Around the World'

Likud MK Landau: 'Events On The Ground May Still Halt Disengagement Although Campaign Has Failed In Cabinet And Knesset'

Settler Homes - Gush Katif

Opposition leader Tommy Lapid of Shinui has called on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon not to bulldoze the more than 1200 homes that settlers are due to evacuate in the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements this fall. Lapid says the Palestinians demand that Israel do so because they want to turn into anti-Israeli propaganda. During her recent visit, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that Israel would demolish the buildings and the Palestinians would be compensated for doing the clean up. However, it appears her statement was premature.

The Israeli cabinet has officially decided to demolish the buildings but is now in the process of reconsidering. Opposition leader Lapid, a former Justice Minister says international law does not require Israel to tear down perfectly good homes while Palestinians live in shacks. Although Likud 'rebels' have lost their campaign to block the withdrawal both in the cabinet and Knesset, Likud MK says events on the ground may still halt what he views as a 'reckless and dangerous' unilateral pullout. Landau also blasted castigated Finance Minister Bibi Netanyahu and other Likud cabinet ministers for going along with Sharon's disengagement plan in the face of their party's opposition. Lapid and Landau were interviewed by David Essing:

Israeli opposition leader Tommy Lapid says the Palestinians are demanding that Israel demolish evacuated settler homes in order to win a propaganda victory. Lapid of the Shinui party says this is the real reason the Palestinians leaders insist that Israel tear down the more than 1200 homes when some 9,000 Israelis are evacuated from the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements this fall. The opposition leader charges that the Palestinians want Israeli bulldozers to be seen on TV screens around the world razing the perfectly good homes, while hundreds of thousands of Palestinains live in shanties. Lapid of the Shinui party has called on Prime Minister Sharon not to fall into this trap. Both the Israeli cabinet and Knesset have turned down the latest drive by Likud 'rebels' to block the withdrawal plan set to start sometime after August 15th. Likud MK Uzi Landau admits that only eleventh hour events on the ground can now stop what he calls a 'reckless and dangerous' retreat by the Prime Minister. Landau also lashes out at Finance Minister Bibi Netanyahu and other Likud ministers for not quitting the cabinet and actively joining the anti-withdrawal movement. Landau also charges that hundreds of thousands of Likud voters now have no influence in the cabinet because Likud cabinet ministers are more interested in their personal careers than they are in the national interest.

David Essing

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