Israel: November 28, 2003

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 The government is considering pulling the Jewish settlements out of Gaza and expanding those in the West Bank. The settlements are a major political issue in Israel, with a small, but significant, segment of the electorate unwilling to dismantle all of them. Since Israeli governments are coalitions (various factions in the legislature join together to form a majority), the settlements can only be ordered dismantled if a government can be formed without the pro-settlement parties. No one has been able to do that for a while.  Pulling out of Gaza is seen as bearable as Gaza is not as important to the "Greater Israel" crowd than the West Bank (which is seen as an integral part of ancient Israel.) There are at least 150 Jewish settlements, containing at least 220,000 settlers, in Palestinian territory. Israel threatens to continue expanding them, and bringing many within the security wall being built along the Israel-Palestinian border, if the Palestinians don't gain control over the terrorists in their midst. 

 

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