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Sharon rejects settlers

Last updated: 2004-10-18

Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon

Jewish settler leaders say Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has rejected their proposal to put his controversial Gaza withdrawal plan to a public vote.

After meeting with Mr. Sharon Sunday, settler leaders told reporters Mr Sharon "totally rejected" their call for a referendum. The Sharon blueprint calls for the evacuation of about 8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip and four small West Bank settlements by 2006.

Referendum advocates say the vote could ensure political stability. But the prime minister says his opponents are trying to stall the evacuation timetable.

Mr. Sharon - once seen as a champion of Israeli settlement construction on land captured in the 1967 war - is set to present his withdrawal plan to the Israeli parliament on October 25.

Story supplied by: VOAnews