From the FoxNews: Israel OKs 1st Stage of Pullout; Netanyahu Resigns.
JERUSALEM -- Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resigned from his post Sunday to protest next week's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank, a ministry spokesman said.
Netanyahu, seen as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's biggest political rival within the Likud Party, submitted a letter of resignation during the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday. The resignation will take effect within 48 hours.
Netanyahu wrote that he cannot be part of what he described as a "process that ignores reality and proceeds blindly, creating a base for Islamic terror that will threaten the state."
"I am not prepared to be part of this irresponsible act that threatens the security of the Israel," he wrote.
Hamas launched a competition Saturday for the best design of a Gaza pullout poster, according to a statement posted on the Islamic group's web site.
The design must portray the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a victory for Palestinian groups -- in particular, Hamas. The design must also show Israel's "desperation and defeat."
In recent weeks, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have been competing for credit for Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, each preparing elaborate celebrations, commissioning thousands of flags and frantically sewing clothing with their trademarks.
A top Hamas figure in Gaza, Ahmed al-Bahar says "Israel has never been in such a state of retreat and weakness as it is today following more than four years of the intifada. Hamas's heroic attacks exposed the weakness and volatility of the impotent Zionist security establishment. The withdrawal marks the end of the Zionist dream and is a sign of the moral and psychological decline of the Jewish state. We believe that the resistance is the only way to pressure the Jews."
A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri says likewise that the withdrawal is "due to the Palestinian resistance operations. … and we will continue our resistance."
Others are more specific. At a mass rally in Gaza City last Thursday, about 10,000 Palestinian Arabs danced, sang, and chanted, "Today Gaza, tomorrow Jerusalem." The commander of Gaza's Popular Resistance Committees, Jamal Abu Samhadaneh announced Sunday, "We will move our cells to the West Bank" and warned "The withdrawal will not be complete without the West Bank and Jerusalem." The Palestinian Authority's Ahmed Qurei also asserts, "Our march will stop only in Jerusalem."
Posted by Forkum at August 7, 2005 06:07 PM