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Over 100,000 call on PM to hold pullout referendum (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF AND JPOST STAFF 01/31/05)Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1106969223582 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Over 100,000 people packed streets leading up to the Knesset on Sunday evening in an anti-disengagement rally, said to be one of the largest demonstrations ever held in the Capital, Israel Radio reported.

Protesters are asking Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to "legitimize disengagement" by either holding a national referendum or by calling for new elections. Should there be a national referendum, the council would respect the results, said Amrusy.

The rally began with a moment of silence in memory of all those who were murdered in terrorist attacks.

One of the leaders of the anti-pullout Likud rebels, Uzi Landau, used harsh words to describe the plan. According to Landua, "We will not be dragged into provocations that are purposely created against us."

"Whoever wants to disengage us from the nation, whoever unleashes the public against us, whoever plans to use the IDF to break our bones, you will not prevail," Landau said.

Another speaker at the rally was NRP Chairman Effi Eitam. He chose to point his arrows directly at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: "We are telling you Ariel Sharon – you have no mandate to expel Jews. There is one man who refuses to listen to voices around him."

Eitam added, "We are telling you – you have no right to divide this nation. There is one ´refuser´ who sits here at the government´s headquarters and is dragging an entire nation towards a rift, a tear. Look at those you are fighting against – Ariel Sharon – the heroes of Gush Katif."

NRP MK Zvulun Orlev, considered the dovish element of the religious party, was met with jeers, which disrupted his speech early on. He was later able to complete it.

Near the stage, settlers´ council security guards confronted far right-wing activists who carried signs equating Sharon with temple destroyers Titus and Nebuchadnezzar.

Israel TV reported the council organized more than 1,000 buses to bring demonstrators to Jerusalem, emptying out entire settlements in the West Bank.

The demonstration, which began in the early evening, was to last 24 hours, until after sunset Monday. Many of the demonstrators were expected to sleep in the park and carry the protest to nearby government buildings in the morning.

Settler leader Pinhas Wallerstein said the highlight of the gathering would be a mass pledge to go to Gaza to prevent the evacuation.

The council had turned to figures on the Left in hopes that they would join them in the call for a democratic process, but got no response, she said.

Film clips shown at the rally included statements by Sharon, showing how he has "flip-flopped" on the issue.

At the start of January, settlers set up a protest camp outside the Knesset. They plan to stay there until the government reverses the disengagement decision.

About 2,000 Jerusalem Police officers are preparing to keep the peace during the rally. The rally has caused some temporary traffic changes as well, Israel Radio reported.

Until the end of the rally, Ruppin Street, between Ben Zvi Boulevard and the Israel Museum, will be closed to traffic. However, starting at 2:30 p.m., all of Ruppin Street and all of the streets leading to it will be closed to traffic.

The Police advise those coming to the rally to use public transportation and avoid traveling on Ben Zvi Boulevard, Haim Hazaz Boulevard, and Herzl Boulevard. With AP (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post 01/31/05)

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