U.S. Official Consults Arabs on Iran Nukes (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 01/30/05)
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Recently-fired cabinet minister Uzi Landau blasted the Sharon
government Sunday night for leading a "Likud government without the
Likud, a government that advances disengagement by fraud."
Landau spoke to a crowd of about 150,000 people who jammed the
streets surrounding the Knesset in a rally based on the theme "Let
the people decide." Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has refused calls,
even from supporters of his plan, to stage a national referendum and
let the people vote on the issue.
The Knesset member is the leader of Likud "loyalists" who are trying
to upset Prime Minister Ariel Sharon´s plans to dismantle 25 Jewish
communities in Gaza and northern Samaria, in the Jenin area, and
expel the residents from their homes and businesses.
Landau asked the crowd what would happen if Labor leader Shimon Peres
were to be elected prime minister and then decide to make Judea,
Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) part of Greater Israel, fire all the
ministers from the leftist parties and forge a coalition with the
National Union and National religious parties. Landau
continued, "Wouldn´t all the newspaper headlines scream, ´Aren´t you
ashamed? Return to the people.´"
Likud MK David Levy said, "There never has been an Israeli government
that has incited against the right wing and [Yesha] residents like
this government. No government of Israel has dared
to ´delegitimatize´ the right wing as this government has done every
Ehud Yatom, also a Likud Knesset member, called the Yesha residents
pioneers. "You are here simply to ask love and unity. This is all we
ask. Let the people decide." Yatom added that the opposition to the
expulsion program must not be accompanied with refusal to follow army
Effie Eitam, leader of the National Religious Party (NRP) who last
week signed a merger deal with the National Union party, accused
Sharon of being the one who refuses to follow democracy. "There is
one man who refuses to look in his mirrors, and there is one man who
does not understand that this people stands on its own legs and will
not let dictatorship [decide]," added Eitam.
The crowd "painted the town orange" as thousands wore orange shirts
and carried flags with the same color which has become a symbol of
those against the government plan.
National television, while admitting that organizers succeeded in
bringing more than 130,000 to the demonstration, slighted the
achievement by saying that almost of the participants were religious
and from Yesha. "They failed in not bringing leftists and secular
people," the television news program reported. Newspaper reports
estimated the crowd at between 130,000 and 150,000.
The 24-hour rally in Jerusalem for a national referendum is the
largest political rally ever to take place in the nation´s capital
and is the largest since 250,000 people jammed downtown Tel Aviv
several years ago to protest the Oslo Accords.
The rally is taking place in the same area protestors have stayed
through rain and cold for almost a month in an attempt to convince
the Knesset to stop Prime Minister Sharon´s "bulldozer" tactics to
win approval for the program.
Entertainers are performing on the main stage, and a massive outdoor
prayer service is scheduled Monday morning. A huge petition is on
display for people to sign and join 30,000 others who already have
declared their opposition to the planned expulsion of Jews from 25
communities in Gaza and northern Samaria.
Yesha communities have scheduled activities for their kindergarten
classes Monday morning. Leaders also said they are making it clear
that rude and hateful remarks against defense forces and rabbis
are "out of order."
"This is the first time we have a demonstration not as one of the
left or right, or settlers or leftists. This is a rally for
democracy," said Emily Amrusi, Yesha spokeswoman. (IsraelNationalNews
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