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U.S. Official Consults Arabs on Iran Nukes (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 01/30/05)Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=76141 INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 day."

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 orders.

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 © 01/30/05)

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