The Gaza Retreat

Israel's Likud party members voted overwhelmingly Sunday to reject Prime Minister Sharon's plan to evacuate 21 settlements in Gaza and 4 in the West Bank.  Generally, a high percentage of voters turn out in Israeli elections, but the day before yesterday, barely half of the Likud Party's approximately 200,000 members voted.  Since Likud Party members account for about 5% of the registered voters in Israel, the math suggests that fewer than 3% of Israelis voted in the referendum, hardly a mandate against Sharon's plan.    Unfortunately, very few headlines in newspapers outside of Israel will distinguish the Likud voters from the country as a whole. Israel will be portrayed as 'turning its back' on peace, or rejecting a withdrawal of the settlers. In fact, a strong majority of all Israeli voters would likely have supported the Prime Minister's plan, had they been asked. So Sharon either misjudged his ability to pull his right wing party with him on this vote, or...(Read Full Article)

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