Netanyahu quits over
Binyamin Netanyahu has been a fierce opponent of the pullout plan Israeli Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has resigned in protest against this month's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The resignation was announced as the cabinet approved the removal of a first group of Jewish settlers from the area.
Mr Netanyahu, a former prime minister, has been a fierce critic of the pullout plan championed by his Likud party rival, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been appointed to succeed him.
Mr Netanyahu had threatened to
resign last year unless the
The three most isolated
"A unilateral withdrawal without anything in return is
not the way," Mr Netanyahu said in his
resignation letter. "I cannot be
part of this irresponsible move that divides the people and harms
The BBC's Lucy Williamson in Jerusalem says Mr Netanyahu's resignation will give strength to the opposition faced by Mr Sharon but will not in itself stop the pullout from going ahead. The issue has caused friction between the prime minister and his hardline rival for months, she says. Mr Netanyahu, 55, is expected to challenge Mr Sharon, 77, for the leadership of the ruling Likud party ahead of the next election. The Israeli prime minister said the country's economic policy would not be affected by Mr Netanyahu's departure.
Retaliation Earlier on Sunday, two Israelis were injured in the
The Israeli government plans to pull more than 8,000
settlers and the soldiers that protect them out of the Gaza Strip.