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      Against The Plan Within The Likud

      Likud opponents of the evacuation/expulsion plan are not bashful. They include Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, Ministers Uzi Landau and Yisrael Katz, and more.
      First Publish: 4/21/2004, 3:41 PM / Last Update: 4/20/2004, 10:15 PM

      Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has refused to take part in two debates that were to take place between himself and Minister Uzi Landau. Landau, a leading opponent of the unilateral withdrawal/expulsion plan, told Israel National Radio yesterday that Sharon's advisors are now working to cancel the last remaining public debate on the plan - namely, the discussion in the Knesset.

      "The bottom line is that those who are really against this unilateral withdrawal were never given any chance to relate their view," said Minister Uzi Landau on the Eli Stutz and Yishai Fleisher Show. "[There have been] no representatives of the opposing viewpoint... We have instead been exposed to a three-week campaign of delegitimization by the Prime Minister's advisors, who are trying to paint opponents of the plan as lunatics - even though we are saying the same things Sharon himself was saying until very, very recently. There are thousands within the party who feel this way very strongly."

      Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said yesterday that he plans to voice harsh criticism of the referendum at an upcoming Tel Aviv University conference. Rivlin said that he does not plan to vote for the evacuation plan in the Knesset, even if the Likud membership approves it in the referendum.

      Minister of Agriculture Yisrael Katz, another leading Likud figure in the anti-withdrawal campaign, paid a visit yesterday to the northern Samaria community of Homesh, one of the four Jewish communities in the region that Sharon's plan slates for destruction. "Whoever chose these four settlements knows what he's doing, and intends to uproot all the settlements in the area," Katz said. "If Homesh, Ganim, Kadim and Sa-Nur are evacuated, Jibril Rajoub and the Tanzim will settle them instead." Arutz-7's Ezra HaLevi reports that Katz told the residents that he was Sharon's assistant 20 years ago when Sharon himself chose the location on which Homesh was to be established. "The same security arguments that were used then in favor of building Homesh still apply today," Minister Katz said.