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      PM Sharon Appears at Unique Knesset Committee Session

      Two prominent Knesset committees - Law, and Foreign Affairs and Defense - are conducting a joint session, questioning Prime Minister Sharon on the government's measures to prepare for the expulsion.
      First Publish: 7/5/2005, 2:28 PM / Last Update: 7/4/2005, 10:03 AM

      The Members of Knesset (MKs) have prepared some 100 questions to ask Mr. Sharon regarding the housing solutions, the police presence in Gush Katif and elsewhere around the country during the disengagement, the future of the buildings in Gush Katif, and more. Sharon was presented with the questions in advance. The session is expected to last some four hours.

      Statistics released yesterday show that no fewer than 17 battalions of IDF reserve soldiers will be called up to implement the expulsion. The soldiers are supposed to replace the hundreds of standing-army soldiers who will take part in the mission of removing Jews from their homes in the framework of Prime Minister Sharon's Disengagement Plan slated to begin on August 15th.

      On the other hand, Gen. Giora Eiland - responsible for drawing up the logistical disengagement plans - told the Knesset yesterday that many reserve soldiers will be directly involved in the disengagement. This must be taken together with the words of the new IDF Reserves Chief Officer, Brig.-Gen. Danny Van-Birn, who assumed his position just yesterday. Van-Birn told Arutz-7 that no reserve soldiers would take part in the innermost circle, those that will forcibly remove the Jewish civilians from their homes.

      Some 43,000 soldiers and policemen will take part in various aspects of the disengagement. The mission of the actual uprooting of the residents will be placed upon some 12,000 soldiers, policemen and Border Guard policemen.

      It was reported earlier this week that part of the police preparations for the uprooting is the determination that a particular list of crimes will not be dealt with during the disengagement period. The regular law enforcement manpower will be assigned to the task of dismantling the towns of Gush Katif. Headlines blared, "The Criminals Will Have a Ball."

      The session began with introductory words by Committee Chairmen Eitan and Shteinitz, and then Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin. Prime Minister Sharon then spoke and said, "For every resident who wants, there is a housing solution for temporary and permanent. The money is waiting for them at the Sela Administration... I have heard that some want to live in a tent city. This is a political move; it's their right to live in tents if they want, but I call upon them to show responsibility to their children... I repeat for the 1,000th time: the disengagement will take place according to the dates we have determined... I have given unequivocal instructions to the police to make sure there is no disturbance on the roads or violent protests and the like..."

      Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz, Justice Minister Tzippy Livny and others are on hand, helping the Prime Minister answer the questions. Chairman Eitan appeared to be having difficulty balancing the need to limit the questions and answers, with the desire of MKs to interrupt and ask secondary questions. Amidst one short session of yelling and interruptions, Likud MK Roni Bar'on said, "Did anyone think that this session would look differently?"

      A report on the remainder of the session can be found here.