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Israeli Knesset to vote on Gaza referendum

[JURIST] Israel's Knesset [official website] is expected to vote Monday on a national referendum proposal seen as a last-ditch attempt to keep Israeli troops from forcing the withdrawal of settlements and outposts occupied by Israeli citizens in the Gaza region. The referendum on withdrawal is supported by opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's [official profile] disengagement plan, and is expected to fail, as Sharon has won the support of the Shinui [party website in Hebrew], the third largest political party in the Knesset, which aides say will easily give him the votes needed to defeat the motion. The Knesset will also include a vote on Sharon's proposed budget Tuesday, which, if not passed, would mandate national elections. The Jerusalem Post has local coverage.

9:31 AM ET - The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the Knesset has voted down the proposed Gaza referendum by a wide margin of 72 opposed to 39 in favor. The vote reaffirms the Knesset's committment to Sharon's disengagement plan, and is seen as an indicator that Tuesday's budget vote will go smoothly. The Jerusalem Post has local coverage.

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