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Israeli minister resigns over Gaza pullout as Abbas orders bulldozing of illegal homes

[JURIST] Israeli Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky [profile] resigned Monday saying that Israel's upcoming withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is a mistake that will spawn more Palestinian violence. Sharansky has insisted that Israeli concessions must be matched by an equal effort towards Palestinian democratic reform. Despite his resignation, Sharansky plans to remain in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party [party website, in Hebrew]. His resignation takes effect Wednesday. AP has more; Haaretz has local coverage.

In a related development in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile] ordered the bull-dozing of three beachfront properties which had been illegally constructed by senior Palestinian officers. The question of land ownership in the Gaza Strip remain unsettled until Israel's upcoming withdrawal, although Abbas promises an orderly transfer of property. Reuters has more.

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