Rabbis say withdrawal plan violates Jewish law

24 June 2004
A group of influential settler rabbis ruled on 24 June that Israeli soldiers and police who evacuate settlers are violating Jewish law. 'Nobody has the right to take part in the evacuation of a settlement in Eretz Israel,' said the religious edict issued by the Committee of Rabbis of Judea & Samaria & the Gaza Strip. They also called for prayers to be held to protest the plan. The hardline group's edicts are not recognised by other rabbis.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the US House of Representatives approved a bill on 23 June backing President Bush's support for the Gaza pullout and his suggestion that under a final peace deal Israel can keep large West Bank settlements and refuse to allow Palestinian refugees to resettle in Israel.

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