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Protesters Demonstrate Against Gaza Pullout Plan

30 January 2005 -- More than 100,000 demonstrators gathered in Jerusalem this evening to protest Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to evacuate all 21 Jewish settlements from Gaza Strip and four from the West Bank.

The demonstrators demanded that the plan be put to a national referendum.

In all, 8,500 settlers stand to be displaced in the operation, set for the summer.

Earlier today, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that Israeli troops could pull back from several West Bank cities within days, depending on the outcome of further talks with the new Palestinian leadership.
Mofaz was speaking to Israel Radio after holding talks late yesterday with Palestinian official Mohammed Dahlan, on confidence-building steps.