Photo: Reuters
Sharon to address nation
Photo: Reuters
Sharon to address nation Monday
Prime minister to address Israeli public before pullout gets under way; expected to call on settlers to leave voluntarily
Last-minute plea: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is expected to address the nation Monday morning, just before the evacuation of Gaza and northern West Bank settlements gets under way.


In his address, Sharon is expected to call on the settlers to abide by the law and leave their homes voluntarily, in an attempt to avoid clashes and casualties and complete the withdrawal as quickly as possible.


The prime minister will likely repeat his reasoning regarding the disengagement plan's importance for Israel. He is also expected to address the "Day After" and the importance of mitigating the national rift in the wake of the pullout.


Sharon's address will be broadcast on television and radio and will take a similar form to an earlier speech by President Moshe Katsav, who recently asked for would-be evacuees' forgiveness over the disengagement.


However, Sharon is expected to address his message to the entire public and not only the settlers. Later, the prime minister will be receiving updates regarding the evacuation's progress at his Jerusalem office.


60 percent of settlers file for compensation


On Monday, the government is also expected to approve the evacuation of Gush Katif settlements. However, the IDF will evacuate the communities in accordance with its own order of priorities.


A week ago, the cabinet approved the evacuation of the Gaza settlements of Kfar Darom, Netzarim, and Morag. During that session, outgoing Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu submitted his resignation.


Netanyahu, who has meanwhile left for a private visit to the United States, will watch the pullout unfold from a distance.


At this time, about 60 percent of would-be evacuees have submitted their applications for compensation and will likely leave their communities voluntarily.


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