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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israel Delays Ruling on Troop Pullout

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet delayed Wednesday a showdown with hawks threatening to topple the Israeli leader and his government, putting off at least until Sunday a decision on troop withdrawal in the West Bank.


"The government today began very important deliberations that dealt with the questions of the guidelines for the continuation of the [peace] process," Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh said.


Ultra-nationalist lawmakers declared this week that a Cabinet decision for any new hand over of occupied land would make them abandon Netanyahu -- who is under U.S. pressure to get peace efforts moving again -- and bring down his government.


Media reports said the Cabinet would be asked to agree to withdraw Israeli troops from another 6 percent to 8 percent of the West Bank under interim self-rule deals in exchange for accelerated talks with the PLO on a final peace accord. But Naveh said, "The Cabinet only just began the discussion -- not all the ministers had their turn to speak -- and because of time constraints they decided to adjourn. The resumption will be Sunday."


Speaking before the special session, Foreign Minister David Levy indicated he would leave the government if hawks made good on a threat to block the step.


Six hours into the discussion, ministers said the final scope of the plan had yet to be decided, and as many as two more sessions might be needed before it came to a vote.