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August 18, 2005
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Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip could be over by Shabbat, Israel’s consul general to New York told JTA. Speaking Wednesday in a private session, Arye Mekel said he thinks the Israeli military could be out of Gaza by the end of the year.

South Africa’s president congratulated Ariel Sharon on Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. “We salute your courage and assure you of our support as you dismantle the Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank,” Thabo Mbeki said in a letter Wednesday to the Israeli prime minister.

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