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Nazi remark raised in Israel cabinet debate

Israeli justice minister says army's demolition of Palestinian homes reminds him of Nazi actions

An Israeli cabinet minister says the army's demolition of Palestinian homes reminds him of how the Nazis treated his family during the Second World War.

Justice Minister Yosef Lapid is calling for a halt to the policy of destroying homes along a Gaza Strip corridor that Israel says contains tunnels used to smuggle weapons.

Officials say his remarks sparked outrage at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

The ministers were discussing Israel's demolition of dozens homes in the Rafah refugee camp along the Gaza-Egypt border.

Lapid was quoted as saying a picture of an old Palestinian woman on the rubble of her destroyed home reminded him of his grandmother during the Holocaust.

The statement outraged hardline Likud Party ministers. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said such comments add "oil to the fire of incitement."

Lapid said he wasn't comparing Israel to the Nazis, but added there "is no forgiveness for people who treat an old woman in this way."

The bulldozing has left more than 1,000 Palestinians homeless. Israeli troops pulled out from some parts of Gaza on Friday, repositioning themselves in other parts of the camp.

The military says the operation to root out militants and tunnels isn't over. It also wants to expand a patrol road between the camp and the Egyptian border to make it harder for weapons to be smuggled in.

The expansion is likely to require the demolition of more houses. But officials say other options are being explored that would require the demolition of as few homes as possible.

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