Offering little resistance, residents of Netzarim, the last Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip to be evacuated, boarded buses to take them back to Israel proper. Israelis had occupied 21 Gaza settlements for almost 40 years, but their safety was becoming increasingly hard and costly to protect. A complete handover of the strip to the Palestinian Authority may not take place until October, however, in part because of the extensive demolition of the settlements. Meanwhile, Hamas, which claims credit for forcing the Israeli pullout, said it was responsible for 54 percent of the attacks against Jewish targets in Gaza in this decade.
A finished draft constitution was to be presented to Iraq's parliament Monday night, but leaders of the Sunni minority were vowing to vote it down in a national referendum. They also warned of civil war if it were passed. The Sunnis were particularly angry that the draft charter defines Iraq as a federal republic, even though the details and the method by which that would be achieved were left to later negotiation.
Two weeks after flouting European negotiators by resuming the processing of uranium, the government of Iran said it is ready to restart discussions about the country's disputed nuclear development. Britain, France, and Germany have been hoping to use economic incentives to persuade Iran not to resume uranium enrichment. But their offers were rejected, with the Iranians arguing that their country must be self-sufficient and able to produce reactor fuel, which it says is intended only to generate electricity.
Angry protesters set fire to a battery factory in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang over the weekend, reports said, in the latest incident in what for the central government has become a disturbing wave of dissent. The violence was triggered by unhappiness over toxic waste, and witnesses said an unspecified number of people were hurt in clashes with police. The protest was the third in Zhejiang in recent months, all over the same problem.
Polling places in Afghanistan will not be attacked during next month's national election, a spokesman for the Taliban said. But he insisted that resistance against the government and US forces would continue. The US military, meanwhile, reported that coalition forces had killed more than 100 militants in recent weeks to promote security for the election.