Sharon warns Jewish rebels that violence threatens state of Israel
The country's prime minister spoke as a young Israeli soldier who disobeyed orders to take part in the demolition of deserted buildings in a Jewish settlement in Gaza was sentenced to 56 days in jail.
During the operation in the Shirat Hayam settlement, young settlers pushed soldiers, cursed and blocked bulldozers - giving a taste of what could lie ahead during the withdrawal, set to begin in August.
Mr Sharon said settlers who use violence are a minority among the 9,000 Israelis due to be evacuated from their homes in the Gaza Strip and four small West Bank settlements.
"I especially warn against attempts - by a small lawless, minority ... using violence against the army and other security forces," he said.
Mr Sharon added: "We all have to remember that the calls to refuse and to disrupt life in Israel endanger the existence of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state."
The premier also condemned calls for soldiers to disobey orders and refuse to carry out the evacuations.
However, a group of settler rabbis repeated their call for soldiers to defy orders to evacuate settlers, issuing a statement calling the Gaza withdrawal "immoral".