Barak Moves to Quell Coalition Crisis
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak moved to quell opposition in his shaky coalition to the planned transfer of land near Jerusalem to the Palestinians, as peace talks resumed Monday in Eilat.
Barak held a series of crisis meetings with coalition partners in a bid to avert a possible rupture in his government, said AFP.
At least two key parties have threatened to walk out if Barak hands over to the Palestinians villages outside occupied east Jerusalem, including Abu Dis which is often touted as a possible capital of a future Palestinian state.
Barak held late-night talks on the Jerusalem issue with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the influential spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas party, which sits uneasily in the patchwork coalition alongside secular and left wing parties, added AFP.
The prime minister offered Shas financial aid for its religious education network, insisting in return that the party back the peace process with the Arabs, his office said quoted by Haaretz.
The support of Shas, which has 17 seats in parliament, is crucial to Barak's coalition and his drive for Middle East peace.
Barak also met Housing Minister Yitzhak Levy, head of the National Religious Party and Interior Minister Nathan Sharansky of the Russian immigrant party Israel B'Aliya, both opposed to the transfer of Abu Dis - (Agencies)
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