Israeli Labour Ministers to Stay in Sharon's Cabinet
Israel’s Labor party ministers in Israel's cross-party government abandoned Wednesday their threat of resignation, giving Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a free hand in his battle against Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, reported AFP.
However, the move also came as the Israeli army announced it would stop military action against the Palestinian Authority, pending measures by Arafat to rein Islamists behind deadly attacks on Israel.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told a Labor Party faction meeting Wednesday that he had never threatened to leave the coalition government headed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the Tel Aviv-base Haaretz.
Peres, speaking at the meeting convened to discuss Labor's continued participation in the national unity government, said that he was concerned by the failure of the government to uphold the coalition agreement with the Labor Party.
The minister claimed that there had been disruptions in the working relationship between himself and Sharon, citing recent government decision to destroy the PA, and Sharon's earlier appointment of Brigadier General (Res.) Meir Dagan to head negotiations with the Palestinians.
According to AFP, the move brought dissension from within the divided and leaderless party, which is faced with staying in the government or facing a disaster in a general election.
The ministers had walked out of a government meeting on Monday night, which branded the PA a supporter of terrorism, and Peres denounced what he called an attempt to bring down the authority.
Peres called a meeting of his party colleagues for Wednesday to decide their next move, as Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded Palestinian security bases and wrecked Arafat's heliport.
Haaretz said that almost all Labor ministers are opposed to withdrawing from the government. Only Minister without Portfolio Salah Tarif supports an immediate departure from the unity coalition. Tarif believes the measures taken against the Palestinian Authority may cause a serious escalation of the conflict -- Albawaba.com
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