Sharon Says No to Israel Unity Government without Different Peace Process
Israel's hawkish opposition leader Ariel Sharon said Thursday he would not join a national unity government with Prime Minister Ehud Barak unless there were a new style of peace process with the Palestinians.
"Since the Oslo accords, Israel has been in a dangerous and complex spiral," Sharon said at a meeting of his Likud party in Tel Aviv, referring to the historic accords signed between Israel and the Palestinians seven years ago.
"Without another type of peace process we will not enter this government and the responsibility will lie with one man: Barak," he said.
"We are not going to support the division of Jerusalem, the transfer of Temple Mount to foreign sovereignty, giving up the Jordan Valley or allowing in 100,000 to 150,000 (Palestinian) refugees," said Sharon.
Sharon is staunchly opposed to concessions he says Barak made at July's failed Camp David summit, including handing over some parts of occupied east Jerusalem to the Palestinians and allowing some Palestinian refugees the right of return to Israel.
It was Sharon's visit on September 28 to the al-Aqsa mosque compound, known to Jews as Temple Mount and a site holy in Islam and Judaism, that triggered the wave of deadly violence that has raged through the Palestinian territories, killing some 140 people.
Barak, trying to lure Likud into his government to combat a month-long explosion of violence in the Palestinian territories, said earlier Thursday he rejected Sharon's demands for veto power over peace and security policies as a condition for its joining an emergency government.
"We do not intend to accept any Likud veto or any type of diktat," Barak said.
The prime minister, without a majority in parliament since July, faces the specter of early elections after the 120-member legislature returns from its summer recess on Monday -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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