Peres Threatens to Quit Government

Published July 3rd, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres warned Tuesday that if he is not allowed to do his job as he sees fit, he will not remain in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government, said Haaretz newspaper. 

Peres’ comments came during a meeting with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. 

Peres said he had not joined the national unity government “in order to lie.”  

“It would be a mistake to delegitimize Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat,” he added.  

He also said that there were no quick and immediate solutions. 

Peres faced criticism from right-wing ministers for his meeting with Arafat in Lisbon on Saturday. 

Israel's Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi stormed out of Sunday’s cabinet session after Sharon refused to allow discussion on Peres' meeting with Arafat in Lisbon.  

The far-right minister, who has called on his party colleagues to vote in favor of leaving the government, said he was "not prepared to sit in a government" in which only what Peres had to say was reported. Ze'evi added, however, that he would act in accordance with the decisions of his party colleagues.  

Also, Internal Security Minister Uzi Landau accused Peres of "pushing a policy that indirectly justifies Arafat's continued terrorism."  

But Peres shrugged off the criticism as "hysterical reactions." 

"There's no reason for the Israeli foreign minister not to meet Yasser Arafat while every other foreign minister, including from the United States, is meeting with him," Peres said at the time –  






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