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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 04:32 AM
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New Sharon government takes office


"A new Israeli government took office last night, bringing together Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party and the formerly opposition Labour Party in a grand, national-unity coalition with the central purpose of withdrawing troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank.

The government survived a confidence motion by a wafer-thin margin of 58 votes to 56 with six abstentions, defying opposition from 13 Likud rebels and more than 15,000 demonstrators praying outside the Knesset."


"This is the third government headed by Mr. Sharon since he was elected in February, 2001. The two main partners are joined by the tiny ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism, giving them 66 seats in the 120-seat Knesset."


"Joining the government in a newly created vice-premier's ministry will be Shimon Peres, the 81-year-old Labour Party leader who served as foreign minister in a previous Sharon administration three years ago. It is his 15th time at the Israeli cabinet table. Mr. Peres was a major player in the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians, but he has traditionally been at loggerheads with Mr. Sharon, a champion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza who once believed the Palestinian problem could be solved by declaring Jordan as the state of Palestine.
The views of the two men, once diametrically opposed, have converged in agreement on the necessity to end Israel's presence in Gaza. But there is little indication where they will go beyond that move."

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