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|Sharon opts for hardliner|
|11/01/02 at 04:31:38|
|Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 20:48 GMT |
[center]Sharon opts for defence hardliner[/center]
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has offered former army chief General Shaul Mofaz the post of defence minister to replace Labor Party leader Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.
The hawkish General Mofaz has a reputation for adopting a harsh line towards the Palestinians and has advocated the expulsion of leader Yasser Arafat.
Mofaz on one side, Ya'alon on the other and Sharon over them, what do you imagine will happen in the region?
Senior Israeli officials, including Sharon aide Arnon Perlman, said General Mofaz had accepted the post.
The move has sparked warnings from Mr Arafat, who said that the Mid-East conflict would get worse with a narrow right-wing coalition running Israel.
Mr Sharon is looking to ultra-nationalist and religious parties to shore up his shaky government after the moderate Labor Party quit the coalition over a budget row.
For the past two years General Mofaz has been in charge of combating the Palestinian uprising. His tactics have brought increasing criticism from left-wingers and human rights groups.
Under his command Israeli troops have stepped up targeted assassinations of suspected terrorists, demolitions of their homes and blockades of Palestinian towns and villages.
Sharon needs coalition partners
General Mofaz has accused the Palestinian leadership of "being infected from head to toe with terror".
According to Israeli media his appointment must be approved by the government and parliament, probably next week.
Moshe Ya'alon, previously General Mofaz's deputy, succeeded him in July as army chief of staff, and shares his hardline stance towards the Palestinians.
Mr Arafat said the appointments did not bode well for the peace process.
"Mofaz on one side, Ya'alon on the other and Sharon over them, what do you imagine will happen in the region?" Mr Arafat told the Arabic satellite television station al-Jazeera.
Mr Arafat said he expected a military escalation against the Palestinians.
Following Labor's departure from the government coalition Mr Sharon has been left with the support of just 55 members of the 120-strong Knesset (parliament).
To regain a majority he has been seeking the support of ultra-nationalist and religious parties.
Israel radio reported that Mr Sharon has made contact with the ultra-nationalist National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu Party, which commands seven seats in the Knesset, enough to restore the prime minister's majority.
Its chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, however, has previously made clear his party would prefer to take part in elections rather than join Mr Sharon's government.
Mr Lieberman is an ally of Mr Sharon's rival for leadership of the Likud Party, Binyamin Netanyahu, who quit Mr Sharon's coalition earlier this year.
By and large the political parties that Mr Sharon is courting oppose negotiations with the Palestinians and advocate Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank.
Arafat says he fears a military escalation
But the BBC's Barbara Plett in Jerusalem says most observers do not expect radical policy changes.
Our correspondent says Mr Sharon is eager to protect his strategic relationship with the United States and Washington has drawn some pretty clear red lines.
A narrow right-wing government would probably continue the military policy against the Palestinians and bury even more deeply the chances of reviving a political process.
Despite the loss of Labor, Mr Sharon said he would continue leading the country.
"I plan to make every effort to establish an alternative government," he told Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.
"I have no intention of initiating early elections," he added.
Mr Sharon's narrow ad-hoc coalition faces its first crucial test in a no-confidence vote which the left-wing Meretz Party has tabled for Monday.
|Re: Sharon opts for hardliner|
|11/01/02 at 14:19:35|
Nothing new I thought, I had a funny feeling that his gonna become defene minister. I'll tell you something else, I was at a recent protest and the above shaytan came. He purpose in the UK was to to collect funds for a charity fund raising event.
When the dushman went past I'm sure he saw the banners held by the 200 or so protestors. Some protestors were muslim, some weren't. We were also surrounded by 50-60 police officers, just in case somebody tried to harm this war criminal.
However, where were the other muslims on that day ? Perhaps not aware or perhaps just had things to do ?. Would we be the same if we saw our fathers muderer who was let off, or we see somebody who's raped our sister what would we do ? Or how about somebody who demolished our home. The sad fact is that in a county like Yorkshire there are enough muslims, yet we couldn't really muster a strong presence or even perform a civilian arrest.
Its about time we muslims wake up otherwise will never wake up.
May Allah forgive us for our complancency.
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