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November 29, 2004


The government crisis has deepened over Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s moves to pass the new state budget. After two far right parties bolted the coalition in protest over Sharon’s ‘Gaza+4’ withdrawal plan in Knesset, Sharon has made a budget payoff to the ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism Party and possibly the NRP for their support in passing the budget this Wednesday. However, in response, the coalition party Shinui warns it will now vote against the budget; if it does Sharon will fire Shinui from the coalition. The government crisis worsens day by day.

November 25, 2004


Time may be running out for Prime Minister Sharon. The opposition Labor party, headed by Shimon Peres has now decided to table a no-confidence over the government’s economic policy in light of statistics indicating that more Israelis are now living in poverty. So, will Sharon be able to survive in his uphill battle to muster a parliamentary majority to implement his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements. But this is only one of the Prime Minister’s headaches these days; Shinui leader Tommy Lapid threatens to bolt the coalition if Sharon makes a political payoff to an ultra- orthodox party for supporting the new draft budget.

November 22, 2004


The outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell paid a farewell visit to Jerusalem where he and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were said to have had an emotional meeting. Sharon spelled out his approach to the new situation in the post Arafat era; whereas Powell reportedly said that Washington would continue her close ties with Jerusalem.

November 05, 2004

HISTORIC JUNCTURE A View Of the New Crossroads From Jerusalem

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has now entered a new historic juncture. Three roads now intersect; optimists hope it will lead from the current battleground to a new and different landscape; the pessimists feel it will be more of the same.

October 25, 2004


Launching the historic Knesset debate of his withdrawal plan, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called on Israel’s parliament to support a pullout from the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements. With the support of the opposition Labor party, Sharon can count on a majority when the 120 MKs vote on Tuesday night. Labor party leader Shimon Peres also came out in strong support of Sharon. Israeli police in the capital have gone on special alert to cope with tens of thousands of settlers who plan on besieging the parliament in Jerusalem.

October 23, 2004


On October 25th, the Knesset is set for an historic vote on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements by the end of next year. Although the common wisdom is that Sharon will garner a majority, analyst David Essing says the Prime Minister needs a decisive win to stem campaign being mounted by opponents to the withdrawal.

October 19, 2004


General Giora Eiland, the head of Israel's National Security Council, Giora Eiland has briefed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the details of the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and 4 Samarian settlments by the end of next year. Eiland disclosed that negotiations for Egypt to take control of the Philadelfee Axis are dragging on so the IDF will have to remain there to prevent Palestinian arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip. In another development, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin has launched a blistering attack on Sharon's evacuation plan charging that it will endanger Israel's security.

October 12, 2004


Likud ‘rebels’, opposed to Prime Minister Sharon’s plan to evacuate the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements, have handed Sharon an embarrassing defeat in the Knesset. They abstained when the House took a vote on the Prime Minister’s policy statement on the disengagement which resulted in a 53-44 defeat. However, the rebels then voted with Sharon against a no- confidence vote by Labor which was defeated 60-52.Opening day of the winter Knesset session found the Prime Minister pitted against opponents in his Likud party over the withdrawal issue.

Who blinks first? Prime minister Ariel Sharon bent on implementing the withdrawal or the fifteen or so Likud rebels who oppose it? They squared off at the opening of the new winter session of the Knesset.

October 11, 2004


Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has opened the Knesset’s winter session by announcing that he will present his disengagement plan to the House in another two weeks. Sharon was confident the Knesset will approve the controversial plan, which calls for the evacuation of the Gaza Strip and 4 settlements on the West Bank. Opposition leader Shimon Peres declared that his Labor party will support Sharon only if the Prime Minister proves he is sincere about really implementing the withdrawal. Peres sharply criticized the recent interview by Dov Weisglass, Sharon’s top aide, who said the disengagement plan was really designed to freeze the peace process with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Likud rebels warn they will vote against the withdrawal. Analyst David Essing says some rebels warn if they cannot dissuade Sharon, they will topple him.

Tension was running high on the opening day of the new winter session. At stake are crucial Knesset votes on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s controversial plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and 4 isolated settlements in Samaria.