Here’s the Jerusalem Post’s report

Here’s the Jerusalem Post’s report on the departure of Israel’s Labor Party from Ariel Sharon’s government. All of the Labor ministers, including Defense Minister and party leader Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, have resigned, ostensibly over a dispute regarding budget allocations to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, the article views the dispute as insubstantial. It suggests that Ben-Eliezer left the government in order to bolster his position in the upcoming Labor Party primaries. Polls show Ben-Eliezer trailing two more dovish challengers. Moreover, the article notes that Labor was always expected to bolt the coalition eventually in order to position itself as a “moderate” alternative to Sharon. Labor’s departure will not topple Sharon’s government, but will force Sharon either to rely on “small far-right parties” or call for early elections. Right now, elections are scheduled for November 2003.

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