Israel: Unseemly Spat Peres takes on Sharon

Peres takes on Sharon

From the outset, the showdown threatened to topple Israel's 14-month-old "national unity" government. The crisis began early in the week when Israeli Minister for Industry and Trade Ariel Sharon publicly accused Prime Minister Shimon Peres of "unparalleled cynicism" in his handling of secret Middle East peace negotiations. Two days later Peres struck back. His ultimatum: Sharon would either have to apologize for the verbal assault or face dismissal, a move that would almost certainly dissolve the coalition government and probably force new elections. Sharon testily countered by offering up a brief "apology." Enraged, Peres dismissed the gesture as inadequate and insincere....

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