Israel: On the Firing Line

On the Firing Line

For months the fragile Likud-Labor coalition has been heading for a showdown over how Israel should engage the Palestinians. Last week Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir nearly precipitated the crisis by announcing that he was firing Science and Technology Minister Ezer Weizman for holding secret talks with the P.L.O. Israeli policy forbids contact with the P.L.O., but Weizman has long advocated -- and indirectly practiced -- a dialogue. Labor threatened to bolt from the government, but eventually both sides compromised. Labor stayed in, although Weizman was excluded from the foreign-policy-making inner Cabinet.

The skirmish came at a sensitive time for Shamir....

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