Israel’s embattled prime minister says he hopes to form a coalition with Labour and ultra-orthodox parties in his battle to save his government. Labour’s backing would allow Ariel Sharon to push ahead with the Gaza withdrawal plan. Sharon’s coalition unravelled yesterday when he threw out ministers from the Shinui party after they voted against the budget in parliament. Before the premier can form an alliance with Labour, he needs the approval of the right-leaning Central Committee of his Likud party.
Not long ago, the executive barred such a move in the hope of halting his plans of uprooting Jewish settlers from Gaza. Though Sharon can count on the Labour leader’s support, Shimon Peres will also have to seek his party’s permission. If a coalition is not patched together, new elections may be called and that could delay or even cancel Israel’s planned pull out from Gaza next year.