Oct 9, Fri - Days before the start next Thursday of a crucial summit in the United States on a possible new interim peace deal with the Palestinians, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named cabinet hawk Ariel Sharon as Israel's foreign minister on Friday. He would lead talks with the Palestinians on a final peace settlement, joining Netanyahu at the summit with Palestinian president Yasser Arafat and US President Bill Clinton. The summit at the Wye Plantation retreat outside Washington was hoped to be a break of the 19 months of Israel-Palestine peacemaking deadlock.
Sharon, a war-veteran and ex-Israeli General, is a known hard-liner who has in the past argued vocally against a handover of any more than nine percent of the West Bank, saying Israel's security would be compromised. Sharon was notorious as a defense minister when he architect the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. He was eventually forced to quit Defense Minister in 1983 after an Israeli inquiry found him indirectly responsible for the killing of hundreds of Palestinians by Christian militiamen at the Beirut area Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps.
His appointment could placate right-wingers crucial to Netanyahu's coalition who oppose conceding land to Palestinians. But Palestinian negotiators reacted with dismay. Netanyahu had held the foreign ministry portfolio himself since January, when incumbent David Levy resigned in anger over the slow pace of peace moves and social issues. Netanyahu had once tried to keep Sharon out of his Cabinet altogether; could have appointed Sharon foreign minister reluctantly, with his back to the wall--by signing up Sharon, Nethanyahu appeased his hard-line critics and maintained the stability of his government. Sharon was thought as the only Cabinet hawk with enough clout to lead or stifle a right-wing revolt.
Oct 9 : Nethanyahu had met Sharon in the morning, and announced his appoint as Foreign Minister afterwards.
Oct 13: Sharon Assumes post of Foreign Minister, he will accompany Nethanyahu to the Washington Summit.
Oct 15: Summit in Washington.
Key Individuals, Places and Organization:
Sharon, Nethanyahu, Arafat, Clinton, The October Washington Summit.
Special terms and concepts:
The Wye River Peace accord, Middle-East Peace talks.
A Look at Sharon , Sharon's Appointment .