JERUSALEM — Defusing a political crisis that threatened the coalition government, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir yesterday canceled his decision to fire Science Minister Ezer Weizman for alleged contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Israeli law bars contacts with the PLO and brands it a terrorist group.
In a political compromise, Mr. Weizman agreed yesterday to quit the decision-making inner Cabinet. The agreement ended two days of efforts to save the coalition of the conservative Likud bloc headed by Shamir and the center-left Labor Party of which Weizman is a member.
The crisis was the worst to shake a Likud-Labor alliance in six years and concerned a major issue that has split the nation - how to resolve Israel's conflict with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
On Sunday, Shamir gave Weizman notice that he was fired as of yesterday because of contacts with the PLO. Weizman allegedly divulged secret Israeli strategy that he learned in meetings of the 12-member inner Cabinet.