Israel's parliament, in a session boycotted by many government and opposition members, Wednesday defeated a bill to annex the occupied Golan Heights of Syria. The measure was voted down 45-14 with five abstentions in the 120-member house. Fifty-six legislators, including Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and opposition Labor Party leader Shimon Peres, boycotted the debate.
But Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon defied the government decision to oppose the bill and voted for it. The negative vote on the preliminary reading effectiv ely killed the bill.