Shas ready to leave government

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli Communication Minister Ariel Atias said on Tuesday that his Shas Party is ready to pull out of the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert following a Jerusalem Post report that secret negotiations aimed at turning over the eastern half of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Arabs are taking place.

Atias said that despite denials by Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, he and party leader Eli Yishai, who is currently serving as Minister of Industry and Trade, are convinced that the government has broken Israeli law by offering to divide Jerusalem in line with Arab demands.

Shas has come under strong criticism for remaining for so long in a government that has made no secret of its intention to facilitate the the birth of a Palestinian Arab state in nearly all of Judea and Samaria, including the half of Jerusalem previously occupied by Jordan.

Shas leaders said that the government's insistence on continuing with negotiations while Palestinian rockets are falling on the residents of southern Israel will soon obligate it to join the opposition.

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