Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is already facing a test of strength in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, which opens its fall session today. Rebels from his ruling Likud party are opposing the appointment of three new Cabinet ministers because they want to punish Sharon for dismantling 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza. "It's time to stop the bickering, the protesting and the struggles and try to unite the Likud, despite the differences in views," Sharon told parliamentarians from the party. Losing the vote would not effect Sharon's grip on power, but it would be an embarrassment. And it will be hard for Sharon to govern without the cooperation of his own party.
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