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Crisis in the Middle East: As Barak Tries to Put Together Emergency Government, More Violence in the StreetsAired October 24, 2000 - 1:03 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The high alert in the Gulf is matched by high tension in parts of the Middle East. Just as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak tries to put together an emergency government, there's more violence in the streets.
Our Jerrold Kessel joins us now from Jerusalem with the latest from there -- Jerrold.
JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, there had been an impression that perhaps the clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and the Israeli forces, both in Gaza and the West Bank, could be tapering off. But this is not in any way reflected in the number of fatalities or casualties on the Palestinian side.
Four more Palestinian deaths to report. There was a boy, a teenager who had been wounded several days ago, who had died this morning, and his funeral was held in Gaza today, but also in ongoing clashes, two Palestinian teenagers killed today, one in Gaza, in the clash with Israeli troops there, one in the West Bank town of Janean (ph), and a middle-aged Palestinian man was -- died in Hebron overnight. That in somewhat mysterious circumstances, the Israelis say that he was part of the Fatah group and the militia group allied to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. The Palestinians say not at all linked to that, that in the region of Hebron.
And those deaths in the ongoing clashes, the somber backdrop to the uncertainty that is gripping the Israeli body politics. Mr. Barak, Israel's prime minister, pressing on with his attempts to include Ariel Sharon, the hawkish right-wing leader of the Likud Party, in his coalition, in what they say will be an emergency coalition, but it is proving something of a struggle.
Mr. Sharon, today, convening his party leadership down in Tel Aviv, indicated that he is holding out for a veto powers in such a government, that he would have the right to veto any new direction that Mr. Barak might want to take in either -- in handling the conflict, either on the battleground or at negotiating table. And so far, the Israeli prime minister is not willing to concede that.
And many in Mr. Sharon's Likud leadership believe that perhaps they should not go in all together, and that they have Mr. Barak up against the wall, and that when the Knesset, Israel's parliament, reconvenes next week, they will be able to topple Mr. Barak, and force him to a new election.
So, all in all, a difficult time for the Israeli prime minister. He is insisting it is an emergency time. There is the need for this emergency government. He desperately needs it to shore up his position as he commands only a third of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, and that is due to resume, to convene, after its summer recess next Monday, a deadline that is looming very much for the Israeli prime minister and the clashes show no sign of really abating -- Lou.
WATERS: Jerrold Kessel in Jerusalem.
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