Mon, Jul 12, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Sharon relieves minister who tried to frame opponent


Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon fired Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky yesterday morning, four days after a tape was broadcast showing the minister plotting to frame a party colleague.

Israeli media said Sharon summoned Paritzky, from the center-right Shinui Party, to the Prime Minister's Office before the start of the weekly cabinet meeting and presented him with his letter of dismissal.

The dismissal, which under Israeli law takes effect in 48 hours, came at the request of Shinui leader, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid.

Paritzky's sacking was widely expected after Israel Television on Wednesday night broadcast a videotape from two-and-a-half years ago which showed him instructing a private investigator to find incriminating material on party colleague Avraham Poraz.

The Knesset caucus, which met Thursday morning, called on Paritzky to resign from the cabinet, from parliament and from the party.

Paritzky responded to their call by saying he wanted a few days to think things through, and accused his party colleagues of conducting a "lynch" against him.

Sources close to Partizky were quoted on Israel Army Radio yesterday morning as saying the minister would not hurry to quit the Knesset.

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