JERUSALEM (Dec. 28)
Defense Minister Ezer Weizman is unhappy with the Cabinet’s slow movement toward renewing the peace talks with Egypt and is seriously concerned that the chances of peace are slipping away while hardline ministers stonewall against any compromise, sources close to the Defense Minister have indicated.
Weizman, who with Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan headed the Israeli negotiating team at the Blair House talks in Washington last month, believes that the peace talks have been bogged down needlessly in a morass of legalisms, the sources said. As a consequence, he has resolved to devote his time exclusively to defense matters.
Yediot Achronot reported today that Weizman stormed out of a meeting this week with Premier Meacham Begin and Minister of Agriculture Ariel Sharon, the most outspoken Cabinet lack. “I can’t sit with that man any more, “Weizman was quoted as saying with reference to Sharon. Eventually Begin calmed him, the newspaper said.
That was not the first time, however, that Weizman lost his temper with Cabinet colleagues who he thought were dragging their feet on peace issues. He is known to have stalked out of a least one Cabinet meeting in the past two months and was furious when, during Begin’s absence in Canada last month, the Cabinet refused to approve elements of the draft peace treaty he and Dayan had worked out with the Egyptians in Washington.
Weizman reportedly rests his hopes on the expectation that Dayan will eventually take a firm stand against delaying tactics by Cabinet ministers. Dayan is trying to steer the Cabinet toward a decision that will make the resumption of talks possible. He has spoken of the need for compromises by both Israel and Egypt on the key issues in dispute. This drew the wroth of some of his colleagues at the special Cabinet session Tuesday. A decision is expected when the Cabinet convenes this Sunday for its regular weekly meeting.