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Israeli General Draws Fire for Meeting with Opposition

An Israeli general is under fire for meeting with members of the opposition.

The flurry was prompted by the newspaper Ma’ariv, which published photographs of Maj. Gen. Oren Shahor, the coordinator of activities in the territories, leaving the home of Labor leader and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

Ma’ariv said Shahor had also held recent meetings with Labor Knesset member Yossi Beilin.

The report comes amid recent charges by Likud officials that the top military brass has a pro-Labor bias in its orientation toward the peace process.

Under the Labor government, Shahor was closely involved in the peace negotiations with the Palestinians. After the change of power in the May elections, he remained so, most recently negotiating the agreement on civilian issues connected to a Hebron redeployment.

Coalition members protested the reported meetings.

“Is this how it is? Arafat meets Peres, Peres meets Shahor in the dead of night, and then Shahor goes and negotiates one of the most delicate issues which is tearing this nation apart?” said Agriculture Minister Rafael Eitan of the Tsomet Party.

Beilin rejected the criticism.

“Only in a fascist country could such a headline” get such play, he told Army Radio.

Shahor’s spokesman said the meetings were social. The spokesman said the general had personal contacts across the political spectrum.

Senior Israel Defense Force officials and other public figures, including some coalition members, came to Shahor’s defense.

Likud Knesset member Reuven Rivlin called for an end to what he termed “this witch hunt” against Shahor. He said it was customary for opposition members to be briefed by senior IDF officers and officials.

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