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Israeli general steps down as coordinator of territories

JERUSALEM, Dec. 29 (JTA) — Israel’s coordinator of activities in the territories has announced his resignation. Maj. Gen. Oren Shahor leaves the army after 32 years of service. Shahor’s resignation was expected after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspended him last month as head of the Israeli team negotiating civilian issues with the Palestinians. Netanyahu’s action came in the wake of an Israeli newspaper report on meetings between Shahor and Labor Party officials. While Shahor maintained at the time that the meetings were of a personal nature, government officials said it was unacceptable for them to take place without their knowledge. At a news conference this week, Shahor said he had “made a mistake” in not seeking permission from the defense minister and prime minister to hold the meetings. “I now realize that had I asked for the permission to have the meetings, I would have received it,” Shahor said in reference to three meetings he held, one with opposition leader and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and two with Labor Knesset member Yossi Beilin. But Shahor maintained that contacts with representatives from across the political spectrum were within the realm of his role as a peace negotiator.

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