Wednesday, December 16, 1998 Published at 20:09 GMT
World: Middle East
Netanyahu threatens early poll
Violence has swept the West Bank in the last fortnight
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he will call early elections if he fails in a last ditch attempt to stablise his shaky coalition.
But the leader of the opposition Labour party, Ehud Barak, immediately ruled out giving support to Mr Netanyahu's government. Mr Barak said Israel was going to have early elections.
The latest manoeuvre on Wednesday comes ahead of a vote of no-confidence in parliament on Monday.
Hardliners are bitterly opposed to the peace accord in which Israel has agreed to hand over a further slice of the West Bank to Palestinian control.
Finance minister quits
Mr Neeman issued a statement with his resignation letter sharply criticising the government's inability to push his 1999 budget legislation through parliament during the past two months.
"In a situation where the coalition has ceased to function and every member of parliament takes the law into his own hands, anarchy rules public funds," Mr Neeman said.
"The only way to correct the situation is to have a large national consensus that will allow for a stable financial policy," he said.
National unity coalition
He appealed to Mr Netanyahu to form a national unity coalition with the opposition Labour Party.
Mr Neeman, who is on a skiing vacation in Switzerland, faxed his resignation letter to Jerusalem. Officials said he wanted to avoid coming under pressure from Mr Netanyahu to rescind his decision.
Peace process in trouble
The latest developments come just a day after US President Bill Clinton's departure from the region following a three day trip to salvage the beleaguered peace deal.
However, Mr Netanyahu has suspended Friday's scheduled pullback saying the Palestinians are not keeping to their side of the deal.
He is demanding a list of concessions from the Palestinians including renouncing any unilateral declaration of independence and rounding up suspected terrorists in the Palestinian terrorists.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Israel was dangerously violating the agreement, but the Palestinians say they are sticking to their Wye River commitments despite Israel's freeze.