Wednesday, March 7, 2001

After the Knesset approves his 7-party coalition, Sharon is sworn in as PM of Israel. The Knesset also passes a preliminary budget for 2001, a measure switching back to the 1-ballot voting system. The 7 parties in the unity government are Labor, Likud, One Nation, Shas, National Union Party, Yisrael Ba'Aliya, Yisrael Beitainu. Sharon's cabinet is the largest in Israeli history. (HA, JP [Internet], MM 3/7; MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/8; MM 3/9; MA, SA 3/9 in WNC 3/13; WT 3/10; WP 4/1)

Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue. Israel seals the West Bank, Gaza. Hrs. after Sharon's swearing in, the IDF digs a trench, erects an earthen barrier on the Birzeit-Ramallah road, completely encircling Ramallah. Electricity, water lines to Birzeit University are cut. The IDF also tightens the closures on Bayt Lid, Bethlehem, al-Kifriyat, Nablus, Ramin, Safarin, Shufa, Tulkarm, Zayta; directs shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Rafah, Shaykh Ajlin; conducts arrest sweeps in Burqa. Jewish settlers establish a new settlement enclave on confiscated Palestinian land nr. Nablus. (HA, HP, LAW 3/7; HA 3/8; WP, al-Quds 3/12; JT 3/13 in WNC 3/14; HA 3/15; al-Quds 3/16 in WNC 3/20; MEI 3/23; Middle East Report 3/28; HJ 4/10 in WNC 4/18)