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Israel picks ex-army chief for defence

Jerusalem, Oct. 31 (Reuters): Former army chief Shaul Mofaz, known for tough tactics against the Palestinians and advocating Yasser Arafat’s expulsion, has agreed to be Israel’s new defence minister, an Israeli diplomatic source said today.

Arafat, the Palestinian President, responded that the appointment did not bode well for efforts to calm more than two years of West Asia violence.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon offered Mofaz the post after defence minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer tendered his resignation, along with the rest of the Labour Party, from the coalition government yesterday.

“Mofaz has accepted the post of defence minister,” the Israeli source said. Israeli media said the appointment must be approved by the government and then parliament.

Mofaz, army chief until July this year, employed tough tactics against the Palestinian uprising which erupted in September 2000.

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