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November 07, 2002

Netanyahu Goes on Offensive in Bid Against Sharon

Back to the drawing board.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - New Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the offensive in his bid to become prime minister, said in an interview published Thursday that Ariel Sharon's leadership had left Israel in "dire straits."

Netanyahu, a hawkish former prime minister, became Sharon's subordinate Wednesday when he took up the foreign ministry post, ending three years in the political wilderness.

But his plans to challenge Sharon for the leadership of their right-wing Likud party and reclaim the prime minister's office in Israel's coming election heralded weeks of sniping between the two men and paralysis in Middle East peacemaking.

"I am running (for the Likud leadership) because the country is in dire straits and we have to get it out," Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post.

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