Shamir Fires Weizman over PLO Contact

December 30, 1990

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir dismissed Science Minister Ezer Weizman (see: from the Israeli Cabinet.  Weizman was fired because of his contact with the PLO.  Shamir’s move threatened to destabilize Israel’s government coalition because the Labor party stood behind their Weizman and questioned the legality of his dismissal. Announcing his decision at a weekly Cabinet meeting, Shamir accused Weizman of meeting with a senior member of the PLO in Europe in 1989.  Shamir also accused him of corresponding with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat through an intermediary.

Shimon Peres (see:, then Minister of Finance and leader of the Labor Party, stated

Although the Prime Minister legally can fire any Cabinet Minister, the coalition agreement between the Labor and Likud parties stated that the Prime Minster could not tamper with Labor Cabinet appointments.

Shamir responded by stating that he understood the agreement, but the law empowering the Prime Minister to fire any minister superseded the coalition agreement.

Weizman had been an outward opponent of Shamir’s tortuously slow method of orchestrating a peace deal with the Palestinians. Though Weizman refused to give details about the meetings and communications, Israeli Army radio reported that he had met with PLO veteran Nabil Ramlawi in Geneva. This meeting was said to have been mediated by Egyptian officials whom Weizman had met while participating in the 1978 Camp David Negotiations.

Photo Credit: In the photo, Ezer Weizman addresses the Knesset in November 1990.