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Israel's Cabinet Pledges to Follow Sharon's Wishes

  • Jim Teeple

Doctors treating Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon say a new brain scan was performed on Mr. Sharon Sunday. In its first meeting since Mr. Sharon's stroke last Wednesday, Israel's Cabinet said it would strive to carry out Mr. Sharon's wishes.

Doctors treating Ariel Sharon say the brain scan could determine whether or not they will begin to revive him from a medically induced coma to assess the damage caused by the massive stroke and cerebral hemorrhage he suffered last Wednesday.

On Saturday doctors said a CAT scan given to Mr. Sharon indicated slight improvement regarding swelling on the prime minister's brain. They also said the left side of Mr. Sharon's brain looked better than the right side, which they said was encouraging, because the left side of a person's brain controls the ability to speak.

Mr. Sharon's doctors say however the slight improvement in his condition does not change the fact that Israel's prime minister remains gravely ill and is unlikely to return to his professional duties - if he survives his present medical emergency.

Mr. Sharon's condition continues to dominate life in Israel.

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet colleagues that if Mr. Sharon could talk he would ask them to continue working without interruption on Israel's pressing security, social and economic issues.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom of the conservative Likud Party said Israeli politicians are aware of the need for stability at this time.

"I think we need to do everything we can in order to stabilize the situation," he said. "I have said as deputy prime minister on behalf of all the Likud Party ministers that that we will give all the support that is needed to Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in order to stabilize the situation and in order to help him manage. The people of Israel are asking us right now they would like to see us united."

There is growing speculation in Israel about whether Mr. Sharon's newly formed Kadima Party will survive his exit from politics. Israelis go to the polls on March 28 and while surveys show many Israelis would vote for Kadima the party has yet to be tested in an election, leading to speculation that several leading Israeli politicians who left either the Labor or Likud Party to join Kadima might return to their old parties.

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