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Former prime minister Ehud Barak has said he is firmly against the Labor Party joining the Sharon government. He has also said the moment of decision if and when he will return to politics is very close.

In discussions with Labor MKs and key party activists, Barak has said Labor looks like it is "crawling" into the government, instead of presenting a clear alternative to the prime minister's policies.

Barak says Labor should help Sharon make the disengagement happen, but at the same time, it must try to bring him down and change the government, as he did as head of the opposition in the fall of 1998 after then-premier Benjamin Netanyahu returned from the Wye River Plantation summit.

According to Barak, if Labor wants to join the government, it should do so for a limited period of time - three months - and not insist on getting ministerial portfolios.

The people who have been meeting with Barak reckon the former premier's decision about returning to politics will become apparent after the upcoming holidays.