JERUSALEM -- After three weeks of negotiations, Israel's leader put together a coalition government yesterday that backs his plan to pull out of parts of the West Bank and draw Israel's final borders by 2010.
Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced key Cabinet appointments, naming Tzipi Livni, a woman jurist and rising star in Israeli politics, as vice premier and foreign minister. Livni, 47, had served as acting foreign minister in recent months.
The appointment makes Livni, a protégé of former prime minister Ariel Sharon who spent four years working at the Mossad intelligence agency, the number two player in male-dominated Israeli politics.
Outgoing Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who only belatedly threw his support behind Olmert, was appointed transportation minister, a relatively minor portfolio.
In the West Bank town of Tulkarem, meanwhile, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian woman while trying to arrest an Islamic Jihad militant hiding in the woman's apartment building, the army said.
The soldiers fired at the house when they saw suspicious movement, killing Itaf Zalat, 41, and wounding her two daughters, the army said. The army apologized for the shooting and said it was investigating.
The woman's husband, Yousef, 48, said the shots came without warning.
''They shot at a home with people living in it, civilians," he said. ''We have done nothing. They didn't even knock on the door to tell me to get out. I would have gotten out."
In Israel, coalition talks ended late Sunday when Olmert informed President Moshe Katsav that he had formed a government that controls a majority in parliament.
Olmert's Kadima Party won a March election but did not win enough seats in the 120-member parliament to rule alone. The agreement signed with the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party late Sunday, along with support from the left-center Labor Party and from the Pensioners' Party, gives Olmert a 67-seat majority in parliament.
Labor and the Pensioners are expected to support Olmert's West Bank plan without hesitation. However, the hawkish Shas insisted that it not be forced to commit now to the program, which would require the dismantling of dozens of Jewish settlements. Olmert is not expected to launch the plan for 12 to 18 months.
If Shas were to back the pullout, the party could alienate its hard-line constituency, which opposes handing over parts of the West Bank to the Palestinians.
''The settlers will not forget that Shas turned its back on them at this difficult time, as Olmert's sword lies on the neck of the entire settlement enterprise," Yitzhak Levy, a lawmaker from the pro-settler National Religious Party, was quoted as saying in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.
But four lawmakers from the dovish Meretz Party, which so far has not joined Olmert's government, could support a West Bank withdrawal if Shas pulls out in coming months, as could 10 legislators from Israeli Arab parties.
Also yesterday, the rightist Yisrael Beitenu Party, led by Russian-born politician Avigdor Lieberman, announced it would not join the ruling coalition, Israeli media reported. Earlier, Lieberman had been expected to join, which raised eyebrows because of his proposal to conduct land swaps that would strip tens of thousands of Israeli Arabs of their Israeli citizenship.