Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon has suffered a "significant" stroke. I had recently thought he was becoming a major calming presence in Israel. I did give him third on the list of people of 2005. If he is unable to govern (and I think this is very likely) it may signal a step backwards in the path to peace. It seems that Sharon illness is uniting much of the left and the right Little Green Footballs are offering there prayers While Written for the Revolution Had this to say.
When Sharon quit Likud to form a center left coalition committed to pullout and peace, I was very happy. I actually was. Sharon, a war criminal, who was responsible for all sorts of things while he served in the military, was also the head of the hardlined, right wing nationalist Likud Party. He has been seen as one of the road blocks to the resolution of the Palestinian problem for years now. But then, one morning, he quit Likud. I seriously felt like crying. At last, someone seemed committed to change over there. Even someone like Ariel Sharon. The new party he formed was center left, and included the socialists in Israel. He declared that he was committed to peace there in Israel, and demonstrated the commitment by quitting the Party that opposed it. All the talking and even the troubled withdrawal from Gaza earlier in this year were not enough to convince me of a commitment, but this action, what could be seen almost as political suicide, (except for the fact that most of the people of Israel support peace), was enough to convince me, and finally I saw that perhaps this would really move ahead. Not quite ready to see Sharon as a good person, but at least I was ready to see him as one who supported peace, and I was certainly willing to believe that he indeed had discovered that he may have supported the wrong policies and was at least trying to turn over a new leaf.
The fortunes of his new party may well indeed suffer now. Which is a shame. However maybe people will rally around his memory and vote to keep peace on track. His current replacement Ehud Olmert will probably try to maintain Sharons wishes how ever Binyamin Netanyahu may try to use this to his advantage.

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