January 6, 2006
Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is not likely to recover from a massive stroke that has left him in grave condition. His health problems have made Israel’s political future cloudy at best. Elections are scheduled for the end of March. Palestinian elections are set for the end of the month.
Sharon enjoyed popular support for giving up hard-won parcels of land, but he received nothing in return, except broken promises. With Gaza, he didn’t even ask for anything in return. The withdrawal was unilateral. Sharon told me he “hoped” Egypt would “take care” of Gaza and not allow smuggling of weapons. Egypt has done no such thing.
Much was made of how Sharon – a military man – reversed himself from his previous position of requiring the Palestinian side to stop terror before he would cede more territory. They didn’t and he did. The formula worked well for Israel’s enemies, but did not bring security, much less peace, to Israel. The next prime minister can continue Sharon’s policy of land for no peace, or he can reverse the process. Polls show most Israelis favored Sharon’s approach, but they are naïve and don’t fully understand evil and the threat that confronts them.