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End of Sharon’s era

Posted By Al-Hack On 5th January, 2006 @ 11:08 am In The World | Comments Disabled

Whether Ariel Sharon survives the [1] massive stroke he had today or not, most observers reckon it is all over for him because he won’t come back fully fit.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing for Israeli-Palestine peace? I haven’t quite made my mind up about that, so maybe our readers would like to share their crazy opinions? Don’t be getting nasty now though… let’s keep this civilised folks.

Comments Disabled To "End of Sharon’s era"

#1 Comment By Siddharth On 5th January, 2006 @ 11:26 am

Obituarists, on your marks…get set….

#2 Comment By Dynesh On 5th January, 2006 @ 11:45 am

Put it this way - Sharon, for all his bad points, atleast seems to understand and accept the reality of the Palestinian state and he also knows that that state will exist in the future and that Israel has to coexist right alongside it. Now his actions were unilateral and not in keeping with the roadmap, but frankly that roadmap was dead and buried a long time back. His pulling out of Gaza shows his acceptance of ground realities - he may have done it with gritted teeth, but atleast he did it. Now considering that he was prepared to make more concessions, it wouldnt be too far fetched to say that the peace process needs him. Truth be told, he needs the peace process too - His mellowing has won him more support than the traditional far right base which used to hold him in such high esteem. I suppose his swing from right to centrist is pretty spectacular - possibly his change of heart could only be topped if Nick Griffin decided to accept multiculturalism…

#3 Comment By El Cid On 5th January, 2006 @ 11:54 am

Although he was a complete berk (that’s short for Berkeley Hunt, which rhymes with..), he was at the forefront of a fundamental and, seemingly, progressive shift in Israeli politics.
Indeed, he had so aptly positioned himself that he utterly dominated Israeli politics and was in a position to carry the country. So net net I would say it’s a negative because he will leave a political vacuum and create fresh uncertainty.
Conflict resolution is a tricky business. It helps to have strong and credible leaderships on both sides.
Still, that’s not to say that a fresh and strong leadership won’t emerge in Israel. Hopefully, one will emerge on the Palestinian side too.
Over to you bananaman

#4 Comment By Rohin On 5th January, 2006 @ 12:17 pm

I agree with you two. I had high hopes for Sharon’s recent mellowing and seemingly genuine attempts to ameliorate the situation. In him, I saw a man who I think realised his life was coming to an end, he knew his health was failing (and he has been proven right) and wanted to leave his mark on the world. Often people do noble things in their final years, whether it be out of atonement for their earlier life, wanting to leave a legacy or just the worry they’ll need something good to say at the Pearly Gates.

I’m somewhat concerned Netenyahu may win - I don’t think that would be a good thing.

#5 Comment By Paul Brown On 5th January, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

Don’t forget that he is responsible for the deaths of 1000 innocent people at Shabra/Shatila. Hopefully this will clear the way for a government led by Amir Peretz.

#6 Comment By Steve M On 5th January, 2006 @ 1:21 pm

I agree with Rohin about Netenyahu. The emergence of a new Israeli centre party which would marginalize Likud and the religious right was a hopeful prospect. Without Sharon this new party may be stillborn.

Sharon is a realist who favours the two state solution but the majority of Israelis also think this way.

Sharon’s wall/barrier has come in for criticism but at least the bombings have decreased and also the retaliations. This has created a climate where dialogue and negotiation is easier. We are left mainly with missile strikes on Israel and targetted assassinations of Hamas officials by Israel. Of course, at any time, the wall can be disassembled or re-routed.

The unilateral approach of withdrawing from Gaza and presumably in the future some of the West Bank is a good one. At worst the Palestinians can accept any concessions given and then negotiate for more. Sharon is a ’strong man’ of the right who could push these measures through but now that the principal has been established, there may be others who can do this too.

Overall, I feel that Sharon has been capable of taking radical steps which have shaken up a situation that often seemed impossible and revealed glimpses of light. I’m very concerned about Sharon’s illness but continue to hope for peace. Israel and the Palestinians both need strong leaders but leaders who long for an end to the conflict.

#7 Comment By Paul Brown On 5th January, 2006 @ 1:34 pm

It makes Israeli politics more interesting and exciting. The Israelis now have the chance to decide on a pretty stark choice, no more of the crowded centre ground. They either elect an extremely right-wing expansionist who will form a govermnent with the National Religious Party and other fundamentalists, or they choose a re-radicalised Labour government that regards the occupation as a crime and will dismantle some of the settlements. Hopefully Peretz can convince the Israeli working-class that he can reinvigorate the stagnant economy. He already has the middle-class on his side.

#8 Comment By Dynesh On 5th January, 2006 @ 1:49 pm

The new labour leader, Peretz, does he really view the occupation as illegal? If so, that would have to be a first among Israeli politicians no? Also, he does have a point about the economy. For too long, Israeli politics has centred around Palestine, with the constant threat of terrorism always hogging the limelight. I think Peretz’s statement is an indicator that most Israelis have accepted the reality of Palestine and that they dont want issues like the economy or welfare to be brushed under the carpet in the name of having a debate about terrorism and only terrorism.

#9 Comment By Paul Brown On 5th January, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

Dynesh, I don’t think that makes him a first. I think the position of the party Meretz is that the occupation is illegal, and remember that the Israeli Communist party didn’t even believe that Israel had the right to exist as a nation state.

#10 Comment By Steve M On 5th January, 2006 @ 2:17 pm

I don’t think one could describe Israel’s economy as stagnant - interesting piece here if you’re interested:

However, the country has enormous financial burdens placed on it by its military spending and everyone knows that they would be far better off if that was reduced.

#11 Comment By raz On 5th January, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

Bloody hell, at this rate the whole of PP will be posted by ‘Bikhair’ and her associated variants!

#12 Comment By shaku On 5th January, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

Paul Brown wrote:
“Don’t forget that he is responsible for the deaths of 1000 innocent people at Shabra/Shatila. ”

Your number of 1,000 is thought to be exaggerated by most people who study middle eastern events (save those who have a strong pro-palestinian bent). The real number was in the hundreds. Not that the lower number makes it OK. I hope you don’t feel I have personally attacked you, Paul. I’m sure you will be able to find some source that backs up your number. You and I will agree to disagree, perhaps.

BTW, I’ve lurked for a few months (and will return to lurking in all likelihood), but I’d like to say how informative this white lapsed catholic has found this site and the various commentors. Although I still retain a strong pro-Israel stance (which doesn’t mean I disagree with any of you on the ham-handedness of many of Israel’s policies), I have had my eyes opened to the logically thought through positions many of the Muslim commentors have made re: the confilct. My other exposure to the “Muslim or Palestinian” side of things have come rabid Jew haters who simply don’t recognize the right of Jews to exist in the Middle East except as Dhimmis (honest, here in Canada, the 2 Muslim’s I have spoken to on this subject expressed a desire to see any trace of Israel wiped off the map).

Anyway, thank you for the intelligent dialogue you encourage here. Even from Bikair whose ramblings further cement my unhealthy negative prejudices of all Muslims as being dangerous fanatics .

#13 Comment By shaku On 5th January, 2006 @ 4:47 pm

My last paragraph was supposed to include the words: “big time kidding here”.

#14 Comment By Steve M On 5th January, 2006 @ 6:36 pm

I wonder of we can expect a whole raft of ‘Palestinian poison caused Sharon stroke’ rumours.

#15 Comment By Siddhartha On 5th January, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

Steve M:

Likewise, I wonder if there will be a raft of the disgusting and despicable personal attacks will accompany Sharon’s death, celebrating his death and willing him to hell, that was the case with Arafat’s death.

#16 Comment By Rohin On 5th January, 2006 @ 7:24 pm

Sid, it goes both ways. Jews wished him to hell, but Muslims mourned the passing of a saint. Neither were appropriate. If Sharon dies with neither fanfare nor attacks, that will be the most fitting eulogy.

#17 Comment By Siddhartha On 5th January, 2006 @ 7:33 pm

I very much doubt Muslims or to be more specific, Arabs, universally considered Arafat a saint. However, I was shocked and disgusted with the degree of visceral hostility and and that marked his death.
Also I don’t think it is possible for a Head of State with Sharon’s record to die without fanfare or attacks. I just hope he is spared the venom of the type that marked Arafat’s.

#18 Comment By Rohin On 5th January, 2006 @ 7:40 pm

Agreed. (Almost) everyone deserves respect in death, I think. Certainly both men mentioned.

#19 Comment By Bikhair On 5th January, 2006 @ 8:12 pm

Bikhair #2,

Regarding your post -#6, this is really getting old. Stop using my name and get a life. The forum leaders will delete you post so why bother. If you truly want to be heard, establish your own identity and continue to contribute to Pickled Politics.

#20 Comment By Steve M On 5th January, 2006 @ 8:13 pm

Yes, my last post was posted in haste. Sorry.

The battle between terrorism and democracy seems both fascinating and frightening to me - and I don’t mean to imply that Palestinians are all terrorists or anything so crass.

If Sharon’s new Kadima party dies, Israeli politics will quite likely polarize between a Likud further to the right and a Labour to the left. Palestinian groups could then have quite an influence on which way the Israelis swing. A few suicide bombers could significantly effect Israeli voting patterns. I wonder what the bombers will want and whether the Israelis will be able to continue their recent path to the centre.

#21 Comment By Steve M On 5th January, 2006 @ 8:15 pm

Yes, my last post was posted in haste. Sorry.

(referring to the death of Arafat)

#22 Comment By jamal On 5th January, 2006 @ 8:15 pm

I think the situation now regarding palestine-isreali conflict is neither good nor bad.

Some say “better the devil you know”. Sharon was called a butcher, bulldozer, terrosit, etc.. due to his activities. On the other hand, he pulled out of Gaza, but then pursued expansion into other areas while he was meant to be observing the ceasefire.

Interestingly, the clot was not discovered during his recent hospitalisation. What is even more interesting is that this incident occured just 1 day after Sharon was publically implicated in a bribery scandal! Far be it from me to stand in the way of a good conspiracy theory….

“A live Sharon will have to face prosecution for the Kern-Schlaff bribes, even in Israel’s thoroughly corrupt legal system. A dead Sharon will not have to face prosecution. And that would be just fine for the creme de la creme of the country’s political leadership.”

#23 Comment By Dynesh On 5th January, 2006 @ 8:25 pm

A dead Sharon might also be good for Bibi (Netanyahu)…all you conspiracy theorists, dont forget him!

#24 Comment By bananabrain On 6th January, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

personally, i was appalled when sharon became prime minister. he always represented for me the worst aspects of the israeli right; arrogant and self-righteous, determined to get away with whatever he could, cynical in his tactics and utterly insensitive to the sentiments of the world and the diaspora. a PoV i’ve always heard a lot in israel is “why the hell should we care what the goyim think? all those mealy-mouthed europeans didn’t lift a finger to stop us being sent to the gas chambers, why should we pay attention to them? the arabs want us dead and if we don’t protect ourselves we’ll all be murdered.” “fat arik” always seemed to me a prime example of this get-what-you-can, facts-on-the-ground, secure-the-hilltops siege mentality, which i’ve never agreed with. there is such a thing as doing the right thing because it’s the right thing and that is a jewish value, even enshrined in the israeli declaration of independence. sharon was widely - and rightly - censured for his lack of action over sabra and chatila and spent 10 years in the wilderness as a result.

however, i am an optimist and a pragmatist. despite my disappointment with the achievements of peres, barak et al., sharon actually surprised me (and a lot of us) in spite of ourselves, breaking the deadlock that the ghastly bibi had got the “peace process” into and, in the teeth of incitement, sedition and unbelievable political pressure, getting the disengagement through and creating a new middle ground. it is my hope that the kadima party will prosper after he is gone, as polling for haaretz fortunately seems to indicate (see [2] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/666984.html). there is little alternative. netanyahu is a fool and a liar (although has been an effective finance minister, it’s a good job for a bastard) and the one time i heard him speak (some imbecile let him on the platform at the trafalgar square solidarity rally) it chilled me to the marrow. he is in the pocket of the extremists and the settler lobby and has no backbone of his own - all he does is spout clichés to avoid change. peretz is basically a new boy - it has yet to be seen whether he is anything more than a moustache; although it is encouraging that a moroccan has managed to reach the head of the notoriously euro-chauvinist labour party. he doesn’t have the security credentials that are normally needed in israel for people to trust you - that was what worked for begin, rabin and sharon. on the other hand, the idea that you need to be a general to make it in israeli politics is long due for an overhaul (shaul mofaz take note).

if only arafat had been able to rise to the occasion as sharon did. my friend rania always says “he was a bastard, but he was our bastard”. well, sharon was our bastard, but finally he saw that what he wanted couldn’t be achieved by the settlement enterprise. as someone who knew him writes today, it wasn’t that he didn’t like arabs - he just didn’t believe them. the question has, for some time, been whether the PA can establish its authority and the rule of law rather than allowing its agenda to be dictated by the turf wars of militant thugs and the antics of self-obsessed middle-class do-gooders (see [3] http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CAEF8.htm ) the same can be said for the behaviour of sharon’s sons, although they are unlikely to be influential in the future - at least one of them will probably go to prison for his part in the scandal, but that’s really a side issue.

on a personal note, my father-in-law had a stroke this summer and has still not recovered; so i can say i really don’t think arik will ever be back to front-line politics, even if he survives. i astonished myself over the last few days by remembering the “old bulldozer” in my prayers - but he has at least deserved that merit by redeeming himself to some extent in his old age.



#25 Comment By Steve M On 6th January, 2006 @ 3:50 pm

Nice piece, bananabrain.

#26 Comment By Percy On 7th January, 2006 @ 4:32 pm

I’ve been out of the loop the past few weeks, so I was pleasantly surprised when a co-worker gave me the wonderful news this morning.

“Did you hear?” she asked. “Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke! They don’t think he’s going to make it.”

I eased back into my chair, put my Birkenstocks up onto my desk, and grinned with delight.

At last, the murderous Grand Poobah of the International Zionist PNAC Neo-Con Cabal that put Bush into office was getting his just desserts. The puppet master pulling the strings of every right-wing spook group from Skull & Bones on down to the Cub Scouts; who plowed over little girls with bulldozers, fired guided missiles at helpless old men in wheelchairs, and made Cindy Sheehan cry, was mere hours from his final reward. And I couldn’t be happier.

Ariel Sharon has been an obstacle to Middle East peace ever since President Bill Clinton mapped out exactly how it could be achieved. With Nobel Laureate Yassir Arafat representing the indigenous Palestinian peoples, Sharon was given a rare opportunity to find common ground with the PLO and reach some sort of compromise. Instead, he embarked on a brutal campaign of self-defense and pre-emptive attacks against every innocent civilian in a C4 tuxedo. Rather than opening his heart, buses, delis, and discos to peace-loving Palestinians, he built walls between Israel and her neighbors both figuratively and literally. Even his half-assed withdrawal from the Gaza Strip came only near the end of his barbaric reign, and with the unrealistic insistence on a Jewish right to live and breath air.

Yassir Arafat went to his grave never realizing his dream of a Palestine free of violence, bloodshed, and Jews. Now Ariel Sharon is tasting the bitter fruits of his violent, warmongering past. Karma, it seems, has finally caught up with the evil bastard.

“It’s about time,” I told my worker with a chuckle. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s finally getting what’s been coming to him for years, and I’m sure there’s a nice, toasty spot in Hell reserved especially for him.”

“Funny,” she replied. “That’s pretty much the same thing Pat Robertson said.”

“WHAT?” I sprang from my chair and threw my hand-crocheted hemp rasta hat down with rage. “THAT CRUEL, FUNDAMENTALIST MONSTER! Doesn’t he have any compassion for a poor, dying man who took such courageous steps to bring peace to the Middle East?”

It just goes to show how consumed by hatred the evangelical zealots of the American Taliban are.

#27 Comment By El Cid On 7th January, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

Very funny Percy, but you’re wrong about the European left.
We’re a broad umbrella and an intellectually honest bunch.

#28 Comment By Steve M On 8th January, 2006 @ 12:30 pm

Now, that is funny, El Cid

#29 Comment By El Cid On 8th January, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

OK, we’re more intellectually honest than some people would like to think. Is that better?

#30 Comment By Percy On 8th January, 2006 @ 7:00 pm

Sharon was just one more in a long line of modern joo-boy hucksters, starting with Begin who absolutely conned Anwar “I Love a Parade” Sadat.

Fast forward to the Oslo Accords where the world finally learned and recognized that the true peace maker was Arafat, a remarkable progressive who disproved the notion that Islam cannot and will not tolerate alternate lifestyles.

Finally, Barak offered in 2000 to give the Palestinians the entire state of Israel and to murder every first born male joo. The Palestinians once and for all proved Islamic intellectual/moral supremacy by rejecting the Barak offer and beginning the next Intifada.

The problem is obvious… and so is the solution. Saint Rachel proved that.

Did I say joo boy huckster? I meant Zionist huckster.

#31 Comment By Falconio On 17th February, 2006 @ 5:16 pm

The Rabbi said this one year ago
How could he have known? …He will sleep and not awake..

Shas leader: Sharon is evil, will be struck and die
By: Haaretz
Published: March 9, 2005

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Tuesday called Prime Minister Ariel Sharon “evil” due to his disengagement plan, and said “God will strike him with one blow and he will die, he will sleep and not awake.”

In a pre-Purim sermon in a Jerusalem synagogue, the rabbi expressed fierce opposition to Sharon and the disengagment plan, adding, “What a cruel and evil man does such things.”

Sources from the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party said Wednesday that the rabbi does not wish Sharon’s death, but rather that the disengagement plan die.

Rabbi Yosef: PM is evil, ‘will be struck and die’ - (Haaretz) 03.9.2005

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URLs in this post:
[1] massive stroke: http://today.reuters.com/news/NewsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2006-01-05T080418Z_01_KWA

[2] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/666984.html: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/666984.html
[3] http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CAEF8.htm: http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CAEF8.htm