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The Case for Sharon

Reader comment on item: [After Sharon:] Israeli Politics Will Revert to Its Past

Submitted by J.S. (Canada), Jan 6, 2006 at 15:19

I have been reading a number of editorial commentaries about the end of the political era of Ariel Sharon.

Many of these commentaries ("A hawk leaves legacy of peace" to "A hawk, then a dove" etc) convey the belief that Ariel Sharon had suddenly morphed or turned into a "dove." I do not believe this is the case (it misrepresents reality).

As others have pointed out, Sharon became a proponent of disengagement with the Palestinians. Disengagement is NOT the same as becoming a peace-nik of the Peace Now variety.

I would argue that individuals such as Shimon Peres (and those like him -- Friedman of the NY Times, etc) are nothing more than sucidial masochists who would stop at nothing to appease Arabs. Basically, they're living in Cloud Cookoo Land (these are the escapist fantasy-lovers.)

Let's do a brief re-cap here. The Arab wars with Israel have been continous and on-going ("violence" was occurring even prior to the creation of the State of Israel). Whenever Israel elected a "dove" to power, the Arabs were sure to launch terrorist attacks to scuttle any negotiations and to bring in so-called Israeli "hard-liners." But were the "hard-liners" any different from the doves?

Sure, Netanyahu could talk tough; lots of strident rhetoric about how much a terrorist Arafat was, but the next thing you knew, Netanyahu would be shaking hands with Arafat and making concessions (he had little choice but succumb to American pressure to appease terrorists.) Thus, it did not matter who assumed power -- prior to Ariel Sharon, the only difference in stance between the "doves" and the "hawks" was rhetoric. How many times did Barak (after an Arab terrorist attack) have to bomb empty buildings to make his point, "I'm really, really mad right now..." and then be condemned world-wide for the use of "excessive force" ?

For the past 60 years or so Israel has constantly been put into a reactive, defensive mode. In Game Theory, this would be the equivalent of constantly getting the black pieces in a game of chess. The Arabs held the white pieces and had a strategic advantage baecause they could move first.

In 2003, the same thing occurred yet again -- this time it came in the form of the Road Map -- delivered by one of Israel's so-called "friends" -- the United States. And once again, Israel was grilled -- the thumb-screws applied -- required by that tripartite coterie of antisemites (the EU, UN, Russia -- each one of them a traditional and long-standing enemy of Israel) to make concessions (even inthe face of an unprecedented terrorist onslaught) to Arabs.

What was Ariel Sharon's response? he presented Washington with 14 reservations. He said he'd only accept the Road Map if the reservations were heeded. What was Washington's response? They took Sharon's reservations and threw them into the trash heap. Then Washington began to apply pressure on Israel including withholding monies, etc. (no pressure on Arabs to stop their muderous ways, just pressure on Israel.)

Then Ariel Sharon went off, secluded himself, and thought about Israel's future in terms of security. He came back and announced his disenagement plan (stunning virtually everyone). But what the disengagement plan did was (metaphorically speaking) swing the chess board around so that Israel (at last and for once) held the white pieces with Arabs on the defensive! (in many ways, this was a brilliant move).

One commentator has written: "The fundamental flaw in all Mr. Sharon's peacemaking activities was that he seemingly had no desire to discuss or share his objectives with the Palestinians." I would argue that this unilateralism was Sharon's fundamental brilliance, and the opposite of a "flaw."

But the great tragedy -- the real tragedy -- is that, as Daniel Pipes suggests -- Sharon's vision can only be carried out by Sharon (I don't hold out much hope for Kadima .. whoever ultimately leads the party will fall back into the old dichotomy of "dove" versus "hawk" and in my opinion, this is not good.)

Finally, Alan Dershowitz in an interview on CBC television yesterday stated that he was scheduled to meet in two weeks time with Ariel Sharon in Herzliya, Israel to discuss strategies. Presumably, the Kadima party platform would have been outlined (there's been the speculation that the Palestinians would eventually have been given an ultimatum -- to either negotiate for real with Israel or face the reality that Israel would (on its own and unilaterally) mark out its territory.

Tragically, this meeting will now not take place.

Let us all pray for Ariel Sharon's recovery and for his family...
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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