Sharon moves on November 20, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
This piece in the Jerusalem Post strikes me as majorly significant, although the calm tone in which it is written makes me think this has come as no surprise to those in the know. I know Israeli politics are famously fractious, and I can’t think what Sharon adding another party to the fold will do for the political scene there, although judging by the early comments to the piece on the website, it doesn’t look as if he’ll be sorely missed by many Likud supporters (but suggesting, as one commenter does, that he has turned Israel “into a one man dictatorship in the Stalinist style” is pushing it a bit, surely? Israel doesn’t look like a country in the grip of a personality cult to me). Another commenter says this new centrist party will bring more political stability, but will a new party, even if founded by Sharon and with other heavyweights such as Ehud Olmert on side, instantly garner support? Time will tell, of course. Yet the splits on the Israeli right just go to show how contentious any moves towards trying to find a permanent settlement with the Palestinians are. But does Sharon’s move away from less compromising views on the right mean that the right’s day is passing? Perhaps time and politics have ground Sharon down into a position of a pragmatist who thinks that, regardless of conviction, facts on the ground don’t leave that many options. Netanyahu may still believe otherwise. Elections within 60 days will show us what other Israelis believe.