Israeli media reactions

05.28.04

A Ha’aretz editorial says Sharon’s leadership is over:

From a position of leadership, Sharon yesterday became a prisoner of his ministers, who undermined his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank.

The rebellion of four ministers – Benjamin Netanyahu, Limor Livnat, Silvan Shalom and Danny Naveh – who rejected even Sharon’s watered-down version of the plan left him lonely at the top. Sharon lacks political support for his preferred policy, and any attempt to present a mini-disengagement will lose him the support of the American administration. President George Bush offered extensive promises in advance to Sharon, who is now unable to fulfill his part of the bargain.

[ . . . ]

It seems that in order to take another step, it will be necessary to stake the whole pot and call elections.

Contrast this with the Jerusalem Post, which is calling for a unity government:

That the current political moment is of such magnitude goes without saying. The prospect of settlements being evacuated in general, and in the wake of a unilateral move in particular, makes the likelihood of civil strife high. This will be no time for Israel to be politically fractious. A government led by Ariel Sharon, Yosef (Tommy) Lapid and Shimon Peres will solidly represent the Israeli mainstream, and be difficult to delegitimize as it carries out tough policies.

[ . . . ]

With Labor alongside him not only will Sharon’s plan become easier to execute, it will also make Labor a partner in the unilateral vision, and thus passively concede that its peace-in-our-time rhetoric and policies of the 1990s have ended up in history’s dustbin.

So the rightist Jerusalem Post wants to avoid a far-right government by calling on the left-wing to join under Sharon’s leadership. And the leftist Ha’aretz wants to risk a far-right coalition government by calling for elections at a time when it knows Labor can’t win. Something seems backwards, no?

One thing both editorials have right is that disengagement from Gaza, while supported by a majority of Israelis in some form, won’t be an easy sell politically with such divided factions. In order to really accomplish change, some sort of uniting force will be necessary to bring together diverse political factions.

Meanwhile, Ariel Sharon is the cat with nine lives. He’s been branded as “finished in politics” countless times, and yet he always seems to survive. I don’t think that it’s so easy to dismiss him quite yet. He may appear to be fighting for his career now, but it wouldn’t be the first time.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 josh 05.30.04 at 2:02 PM

Be careful when assuming ‘supported by a majority of Israelis’. We saw what happened when the ‘majority’ of Likud members supported ‘retreat’. Once they were educated what this ‘retreat’ actually meant, they opposed it. I promise you that if everyone took the time to learn the truth about this ‘retreat’ plan, many more people would oppose it. It’s not an ‘easy sell politically’ because it is full of holes, and lies and the people aren’t stupid.
Haaretz continues to spew lies about American ‘promises’ from the last Sharon/Bush meeting. They depend on few people actually reading the transcripts about what was said there and so the myth about American promises continues.
If I might, I’d like to remind that Sharon betrayed the platform that he was elected on in general democratic elections. If anyone is holding anyone hostage, it is Sharon who adopted, word-for-word, the Mitzna plan that he himself blasted and ridiculed, and not Likud ministers who are representing their con

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