Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Photo: AFP
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Photo: AFP
U.S. press: Sharon key to peace
New York Times and Washington Post editorials predict uncertain future for Israel and the Middle East peace process if Sharon is in fact debilitated
WASHINGTON - "When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced two months ago that he was leaving the right-wing Likud Party, which he had embodied for three decades, one thing seemed certain: his new centrist party, Kadima, would be far more about one man - himself - than any one idea," the New York Times editorial read Friday.


Entitled ‘Life after Ariel Sharon’, the Times’ editorial on Friday predicted that the prime minister will most likely be incapacitated and will not be able to resume office, leaving the Israeli public three clear political options: “Mr. Sharon's old Likud Party, now headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, represents the same old Likud way: inflaming Palestinian tensions through war and continuing settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank.”


The second option is the Labor party, which according to the Times is problematic because of the failure of the Oslo accords and the failure of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to implement law and order and prove himself as a worthy peace partner.


The third way is Sharon’s way, which is based on the building of the security fence as a first step towards a unilateral solution to the
conflict with the Palestinians. “Mr. Sharon looked at the demographics of his country and came to the conclusion that the only way to keep Israel a Jewish state was to detach it physically, wherever possible, from the Palestinians. Toward that end, he faced down the relatively small number of Israeli settlers in Gaza and carried out the country's first unilateral withdrawal from land that Palestinians claimed for their future state,” continued the New York Times.


The Washington Post’s Friday’s editorial was also dedicated to Sharon’s serious health condition. The Post argued that Sharon’s incapability to run in the general elections will stall the peace process which he had promised to push for when he abandoned Likud and formed Kadima.


“In forming a new, centrist political party for the elections in March, Mr. Sharon had declared that his aim in a third term as prime minister would be setting Israel's final borders,” read the Post’s editorial.


The Post relates Sharon’s popularity among Israelis to the simple fact that “most Israelis, like Mr. Sharon himself, came to accept in recent years that withdrawal from most of the occupied territories, with or without a peace agreement, is necessary if Israel is to remain both a democracy and a Jewish state … Yet many Israelis believed that the huge man sometimes called ‘the bulldozer’ would find a way to lead them to peace, or at least to a more secure place in the Middle East. Now once again Israel's future is up for grabs.”


פרסום ראשון: 01.07.06, 13:04
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