Charley Reese on Ariel Sharon

Charley Reese has written a fair but biting eulogy of Ariel Sharon. (See here)

Some might condemn him for kicking the man (Sharon) when he is no longer able to defend himself, however Charley kept himself busy kicking Sharon while he (Sharon) was at his peak of power.

Would Sharon have led Israel towards negotiations with the Palestinians if he had not been sidelined by his tragic turn of health? I guess we will never know. Charley's appraisal of how things would have turned out might be accurate. However there was at least a chance that Ariel Sharon would have surprised us once again.

Was there not at least a chance that Sharon could have become a man of peace? If there was not the chance then tell me Charley, just why did Ariel divorce himself from most of the right wing extremists in the Likud by founding Kadima? If the Gaza disengagement was all for show and part of a grand scheme like you put forth then why did he need to distance himself from the right wing? Why did Shimon Peres throw in with him?

I guess we will never all agree on just where Ariel Sharon would have led Israel (and the rest of us) as we caught a ride on his version of the "peace process". Already the right wing is starting to quote from what Ariel said decades ago while they try and steal his thunder. They (the right wing) say that "While Ariel might have did this (such as Gaza disengagement), he never would have done that (such as West Bank disengagement), because back then he said this" and then quote from one of Ariel's long ago, more right wing, outpourings. Perhaps the best hint of what Ariel would have done can be found in what interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert now does in trying to prove he is as capable of leading as was Ariel.

Ask yourself this, why does Ehud Olmert feel the need to antagonize the hard right wing within Israel, such as the Yesha Council, during the run up to elections? He is taking action against "illegal outposts" within the West Bank for what purpose at this point in time? Can it be that he is trying to appeal to those Israelis who supported Sharon and Kadima?

So Charley, there is no peace process? Perhaps this is an accurate summation if you feel, as evidently you must, that peace can only be achieved through negotiations. I myself feel that negotiations are the preferred path to a settlement of the issues, but at least I am pragmatic enough to realize that there might not be anyone left with whom to negotiate with. What happens if, for example, Hamas was to win a clear majority in Palestinian elections? Must Israel negotiate with an enemy that is sworn to look at anything negotiated as a temporary and partial step taken towards the ultimate goal of driving all the Jews into the sea?

Is there no path to peace EXCEPT negotiations? Can a "fair and just" peace not be obtained through any other means? What happens if the United Nations Security Council was to take up the matter of what final borders are to be? What if the United Nations came up with something like the 1947 Partition Plan? Could not this be "fair and just"? If the Palestinian side is unwilling or unable to negotiate, can not someone stand in for them?

While I, too, had my reservations about Ariel Sharon and his true intent, one conclusion I had reached was that at least he was capable of providing leadership to Israel. I might have disagreed with some of the steps and methods he employed, but at least under his leadership there was some movement and I felt this movement was towards some type of resolution of the conflict. It is my hope that whoever manages to grab the reigns of leadership from Ariel Sharon's hands will be at least as capable of providing the leadership Israel needs as was Ariel.

Where will this new leader then lead? Well why was Ariel leading where he was leading? What demands and expectations will the world community have of this new leader?

While I can not speak for the world, I can speak for myself. My own demands and expectations are that the felling of Ariel Sharon should not lead to an absence of progress to an ultimate resolution of the conflict. With Ariel Sharon we were seeing some movement. Anyone who seeks to fill Ariel Sharon's shoes had better be ready to continue with the momentum Sharon achieved.


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