The recent developments with Ariel Sharon's declining health have given the American media something to talk about. Updates on his health are all over the place, but more troubling is the 'analyses' on his history in Israeli politics. Most media outlets have jumped on the bandwagon, repeating statements that sound more like Israeli government press releases...mainly that the world is losing a great peacemaker. A hawk turned (semi-) dove. The neo-con Sharon defender (his name is not worthy enough for my blog) writes that Sharon represents the balance between the Israeli left and right. That his new Kadima party would've probably started a new era for Israel, but that it's future is now uncertain because of Sharon's expected exit from the political scene.
I think Sharon, in some weird twisted way, is a genius. Really. He found a way (unilateral Gaza withdrawal) to focus the world's attention on his plan rather than the pre-existing peace proposal (the US-sponsored Road Map). Taking such a great step, for the man known as the Bulldozer, the architect of the Israeli settlement movement, should be considered an unprecedented and historic event. We should all support him, appluad him. We should all forget about the apartheid wall that eats away at Palestinian olive groves, prevents students from reaching their schools, and expectant mothers from reaching a hospital.
The Gaza withdrawal was first and foremost in the favor of Israel and not the Palestinians. The 8,000 settlers were living among 1.2 million Palestinians in Gaza, but using 5 times as much water as the average Palestinian and costing Israel millions of dollars to keep them protected. It was the most absurd and illogical settlement policy in Israel's history. It just didn't make sense. Sharon did a simple cost-benefit analysis, and figured he could use the money spent on those settlers' security to keep pounding Palestinians and creating more settlements in the more important West Bank. Even the settlers, who made a big hoopla on in front of the 900 journalists that went to cover the withdrawal, knew they were getting a better deal. They were being moved to safer settlements in the West Bank, AND getting up to $400,000 per family as compensation for their move.
Yes, Sharon the peacemaker. God I wish he could be revived and sent back to his PM position so he can continue to do all the great work he has been doing for the Palestinian people. He simply irreplaceable.