Friday, January 06, 2006

Sharon's changes

I received an e-mail today from Gershon Baskin of IPCRI - an article he wrote for the Jerusalem Times (a Jerusalem Palestinian journal) on Sharon. Baskin writes:
Since the end of May 2003 I have added a quote of Ariel Sharon as part of my email signature. This is quite significant for me as no one more than Sharon personified almost everything that I was opposed to in Israel. This quote marked the real shift that Sharon underwent in the past few years.

In 1988 I launched the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information – IPCRI, based on the idea that the two-states for two peoples solution was the ultimate fulfillment of the national strategic interests of the Jewish people and the Palestinian people. At that time, less than 5% of Israelis supported this solution and many Israelis, particularly in the government and military, related to me as a traitor. The final rejection of the occupation by Sharon was my final vindication from the accusations of being a traitor. The quote reads as follows: “I think the idea that it is possible to continue keeping 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation - yes it is occupation, you might not like the word, but what is happening is occupation - is bad for Israel, and bad for the Palestinians, and bad for the Israeli economy. Controlling 3.5 million Palestinians cannot go on forever. You want to remain in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem?" Ariel Sharon, May 26, 2003
He goes on in the article to write about how Sharon's politics changed significantly, to the extent that he was willing to withdraw from Gaza and then leave the party he founded (Likud), founding a new centrist party, Kadima. He ends the article with these words:
It is really sad that Sharon is not witness to the overwhelming outpouring of good wishes that he is receiving from all over the country and the world. Sharon was one of the most hated politicians in the last decades both in Israel, the region and around the world. He is now regarded as a great statesman and leader. He certainly gained my respect for what he did this past year. His history will not be forgotten but he did leave the political arena with a different legacy – one that has brought new hope to the region.
I feel the same way. It never would have occurred to me in 1982, after the massacres at Sabra and Shatilla in Lebanon, that I would be sad at the news that Ariel Sharon had suffered a devastating stroke and was fighting for his life. (I just heard on the radio that he's been rushed back to the emergency room to reduce swelling in his brain - it looks bad).


  1. Ariel Sharon. Ariel Sharon. Goodness me, who knows what significance his death might hold, but it is almost beyond dispute that the man will leave a meaningful legacy in the Levant. Let's see...