Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Dennis Ross:
For the past two years, Sharon has been the driver of developments between Israelis and Palestinians. It was Sharon who first announced a policy of disengagement from the Palestinians. It was Sharon who then took this principle and carried out Israel's subsequent withdrawal from Gaza and the dismantling of settlements there. Finally, it was Sharon who left Likud, which he helped found, and set the stage for elections as the head of a new centrist party, Kadima.

Unmentioned by Ross, of course, is the fact that it was Sharon decided to scuttle negotiations with the Palestinians, insisting that there was "no partner for peace," a particularly preposterous assertion from a man who spent almost his whole political life undermining any peaceful overture to the Palestinians, and who was the number-one political advocate for the creation of the illegal settlements which are now, and have been, the single biggest obstacle to a two-state solution. Framing the story within the span of two years allows Ross to peddle the story of Sharon the innovator with a straight face, but the story begins to fall apart if we look back two more years, and utterly evaporates when we examine Sharon's career in its entirety.

With Hamas poised to dominate Palestinian elections I suspect Israel's leaders are looking back somewhat fondly on the good old days of Arafat. It's important to recognize, too, how Hamas got its start, as an Israeli-supported Islamist alternative to the secular nationalist PLO. Smell that? That's blowback.

No comments: