Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sharon the jailer

Michigan professor and blogger Juan Cole has a piece at Salon on Ariel Sharon, "The Jailer", which is worth reading. Even if you don't read it, I recommend this linked Ha'aretz interview with
Sharon advisor Dov Weisglass
(apparently Weisglass later repudiated his remarks. When a politico takes back what he says you have to wonder if he's been unintentionally truthful.) :

I found a device[referring to the evacuation of Israeli settlers from Gaza], in cooperation with the management of the world, to ensure that there will be no stopwatch here. That there will be no timetable to implement the settlers' nightmare. I have postponed that nightmare indefinitely. Because what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns...
Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress. What more could have been anticipated? What more could have been given to the settlers?"

and Cole: "Still, he dealt a permanent, if partial, setback to the expansionist and aggressive Likud Party. It is hard to imagine that even if it returned to power, the party could realistically hope to put colonists back into Gaza. Instead, the Hamas Party, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, will almost certainly rule the strip."

My view is, even if Sharon has never been concerned with the best interests of the Palestineans, he demonstrated that the settlers are moveable. Gaza was evacuated, in comparative peace. And the rest of them will be moved, and the wall will come down. This year? Next year? Soon? No. But it will happen.

see also, Clayton Swisher, "The Truth About Camp David"