Saturday, January 07, 2006


To me this fellow towers above the news items around at the moment. I really wish him well.

It's interesting how Sharon managed to combine eclectic elements of policy- angering everybody and fully reassuring almost none- with becoming a political phenomenon able to say 'today, I will form a new political party', with every chance of having done so effectively had the flesh not proved too weak.

It could seem almost banal to say that one supported him, in this context. His support seems to have come from the man on the street rather than from any political creed or group.

But I think the man on the street had a point.

Sharon was anti-factional but patriotic. He was pragmatic but he wanted to win.

He managed to kill the leadership of his foes, build a kind of Berlin wall against them, reduce their efforts to kill Israelis to a point where their own murderous infighting was producing more body bags that the war they were supposedly waging against Israel, and yet gain an unprecedented hearing among people home and abroad.

There are some very interesting pieces about Sharon at the moment; as usual I think they are ambivalent at best. Everyone always has some major 'con' to put alongside the 'pros', which seems to me almost contrarian.

Atlas Shrugs' Doctor Nancy makes the classic error of think that any kind of land concession by Israel was indicative of defeatism. She thinks Sharon was hamstrung by the reluctance of Israelis to shoulder the consequences of a hardline stance.

Daniel Pipes is even more critical, accusing Sharon of 'monumental mistakes' with the Gaza pullout foremost among them.

Meryl Yourish, however, points to Ariel Sharon's last interview at the head of his country. In it, Sharon lays down the law concerning the state of Israel in relation to the Palestinians.

What's striking is the iron-like grip Sharon maintained on these issues. There's an absolute and historically informed clarity in what he's saying. It all turns upon patriotism and the awareness of the hurts that have been visited upon the State of Israel in seeking its annihilation.

What I think is clear is this: Sharon's a winner, and he wanted to win for Israel its security and its integrity as a nation. How hard is that to love?

One interesting blog I found as well on Sharon examined his military career, preferring to concentrate on that. Well, I don't think it ever stopped, but I was struck by these words Ben Gurion had for Sharon:

'The only thing that matters is that we can exist here on the land of our forefathers. And unless we show the Arabs that there is a high price to pay for murdering Jews, we won't survive.'

I think that's what Sharon was zeroed on. Everything else was sound and fury.

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