Tuesday, March 16, 2004

On the day that Ariel Sharon was supposed to meet the Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei, our beloved leader is going to be busy doing something that he seems to like doing much more than meeting any Palestinian leader, non-leader or pseudo-leader: meeting with his political-security cabinet to discuss Israel's responses to yet another terror attack. In the meantime, Sharon yesterday narrowly escaped serious humiliation, when his statement to the Knesset on his disengagement plan passed only by a single vote, 46-45. Implementation of any such plan will probably be postponed once again as a result of the latest attack. Still, Arik will remain in the saddle, satisfying his political oponents on the Left and abroad by now and then suggesting a possible Israel withdrawal from the Gaza Strip ( and creating false hopes regarding his intentions of withdrawing from additional parts of the occupied territories ), while letting his political soulmates know that for the time being their interests - be they financial or nationalist - remain served very well. He must be very sorry that any news items related to his and his sons' shady business once more can be found only deep inside the newspapers. All this would not be so sad if there was any viable opposition. In my eyes, the lack of that is the most serious problem facing us. Labor is lead by a 80-year old who heads the list of public figures receiving large pensions on top of very generous salaries. Left of Labor, the new Yahad party will choose its leader today. It is almost amusing to see how important both Yossi Beilin and Ran Cohen think their role in Israel politics could or should be, and how they try to convince each other and potential voters of their own worthiness. On one hand, we do need a strong personality to lead the country out of the current mess. On the other, a little less egos and much more spirit, cooperation and belief in a common cause among all Zionists on the left would truly further the interests of the only state we have.

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