Monday, February 27, 2006

Yesterday Ariel Sharon 'celebrated' his 78th birthday. Normally we wish somebody "Ad me'a we'esrim" ( Till 120!, as far as I know a reference to Moses' age when he passed away ) on his/her birthday but telling somebody that you want him to 'live' 42 more years when he is in such a terrible state is just too cruel. More than two months have gone by since Sharon had his first stroke, and we still have more than a month to go before the Knesset elections. Sadly enough it seems that as long as his heart is beating he remains relevant for Israeli politics, although his impact is weakened by every passing day, by each Qassam rocket that lands somewhere in Israel, by each statement by Nethanyahu/any other rightwing scaremonger/leftwing populist/Mr Ahmadinejad/any senior member of Hamas, by each 'revelation' about yet another link between some member of Kadimah/Sharon's entourage and anything that smells of corruption, etc. etc. I would not mind seeing a Kadimah victory next month and a Kadima-Labor majority after March 28th, but the polls have already started to move towards the right, and four weeks are an eternity in politics, particularly in Israeli politics. Ehud Olmert is an opportunist ( I had a letter published in the IHT saying exactly that, right after Mr Olmert - as Ariel Sharon's loyal mouthpiece - started to preach disengagement ), but except for a stable coalition of Kadimah and Labor I cannot think of a coalition that would be able and willing to solve what I consider the most urgent issue that faces us: determining borders between Israel and what will become some kind of Palestinian state. All other problems that have to be dealt with ( Iran, terrorist threats, Israel's economy, poverty, education, our relations with Europe and the US ) will probably become more 'solvable' after we finally decide for ourselves what the borders of the Jewish state must and will be. The limbo that we have been in for more than a decade now cannot continue much longer. Negotiations with a Hamas-led Palestinian government are improbable, if not a waste of precious time, so unilateral decisions and actions that serve mainly our own interests make sense. It remains ironic that I hope for a victory of a 'party' that was founded by someone who for all of us lefties once was the personification of everything that was wrong with the Right, and that is continued by a bunch of opportunists, many of whom once were the ideological pillars of the Likud. Irony and cynicism are strangers neither in politics nor in history.

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