Sharon on the road to Damascus

Like Gary Sauer-Thompson, I’m still trying to interpret Sharon’s apparent conversion to the cause of Palestinian statehood, after months in which he appeared to be doing his best to derail the “roadmap for peace”. Can Bush have really applied the pressure to achieve this? Or is it just another tactical retreat? We’ll have to wait and see, but for once there seems to be some ground for optimism

14 thoughts on “Sharon on the road to Damascus

  1. Neither Sharon nor Arafat want peace.

    Neither has yet to convincingly show they have changed from their blodthirsty past moreover it appears neither the Palestinians noe the Israelis want peace either given they have voted for both as Leaders.

    Sharon’s consultation of the RMTP is like Nixon’s visit to China, done from a position of strength.
    I won’t say I told you so because it hasn’t happened yet, but Sharon’s conversion to road map to Palesitinian statehood reinoforeces my confidence that Blair is the Man.
    It was Blair who forced the RMTP onto the US agenda, as a token for UK support of Op Iraqi Freedom.
    Op. I F has enhanced the US power position in the Gulf so there is little real risk to Israeli security from state sponsored terrorism.
    Thus Sharon has his Right wing flank protected from the judaic fundamentalist settlers.
    Perhaps this was part of Wolfowitz’s grand strategy all along.
    More likely the Likud has no choice and sees it’s interests as to concede now whilst Israelis can get the best possible deal from both a weakened Palestinian movement and a strengthened US in ME.
    Later on Palestinian demography, WMD techology and a more dovish US president will mean that the ISraelis will not be able to extract big concessions.

  3. it is strange.

    the peaceplan is still heavily favoured toward israel though, with only an apparent freeze on some settlements and the dismantling of other “illegal” ones; im yet to find the precise definition of illegal for the current roadmap.

    also, what of the israeli only roads, and restrictions on palestinian movements. at any rate, the earlier the expansion of israel is frozen the easier it will be for the palestinians to get on with economic development, and the less likely israel is attacked as an expansionist power.

    one can understand, that because of their history, the jews are extremely worried about losing their state to invaders, but clearly expansion isnt helping them. theyve got nukes, they could protect their borders adequately once they are frozen.

  4. “…there seems to be some ground for optimism…”

    This is ipso facto meaningless. Where there are grounds for an estimate, there is no basis for a trial estimate, the kind you use because you have to start from somewhere.

    An optimist is the sort of person who steps out steadily along a chain of stepping stones in the certain confidence that there is always a next one. A pessimist is the sort of person who proceeds cautiously. The former always falls in when there is no stepping stone. The latter always falls in when the going is precarious, whether there is footing or not, because his method makes his footing insecure. Clearly my analysis marks me as temperamentally a pessimist, but the realities can suit optimists better – despite the unreality of their understanding. But NEITHER approach is based on any grounds, any knowledge of realities, but rather as a heuristic for when you can’t tell what you’re doing.

    Oh, and Sharon is only ever offering the Palestinians a false dichotomy, varying only in the pain of how they are to be destroyed.

  5. We see al-Quaeda scaremongerer Rohan Gunaratna has been added to the celebrity author circuit, so he can promote Howard’s pro-Israel sentiments and subtly beat down on Palestinians.
    Oh! And flog his book on the subject!
    Fairfax and Murdoch remind us about the book, every now and then in one the many articles they run for Gunaratna’s publicity machine, so the public should be aware of a conflict of interest. But why does a book salesman get a run in Canberra?
    A moment’s reflection suggests that, if Gunaratna has been having intimate chats with al-Quaeda operatives for the last six years, they must like what he says about them. And if he is such a valuable font of unique info, why isn’t he being interviewed at Guantanamo Bay?
    One person with a few ideas to sell to the highest bidder. Is this the epitome of public debate in Australia about solutions to Israel-Palestine? If the Howard machine is using flannel like this as a diversion away from its’ own domestic problems, yep, I can believe that.
    There’s more to fear from a disgruntled patriot with a ute-load of fertiliser and diesel, than from the fantasies spun out by self-promoters like Gunaratna.

    Oh, and – will Sharon dismantle the settlements? Spit on his son’s grave first!

  6. What a sign of how desperate we are for Mid-east breakthrough! Sharon calls an occupation (gasp) an occupation – and we start talking about Roads to Damascus! The ‘Nixon in China ‘ parallel is apt because ‘recognising’ China (what a patronising term) was the diplomatic equivalent of recognising the Pacific Ocean.

  7. I’m optimistic, sort of, but every time I see Sharon and Bush together I get the creeps. On top of all his other deficiencies, Bush seems so terribly overmatched. Sort of like the new Ivy League and the battle-hardened sergeant.

  8. “On top of all his other deficiencies, Bush seems so terribly overmatched. Sort of like the new Ivy League and the battle-hardened sergeant.”
    If it were one on one it would be no contest, Sharon would “bulldoze” Bush. But Sharon has most of the US congress on his side, and will not be fighting the US admin.
    The real fight is between Sharon and the right wing crazies in the Likud.

  9. Stop the press, Sharon just thinks the army can leave the occupied territories!

    You have just been wood-ducked again. Sharon is the original right wing loony and hasn’t changed!

  10. This shows that Sharon can be willing to accept the idea of a Palestinian state but some people will never accept the idea that Sharon is a sincere politician that only cares of the survival of the people of Israel (something you cannot care less).

    Would you be willing to risk half of Australia in case the peace process is derailed because of Arafat and his cronies’ bellicosity?

  11. Oscar asks: *Would you be willing to risk half of Australia …*

    If the Occupied Territories were actually part of Israel, as opposed to being, you know, the Occupied Territories — that is, the Territories that were conquered by Israel in the six day war and have been Occupied by Israel ever since, then Oscar would have a very good point.

    It’s just that, um, ah, the Occupied Territories are not part of Israel — not legally, or in any other way. Even the Government of Israel doesn’t claim them to be part of Israel, so Israel wouldn’t be risking half of Israel by allowing the Palestinians a country of their own.

    Mind you, I don’t think ol’ peace lovin’ Ariel has actually allowed anyone anything yet. So let’s just wait and see before throwing him any bouquets.

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