The Right Coast

January 12, 2006
Did Sharon Transform into "A Man of Peace"
By Mike Rappaport

Sadly, the media has been running quasi obituaries on Arial Sharon where they completely misrepresent the man. It is really quite outrageous. This move is not limited to liberals, but also is followed by several conservatives, including in this piece by Robert Caldwell.

So lets be clear. Arial Sharon did not go from being a "Man of War" into a "Man of Peace" in the sense that these stories imply. Arial Sharon did not suddenly decide to pursue peace in the (reckless) way that Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres did at Oslo. He did not believe that one should have some faith in the better angels of the Palestinians and hope that peace would result if Israeli concessions were made. Indeed, if peace means that both sides desire to stop fighting, I don't think Sharon thought he was creating peace.

Sharon disengaged from Gaza and was intending to disengage from parts of the West Bank to support Israeli interests in a pragmatic way that relied not at all on the good faith of the Palestinians. Sharon's disengagement allowed Israel to have more defensible borders and to avoid the military costs of protecting Israeli settlers. It allowed the Israelis to avoid being outnumbered by the Palestinians within Israel. It allowed Israel to claim that they are no longer occupying the Palestinian territories, which makes it harder for the rest of the world, despite their biases, to take actions against Israel for being an occupying power.

Given the views of these writers, they should have regarded Sharon's disengagement as "cynical." Unfortunately, it appears that these writers are the cynical ones, since I am sure that they know that their portrayal of Sharon as an idealistic visionary makes it harder for his successors to continue his real work.