Waltzing With Ariel

Tony Karon in Rootless Cosmopolitan:

ScreenHunter_04 Feb. 10 09.56 Whereas Ariel Sharon saw the need to humor the Americans by indulging the rituals of Bush’s two-state vision, Netanyahu never bothered. In fact, it was Netanyahu’s rejection of Sharon’s tactical move to evacuate Gaza in order to tighten Israel’s grip on the West Bank that led to the Likud split that created the Kadima Party. Netanyahu isn’t stupid — even though right now there’s a good chance that he’d be able to build a ruling coalition only with blatantly rejectionist parties, he’ll make space for Kadima and Labor, hoping that he can stir the Pollyannaish hopes in Washington that their presence signals a “willingness” to make a peace agreement. Not that Netanyahu has any intention of doing so. Nor did Olmert, or Sharon.

Ariel Sharon campaigned furiously against Oslo, urging the settlers to “grab more hills” and making clear his own intention to stop the process. Sharon’s problem with Camp David was not that Arafat rejected what Barak’s “generous offer” (which even Barak’s chief negotiator, Shlomo Ben-Ami, later said he, too, would have rejected if he’d been Palestinian); it was that the offer had been made at all. That was why Sharon marched up the Temple Mount and onto the sanctuary around the Al-Aqsa mosque with a security detail of some 200 men, in the event that triggered the protests that mushroomed into the Second Intifada. And as soon as the fires were raging, Sharon triumphantly declared, “The Oslo Agreement is finished. It is null and void.”

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