[(Continued from p.11)]tigations. He went so far as to suggest that he would gladly submit to detention and interrogation, since like all Muslims in America, he is the beneficiary of the freedoms and opportunities of this great nation.
The January issue of Vanity Fair has what is, to this writer, a sad article by David Margolick entitled "Desert Hawk: Ariel Sharon's Final Mission." The author (himself sympathetic to the "new" Sharon) describes a nation that thought it would get the Sharon of old, and got, instead, an old Sharon. Margolick quotes Knesset member Michael Kleiner who describes Sharon as "crippled" by the legacy of Lebanon.
In fact, Sharon follows a pattern originally set by Menachem Begin--Zionist passion and commitment in the political opposition followed by surrender in office. Shamir, so forceful in resisting Camp David and all talk of compromise as an outsider, went to Madrid where the groundwork for Oslo was laid. He also acceded, admittedly under great pressure, to the demands of George Bush Sr. that he not respond to Iraqi scud missiles fired into Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, so silken and suave in his defense of Israel to the media, surrendered Hebron and implemented the Oslo disaster.
Margolick writes: "He [Sharon] is now almost a Lear-like figure, more eager to be loved than feared." But as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said, weakness is a provocation. The proof is in the fact that however distasteful it is to agree with a columnist from Ha'aretz, one must agree with the appraisal from that journal quoted by Margolick. Doron Rosenblum characterizes the Sharon record as "not just a failure, but failure multiplied: no hope, no prospects, no security, no peace, no economic growth, no nothing. Only blood flowing like water."
For a few brief days, after the triple terrorist attacks that killed 25 people and left hundreds injured in Jerusalem and Haifa, Sharon seemed to be roused to action. Even Hamas and Islamic Jihad promised to call off suicide bombings "until further notice." The notice has been given, as Israel's leaders now hint at resumption of negotiations with Arafat.
No leader of Israel do we criticize with greater regret than Ariel Sharon, whose presence in the oppositional wings kept hope alive through so many disappointments from Israel's leaders. After all, it was "Arik" who decided to live in East Jerusalem near the Kotel; it was Sharon the general, beloved by his troops, who led Israel from despair to victory in 1973; it was Sharon the farmer who held Israeli soil in his hands as if it were precious metal. Sharon was the hero, the Zionist, and the hope. Now we have a profound sense of loss, because there is no Arik outside of government to defy all those whose policies and deeds threaten the existence of Israel.
Ruth King is a member of the executive committee of Americans For a Safe Israel.
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Outpost - 12 - January 2002