Notes on the Atrocities
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Sunday, May 02, 2004  

Sharon's gamble has failed.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party voted against his plan to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, according to exit polls reported by Israeli television.

Jerusalem Post analysis:

In retrospect, the idea that Sharon could depend on Likud voters to ratify his plan reflected a fair degree of hubris. The plan, after all, is difficult to distinguish from that put forward by Sharon's rival in the 2003 elections, Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna. Sharon won handily opposing that plan, and his own Likud voters deeply opposed any unilateral concessions, let alone the unilateral dismantling of settlements.

What has changed is Sharon's acquiescence to US opposition to forcibly removing Yasser Arafat, combined with a US willingness to proffer significant diplomatic dividends in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal. Just because these changes were sufficient to change Sharon's mind does not mean that he could persuade the core of the natural opposition to his move to go along.

In his reaction to the tentative results last night, Shinui leader Justice Minister Yosef Lapid said that what the Likud had just done was to put itself at odds with the people of Israel, just as the Labor Party did when it refused to distance itself from the failure of Oslo. Indeed, the choice of Likud members may have been a political watershed marking the beginning of the end of its relatively short dominance as a ruling party.

posted by Jeff | 3:43 PM |
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