When last I blogged about the upcoming elections in Israel, Ariel Sharon seemed destined to crush his soft-line Labor Party opponent. The smart money still seems to be on a fairly comfortable Sharon victory, but major scandals within his Likud Party have created some uncertainty. Here, the Israeli newpaper Ha’aretz wonders whether there could be a surprise. With polls suggesting that up to a quarter of the electorate is undecided, Ha’aretz thinks there might well be one.
Perhaps as a result of Likud’s slippage, Sharon is putting the creation of a Palestinian state on his agenda, as noted in this piece from Ha’aretz. Sharon recently said, “A Palestinian state is not my life’s dream, but it’s the only realistic way of achieving peace.” According to Ha’aretz, Sharon’s associates are letting it be known that this sentiment is not a campaign slogan, but rather reflects a plan that Sharon and President Bush have been developing for after the war with Iraq. The combination of pressure from the U.S. and Israel’s desperate craving for peace could indeed lead to a renewal of the failed concession-making policy of Sharon’s predecessors, after the war with Iraq.
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