钮松:“Middle East Can Heed Sharon's Turn to Peace”,Global Times
发布时间: 2014-01-22 浏览次数: 78

2014121日,中东研究所钮松副研究员在Global Times上发表英文评论文章“Middle East Can Heed Sharon's Turn to Peace”,全文如下:

Middle East Can Heed Sharon's Turn to Peace

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon departed peacefully from the world recently after an eight-year coma following a stroke. The trailblazing giant on Israel's political stage has courted complicated feelings owing to the intricacy of the Palestine-Israel relationship, the diversified political patterns of Israel, and the diverging political preferences displayed by the two governments based on different interest appeals.

Sharon is a strongman who engaged in five wars in the Middle East and made it all the way from a soldier to a commander. After setting foot in Israel's highly militarized political arena, he served as foreign minister, leader of the Likud Party and finally prime minister.

He was renowned for implementing tough policies at the early stage of his political career. He made use of the loopholes in the Oslo Accords to build Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Though approved by Palestinian officials, including then leader Yasser Arafat, his visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000 was the flashpoint for instigating the second Palestinian Intifada or Uprising, against Israel, but laid a solid foundation for his victory in the 2001 general elections.

Furthermore, Sharon called for the building of the bitterly contentious Israeli West Bank barrier in 2002.

The legendary figure was confronted with various challenges from within Israel as well as Palestine due to his unyielding attitude for the past decades. But he adopted bold changes to his old political ideas during the latter period of his government by exhibiting more benevolence toward Palestine and promoting the stagnant Oslo peace process. He was fully aware that force and toughness cannot eradicate confrontation.

Not only did Sharon demolish the Jewish settlements in Gaza, but he also announced his resignation from the right-wing Likud Party on November 21, 2005, five months after his first minor stroke. He joined hands with Shimon Peres, previous leader of the left-wing Labor Party, to form a new centrist and liberal party Kadima, or "Forward." In addition, Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas jointly expressed their hopes for peace.

He suffered from a massive stroke in early 2006 soon after Kadima was founded, putting an abrupt end to his political life. Since then his political programs have gradually become blurred. Although his successor Ehud Olmert declared that he would carry forward Sharon's policy, he was unable to prevail over the opposition.

When the Islamic organization Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, there were divisions within Israel. Kadima faced pressure from both home and abroad and Olmert was mired in corruption allegations. After the first president of the Likud Party Moshe Katsav stepped down because of a rape conviction, the Kadima government became a flash in the pan.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization governing the West Bank was more in sympathy with Sharon's path, but the entrenchment of Hamas throughout the Gaza Strip has enormously empowered Israel's far right.

Israel's peripheral situation has deteriorated because of the Arab Spring, leading the country astray from Sharon's route. Sharon left the political realm long ago and slipped in a permanent vegetative state for years, so his death will not likely exert a substantial influence upon the Israeli political situation and its relations with Palestine.

The reconciliation drive between Palestine and Israel not only relies on political strongmen, but also calls for concerted efforts on the part of politicians and people from both sides. But perhaps Sharon can remind others to transcend their ego, respect reality, and work toward peaceful coexistence.

来源:Global Times