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Disparate Fundamentalists Not So Different at Heart

With Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon incapacitated and near death, the usual fundamentalists have come out of their rat holes to throw parting shots at the supremely-controversial leader.

  • Unsurprisingly, some Palestinian groups consider Sharon’s condition to be a heavenly gift and an occassion to celebrate.
  • Pat Robertson, professional televangelist and troll, claims that Sharon’s stroke is an act of divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawl from the Gaza Strip. I’m sure we’re all very interested in your unique perspective, Pat.
  • Meanwhile, Iranian president and holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejoiced, hoping that Sharon would indeed be dead soon. It seems that is Mahmoud hoping that Netanyahu comes back to power so he’ll have more Palestinian issues to distract the Iranian people with.
  • Interestingly, amongst the most explicit of celebrations can be found on the forums, whose members refer to the PM as “DiKtator ShaKron” and violate Godwin’s Law more often than the US federal government violates the Bill of Rights.

It is interesting that even before the Gaza pullout right-wing Israelis had begun referring to Sharon in a similar way as many leftists, using words such as “murderer,” “dictator,” “criminal,” and “evil” to describe a man who by every account was doing what he believed was best for his country and what a majority of Israelis supported.

My opinion? Sharon has, throughout his life, been a true patriot of his country. This has led him to make serious mistakes (see: essentially enacting Big Pines instead of Little Pines,) achieve glorious victories (see: Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War,) allow terrible events to occur under his command (see: Qibya, Shabra and Shatila,) and take extraordinary risks in the name of peace (see: Gaza pullout). It’s no surprise that he’s so controversial – few men are so bold as to have such an extensive world-changing resume.

If he dies I will be saddened. Not because I agreed with all his actions (I oftentimes didn’t,) but because he is one of the few people who had enormous sway amongst Israelis of all stripes in working towards peace. Pulling out from Gaza may have been a poor move, but it was a move that only Sharon could have executed. The enormous steps necessary to bring peace to the region seem impossible to undertake now that a man of such strides is incapacitated. There has never been an equivalent to him amongst the Palestinians, and only Ben Gurion was comparably respected amongst mainstream Israelis.

If the Gaza pullout is somehow successful in bringing some stability then perhaps that will be his legacy. It was his toughest task and, if it ultimately succeeds, it will be viewed as his greatest achievement.

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