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Ex-Mossad man a fit for Sharon's shoes

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-11 11:03 AM
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Ex-Mossad man a fit for Sharon's shoes
Head's up. Longish, well informed, interesting.

TEL AVIV - A new star is about to rise on the Israeli political horizon. Given the widely perceived impasse on all fronts, the time may be just right.

Analysts have long lamented what they call a "deadlock" in the Israeli political system. Last year, American think-tank Stratfor described the situation in the following way:

Israel has had weak governments for a generation. These governments are weak because they are formed by coalitions made up of diverse and sometimes opposed parties. In part, this is due to Israel's electoral system, which increases the likelihood that parties that would never enter the parliament of other countries do sit in the Knesset with a handful of members. There are enough of these that the major parties never come close to a ruling majority and the coalition government that has to be created is crippled from the beginning. An Israeli prime minister spends most of his time avoiding dealing with important issues, since his cabinet would fall apart if he did. <1>

This deadlock is part of what blocks the peace negotiations, alongside with the near-complete lack of consensus and political will on the Palestinian side and formidable gaps between what the two sides are prepared to offer. It also prevents comprehensive solutions to pressing internal Israeli problems - the monopoly of the Orthodox religious establishment over marriage comes to mind, and the ensuing problems for many Israelis who are not "officially" recognized as Jewish by this establishment.


One recent exception stands out, and this is Ariel Sharon, who defied his own Likud party (and broke away from it, forming the current main opposition party Kadima) and forced the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. This specific decision continues to create a lot of controversy in Israel, with its opponents pointing to Hamas' subsequent takeover of the strip and its proponents pointing to the international support it generated; Sharon's courage and ability to impose his vision, however, are almost universally admired.
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