Politics of Israel
The political dynamics in Israel is known for its active development in terms of war and terrorism. This has something to do with how its past and present leaders shaped its future through the advent of political changes and dedication to their political goals.
In this paper, the political fame and affluence of Ariel Sharon will be discussed in connection with Israeli-Palestinian conflict particularly referring to the Disengagement Plan staged by Sharon and its eventual effect in organizing a new political party by him. One historical event that will affect the future of Israel and reflects its past is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict wherein Ariel Sharon is directly involved as an Israeli political figure. Because of his move and ardent efforts to disengage with Gaza Strip and West Bank, his allies in the Likud Party got angry with him because of their opposition to the plan.
That situation resulted the birth of a new political party in Israel being a new centrist party named Kadima which resulted into party schism. Ariel Sharon was born in Kafr Malal somewhere in Palestine in the year 1928. He was a known military officer, politician and former defences and building minister. He was an active participant in shaping modern Israel’s history. This was from pre-state Israel and Israel’s wars of survival, to politics and the disengagement plan.
Thus, Sharon has played a highly significant role in molding Israel’s future ( “Ariel Sharon” 1). Ariel Sharon devoted his last years in politics to pursuing peace with security for Israel and its neighbors albeit he was considered a hardline politician who was the “father of the settlement movement” and a brilliant leader in the war time.
On February 6, 2001, Ariel Sharon just won in a direct election to become a political leader of Israel under the seat Prime Minister with an unprecedented 52 per cent of the vote. This event marked both a turninh point in the history of the country and the region and a basic change in the character of the Israeli government including itd political culture (Kimmerling 3).
Sharon has served as Prime Minister for almost six years from year 2001 to 2006. With his active participation in the Israeli-Palestinian war, he was described by commentators and journalists to be terrorism against the Palestinian people although President George W. Bush called him “man of peace” ( Kjeilin 1). However, he was never ben accused of hiding or closing his political views and claims. Ariel Sharon is known by his character of always standing by his conviction even in times when this has made him unpopular and denounced.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has dragged both peoples through more than a century of violence and terrorism. It has something to do with the fight of Israel in gaining right to self-determination. The right to national self-determination is the right of a nation to preserve its existence as a unique social group. Basically, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a conflict between two nations having claims of the same areas of land. The source of the bitter conflict was actually when Israel captured territory that changed its borders but leaving Jerusalem a divided city.
In connection with that, a six-day war in 1967 lead Israel to capture the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt and even East Jerusalem including the Old City and its holy sites in which Israel was able to reunite naming it the “new city” of West Jerusalem. Mainstream Palestinians demand a state in the West Bank and Gaza. However, right wing Israelis are opposed in creating a sate because for them, it will just be made as a base for terror groups. It is very important to know the core issues of the conflict because it will give us the idea on the basic rationale of their struggles. In accordance to the views of both sides, the core issues represents the future of the remaining Israeli settlements built in the Occupied Territories, the rights of return for Palestinian refugees including their descendants, and the status of Jerusalem along with the refusal of some Palestinian groups to recognize the right of Israel to exist and Israel’s reluctance to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It was the assertion of Israel that one major condition of Palestinian sovereignty over any territory must be acceptance of mutual co-existence and the elimination of violence and terrorism by the Palestinians. On the other hand, some Palestinian groups pertaining to Fatah which is a political party that was founded by Palestinian Liberation Organization leaders claimed that they are actually willing to manifest co-existence if only Palestinians are steadily given additional political rights and autonomy. To date, the most recent negotiations for peace in the area was the one being started in Annapolis in the United States of America last November 2007. It is expected that a final resolution can be reached by the end of the year 2008.
Now, we will examine the Israeli West Bank barrier. It is a separation barrier being constructed by Israel consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an average of 60 meters wide exclusion area and up to 8 meters high concrete walls. It was located mainly within West Bank along the 1949 Armistice line or green line between Israel and Jordan which now demarcates the West Bank. The green line refers to the area held by Israel when the fighting stopped in 1948 and hence was considered an armistice line in January 1949. It is the border of internationally-recognized Israel. Note that the barrier is a highly controversial project. In fact, supporters assert that the barrier is a necessary tool protecting Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorism, including suicide bombing attacks, that increased significantly during the intifada and it has helped to significantly reduce incidents of terrorism from the year 2002 to 2005. Its supporters assert that the strength is on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism. Opponents of the same struggle assert that the barrier is an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security, practically violates international law, has the intent or effect to pre-empt final status negotiations, and severely restricts Palestinians who live nearby, particularly their ability to travel freely within the West Bank and to access work in Israel, thereby undermining their economy.
That was indeed a very difficult situation affecting the will of the inhabitants to freely exercise their right to life, liberty and even property. The same settlers and opponents claim that the barrier is a sly attempt to artificially create a border that excludes the settlers, creating “facts on the ground” that justify the mass dismantlement of hundreds of settlements and displacement of over 100,000 Jews from the land they claim as their biblical homeland. If it was ineded a sly attempt to disintegrate people, then it must be against the right of every person to live according to their will under the rule of law.
There is even a political case on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in the conduct of war, there is a wide difference. In the intifada, the Palestinians have descended to the lowest moral level as they deliberately kill civilians particularly women and children and even celebrate in doing so. That was really an inhumane conduct of engaging in war. Pro-settler opponents claim that the barrier is a sly attempt to artificially create a border that excludes the settlers, creating “facts on the ground” that justify the mass dismantlement of hundreds of settlements and displacement of over 100,000 Jews from the land they claim as their biblical homeland.
The move of Ariel Sharon in dismantling settlement in Gaza Strip and West Bank is a way of achieving peace and unity within the region in question. His main concern actually is to shape the face of the Jewish and democratic state of Israel as a state where there is an equal distribution of the burden as well as the acceptance of rights and shouldering of duties by all sectors through different forms of national service ( “Ariel Sharon” 1). He wants a state where there is a good and efficient education system which educates young people imbued with values and national pride which is capable of confronting the challenges of the modern world.
Moreover, after several years of strife, bloodshed, terror, and stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, Ariel Sharon then devised a bold plan that would ensure a higher degree of security for Israelis, and to even improve the lives of Palestinians. While Palestinian terrorism against Israelis was at its peak, and going virtually unchecked by Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders, Sharon decided that Israel should act unilaterally to improve its security situation and reduce terror and bloodshed. This plan was known as the disengagement plan with the aim to complete withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers in the Gaza Strip as well as the dismantlement of all settlements in the area, including four settlements in northen Samaria. Between August 16 and August 30, 2005, Israel safely evacuated more than 8,500 Israeli settlers. Aside from that, on September 11, 2005, Israeli soldiers left Gaza, ending Israel’s 38-year presence in the area.
As we could understand, it was never the intention of Israelis leaders to rule over a large Palestinian population since its goal is to reach a just settlement that would allow both peoples to live in genuine security and unstalled peace. The disegagement plan does not replace negotiation but could make an important contribution to the renewal of peacetalks as envisaged by the plan sponsored by foreign elements or countries including the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United States, provided that the Palestinian people eliminates the infrastructure of terrorism. According to the various comments and will of Sharon, it is very hard to achieve peace without the will of Palestinian government to seek the same efforts of ending violence and terrorism. Everything will prove futile if armaments and terrorism infrastructure will not be fully dismantled.
The evolution of the plan started when it was approved by the Israeli’s cabinet on June 6, 2004 and by the Knesset or Parliament on October 23, 2004, but it was introduced by Prime Minister Sharon on December 18, 2003 in a speech before the fourth Herzliya Conference. Ariel Sharon noted that an essential condition of the roadmap is its requirement that terrorism must stop for the terrorist organizations be dismantled. There are two main purposes for disengagement and these include enhancing Israel’s Security by reducing terrorism and boosting Israeli’s economy by improving the quality of life.
The basic provisions of the plan relates to the move of Sharon as approved by the political leaders of Israel that Israel will evacuate the Gaza Strip and will redeploy outside the Strip. Israel will also evacuate the settlements in Northern Samaria (West Bank) and all military installations in their area ( Israeli’s Disengagement Plan” 2) .
As such, the effect will include reassignment of other areas where Israelis who are living in Gaza Strip and West Bank will transfer as their new residence. Some people are opposed to the idea of the disengagement plan merely because they stayed in the area as young people and later then become grandparents only to be ousted in the area for the reason of achieving peace.
Now we will discuss the foundation of a new party that was made by Ariel Sharon known as an aftermath of the disengagement plan. Israel has entered one of the stormiest political seasons in its history, even by the standards of its fractured, tempestuous governing structure. Sharon announced his departure from the ruling Likud Party, returned his membership card and called for an early general election (Benn 1). To describe Sharon’s move, it is to redraw or reshape the country’s political map.
Furthermore, the unprecedented removal of 25 Jewish setllements from Palestinian-populated areas tore apart the Likud which historically supported the “Greater Israel” concept and sponsored the settlement enterprise in the territories occupied after the 1967 war. Using his consummate political skill, Ariel Sharon managed to escort his paln through numerous political minefields, gaining parliamentary approval in 2004 and then implementing the withdrawal in a dignified, non-violent way. His political charisma is indeed remarkable.
Nevertheless, he faced a determined group of so-called rebels, 10 to 15 of the Likud’s 40-member parliamentary faction, who were enraged at Sharon’s betrayal of the party’s ideology and vowed to fight him. Forming an opposition within the coalition, the “rebels” turned Sharon’s political reality into a nightmare. Kadima Israel party has patented double vision in which you cannot see from there what we see from here. It has basically no ideology and it is pragmatic in nature, that is to say, it has no direction or principles (Haetzni 1). It is little more than an unholy mob of power-seekers, refugees from other places and often opposing ideological incubators. In fact, if Sharon defies Likud Party’s pro-settler hardliners as he has done before, he could provoke a schism in Israel’s largest party or risk early elections which could stall any withdrawal ( “Sharon Defeated in Likud Vote” 1). This situation is really reshaping the whole political profile and processes of Israel. Finally, the political strength and leadership of Ariel Sharon contributed to Israeli’s political struggles as a nation. It was a hope of Ariel Sharon to serve until 2010 and later retire dreaming to enjoy in a farm. As he was physically ill for time, it failed the dream that he disclosed in time.
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