Tuesday, August 16, 2005

In speech of his life, Sharon looks to convey hope

From Haaretz - Israel News: 00:36 16/08/2005 Analysis: By Aluf Benn, Haaretz correspondent ...

In a blue-striped tie, his eyes having difficulty getting accustomed to the teleprompter, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recorded his address Monday to the nation about the disengagement plan.
It was the speech of his life, the decisive evening in his turbulent career, the blast off to a complex operation he had planned and organized for two years. But even at such a moment, Sharon had difficulty producing inspiring rhetoric. Only toward the end he loosened up a little and sounded like the familiar Arik.

....Reuven Adler, Sharon's good friend and political strategist, says that hope is more important to the Israeli voters than security, peace and corruption issues.

On Channel Two, Sharon's rival, Benjamin Netanyahu, warned of the terrorism expected after the pullout, and presented his opposing platform: A demand for reciprocity and keeping security matters in Israel's hands, adding "Don't give them a port." Sharon's aides commented that Netanyahu voted for the disengagement four times, and was partner to the decision to build the port in February.

Sharon displayed understanding for the suffering of the Palestinians crowded in the refugee camps in Gaza "in greenhouses of growing hatred." His statements were reminiscent of Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan's eulogy to Ro'i Rotberg, the security officer of Kibbutz Nahal Oz who was murdered in 1956 in a field bordering the Gaza Strip."How can we complain of their intense hatred of us?" Dayan said. "For eight years now, they have been sitting in the refugee camps of Gaza, while before their very eyes we are expropriating their lands and villages, where they and their forefathers previously dwelled... Let us not flinch from seeing the animosity inflaming and filling the lives of hundreds of thousands Arabs living around us... That is the bane of our generation."At that time, Sharon was commander of the paratroopers who departed to carry out retaliations in the Gaza Strip, and a key figure in the attack army that Dayan had formed. There is no doubt that he is familiar with his former commander's speech, and perhaps he looked at it again before his appearance Monday.

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