Omri Ceren believes that the political career of Ariel Sharon is over and looks at the fallout that Sharon’s incapacitation would have on Israeli politics.
Sharon suffered a massive stroke causing him to have substantial bleeding into his cranial cavity. He had been taking blood thinners due to his previous stroke, which made the situation that much worse. While Sharon is alive, his long-term prognosis is almost certainly poor. At the very least he’d require months of intensive physical therapy, and it is quite likely that he may not regain consciousness or would be significantly incapacitated. There is a very strong likelihood of significant brain damage caused by the bleeding on the brain.
Ariel Sharon was never a very likely candidate for a peacemaker. He was known as a hard-line general during the campaign in Lebanon. He was part of the right-wing Likud Party. He was a figure of incredible hatred among the Arab media, and the Arab media ran hundreds if not thousands of anti-Semitic diatribes against him.
Yet Ariel Sharon has done more to assist in the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians that anyone in recent history. What Oslo and Camp David could not accomplish in a multilateral fashion, Sharon did unilaterally. The heartbreaking retreat from Gaza was a bitter pill for the Israeli people, but ultimately helped Israel fortify itself. The much-maligned security fence has protected Israelis against suicide bombings, and the targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders have left terrorist organization reeling. Sharon couldn’t create a lasting peace, but he could keep Israel safe from terrorism and work to lay the basis for a later solution when the Palestinians truly desired to become partners in peace.
Sharon’s political career is likely over, and that is a tragedy for the people of Israel. Sharon’s stubborn convictions helped guide Israel through the difficult Gaza withdrawal, and despite enemies on the left and the right, Sharon won the respect of the Israeli people. Should Israel lose Sharon, they will lose one of the most colorful and daring politicians in the history of the state of Israel.
UPDATE: Stephen Green also examines the Sharon legacy:
The Bulldozer spent his life seeking out and fighting and winning impossible battles. Some might even say “unnecessary.” His last battle was to create a new party to carry on his sensible policies after he passed from the scene. But for the first time in his long and storied life, Sharon abandoned the fight before it was won. Sharon’s life is probably ended, and his political life certainly is. With that, Israel’s security may have become as uncertain and Sharon’s future is already settled.