Doctors have finished an emergency operation on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but results are not yet clear, a hospital spokeswoman has said.
I am unhappy to hear about the downward spiral that Ariel Sharon's health has taken recently. In fact, I would say it's more like a nosedive. My main concern lies with the future of the Palestinians and their ability to regain their land.
In recent months, Sharon has made drastic changes in policy towards the Palestinians. Israel has withdrawn from Gaza and four West Bank settlements, territories they have been occupying since the Six-Day War in 1967. This is, in my opinion, a major step toward the two peoples being able to live together. It will not be the solution to all problems but I think it would be difficult to find someone (not a zealot) who thinks that the Israeli withdrawal was a bad idea.
Now that Sharon is ill, and certainly wont be returning to his position as Prime Minister, the process of Israeli withdrawal and the creation of a Palestinian state is hanging in the balance. Sharon left the hard-line Likud party (which he formed in the 1970s) recently and formed the centrist Kadima (forward) party. Sharon was favored to win the elections that will take place this March. When he became ill, his deputy Ehud Olmert took over as interim prime minister and I became concerned that the general instability would not bode well for Kadima. However, today the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot ran a poll stating that the Kadia party is still expected to win 39 of the Knesset's 120 seats in the March election (with Likud winning 16 and Labor getting 20). The Kadima party has publicly committed itself to continuing the peace process Sharon has started, but that is not necessarily the case with the Likud party now led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.