Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dark Days Ahead For Middle East

Israel's hope for a peaceful resolution with Palestine over settlement issues, has had a major setback in the loss of leadership from stroke victim Ariel Sharon. The turbulence in the region is magnified by skepticism that Sharon will recover sufficiently to take back the mantle of leadership and to be a force in the upcoming elections in March.

While Prime Minister Sharon lies in an induced coma state to aid his healing process, his Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is faced with further upheaval in the region that may result from Sharon being incapacitated. Israel has issued warnings that they are prepared to engage any threat to the nation from opportunists who think they may have an advantage due to Sharon's health situation.
Speaking to reporters outside the hospital, Sharon aide Raanan Gissin warned Israel's enemies: "To anyone who entertains any notion to try and exploit this situation ... the security forces and IDF (Israeli military) are ready for any kind of challenge," he said. (source)
Although Prime Minister Abbas of Palestine sent word of his hope for Sharon's recovery, his countrymen do not share his opinion.
"The downfall of the Dracula of the century is a day of happiness for every Palestinian and every Muslim," Abu Abir, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a coalition of militants, said in a statement.(source)
Sharon was seen by Palestinians as a major threat who, unlike the ineffective Palestinian Abbas, was capable of dealing with the Palestinian militants swiftly when provoked. Abbas has not been able to curb the militants activities which has resulted in many foreigners being abducted and held for ransom. Yesterday's uprising and attack on the border crossing to Egypt resulted from the detention of a militant leader who was being questioned over the latest abduction. Rather than arresting the militants responsible for that uprising, Abbas has instead released their leader.

Important issues are stalled at this time to negotiate the settlement issues, and the unresolved issue of Palestinians being allowed to vote in Jerusalem on Jan. 25th. Also stalled is any hope for some semblance of peace in the region in the near future.

posted by Is It Just Me? at 7:31 AM