Arik the Bulldozer had finally enough. He quit the Likud and started a new party - "Kadima", which means forward. His main objective, or so he says, is to achieve a peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians, and the echo in the Israeli population is overwhelming: 47% want to see Ariel Sharon form the next government. Wow! The new star of the newly socialist Labor Party, Amir Peretz, only made 28% in the same poll. By the way - so much for "the disengagement has no majority", and "Sharon will get punished in the next elections" bullshit the right wing has been trumpeting for months.
But something isn't right. There is no way to achieve a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at this time. The Palestinian Authority is a useless bunch of corrupt apparatchics, getting whacked daily by Hamas et al. There is no way Abu Mazen can broker a peace deal with the Israelis, because he would get blasted to hell the next day. And powerful Hamas is not interested in an official deal, although some high profile Hamas members have indicated lately that a change of policy could be possible in a far future.
So how can Arik deliver on his promise? Only by keeping the military threat very credible and at the same time dictating de-facto final borders by a number of further unilateral withdrawals. It has worked before, and it will work again. Not exactly the cozy side-by-side Olso had in mind, but apart from some individuals very out-of-touch with reality, nobody believes in that kind of deal anymore, anyway.
Well, to my Palestinian readers (anybody out there?) I say: Time for you guys to wake up. If you don't get your act together and start delivering the (roadmap) goods, Arik will take away 1/3 of the West Bank for the big settlement blocks, complete the neat wall around the rest and then you can do in your sand box whatever you want. He will just ignore your sorry existence.
Cool stuff, I almost feel obliged to vote for Arik in the next elections. There is only one problem: He is the head of maybe the most corrupt family in politics today. His son cut a deal with the prosecution, took the blame and will eventually go to jail for his father's filthy business, but hey, we all know who is pulling the strings in this soap opera. In the good old times a minister with that kind of PR problem had only one way out: A bullet through the head. But we are not living in those good old times anymore, and half of the Israelis are willing to vote for a "Godfather", as long as he gets rid of the Palestinians.
So, here I am left with a terrible dilemma. What is worse - external terror or internal decay? I'll let you know some other time.