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Myth as a stepping stone: Ariel Sharon

Myth as a stepping stone

TOI-Billboard, January 6, 2006
The Other Israel's weekly email updates

Sharon is still 'fighting for his life' between operation room and intensive care, but the mythmaking is already going on at full speed.

The overwhelming majority of Israeli commentators describe Ariel Sharon as the tragic Greek hero stricken by fate while only halfway with what should have been the apotheosis of his biography: the man of war ultimately achieving peace. He is compared with Ben Gurion and with that other mythical former general, the murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Some call Ariel Sharon the Moses of our times, who during 40 years led his people through the desert - to being himself deprived of setting foot in the promised land.

The myth of Sharon Peacemaker actually already started from the moment of the disengagement of Gaza. We were warning 'naive' fellow peace activists not to fall into the trap set out for them by Sharon, who - as we are still convinced - intended only to hand some crumbs of the West Bank tor the Palestinians, to call it their state, shattered pieces connected with easily controlled bridges or tunnels to each other and, maybe in the end, also to the Gaza Strip; nothing more.

But now it seems the political role of Sharon himself is over, and what remains are the illusions of the followers of this new Kadima Party. The myth will have its impact on how this new party will develop - more than the historical Sharon. The historical Sharon may soon become the pale shadow of his myth. And the myth expresses a deep wish of the Israeli mainstream: to follow the same leaders whom they always trusted, and to arrive at peace without having to reinterpet everything they have always believed in. The Sharon myth may work as a stepping stone towards the ripening of public opinion.

We collected a variety of comments, mythmaking and anti-mythmaking, articles which we like as well as some which we don't like but which give part of the Sharon legacy Israelis will be living with. But first some action news.

This week, a real breakthrough and success of the nonviolent protest at Bil'in, with Akiva Eldar and the Ha'aretz pages an important factor:

Documents reveal illegal West Bank building project
By Akiva Eldar, Jan 3

The real organized crime
By Akiva Eldar, Jan 3

Saving the State from itself
Jan 4 Ha'aretz Editorial

Peace Now petitions court to halt Modi'in Illit construction

See also:

Jan. 1, 2006: Hanukka candles in Bil'in

Friday Jan 6, Bil'in action:

Occupation refuser Uri Natan is in the middle of a long-drawn process of 'serial imprisonment' like others before him. Tuesday, Jan. 3, he was sentenced to another 14 days. You can send him support mail to: Uri Natan, military ID 6870739, military mail 02507, IDF ***

Our choice of 'end of the Sharon era' comments:

An illusion has now been cruelly shattered:
That we have a Great Father
To whom we can hand with closed eyes
The task of taking the fateful decisions.

For the sake of our future,
We must put an end to the conflict
By dialogue and agreement
With the Palestinian people.

There is no other way.

No one but ourselves
Can take
This decision

Gush Shalom's Friday ad in Haaretz

A legacy lacking // Akiva Eldar

End of infancy // Ofer Shelah,7340,L-3196121,00.html

The strong man // David Grossman,2763,1680520,00.html

From muscle to mystery // Amos Oz,10551,1681125,00.html

End of the Sharon era, but the damage has been done // Daniel Breslau

Napoleon, made in Israel // Uri Avnery

Egyptian Chief of Staff remembers

The journey to Gaza // Gideon Levy

Sharon's legacy // Herb Keinon JP

Good-bye, giants of 1948 // Yoel Marcus

Today's choice by Occupation Magazine


Link for further online sources Constantly updated

NB: The following link is useful for anybody who wants to send protest letters about the occupation - regularly updated:

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TOI-Billboard is the 'ezine' of the independent THE OTHER ISRAEL bi-monthly peace newsletter, existing since 1983, and published by its editors Adam Keller & Beate Zilversmidt.

Selected articles The Other Israel latest printed issue (October 2005) on site:

Visit also the archive under construction of issues since 1994

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