Roger L. Simon

Grim news from Jerusalem

According to Haaretz, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has probably suffered irreversible brain damage that would preclude his ever resuming office, Sharon’s doctors acknowledged Thursday night. There’s llittle more depressing than those three words with the initials i. b. d.

Meanwhile, the NYT has an editorial tomorrow that is suprisingly (and hearteningly) generous to Sharon, a man toward whom they were often unkind. It concludes:

It is possible that Kadima, with Mr. Sharon’s deputy, Ehud Olmert, likely to be at the helm, can cast itself as a new centrist alternative to Labor and Likud. But Mr. Olmert, while a respected politician who helped formulate the Sharon doctrine of unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, has neither the stature nor the popularity of Ariel Sharon. So while Mr. Sharon would probably have been able to carry Israel on the back of his own charisma and appeal, Mr. Olmert is likely to have to rely instead on the appeal of Kadima’s vision.

That vision cannot be one that relies solely on unilateral separation. For a centrist way to work, there has to be a vision that also encompasses the steps necessary to eventually end the seemingly never-ending conflict with the Palestinians, including a complete enough withdrawal from the West Bank to give the Palestinians a workable state. It would secure Mr. Sharon’s place in history if the centrist party he founded somehow managed to turn his vision of separation into one of a just and lasting peace.

I’m rooting for Olmert and Kadima and the legacy of Sharon. I can’t see how it’s possible not to.