Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Man of Peace

The Moose praises a leader who is willing to take risks for peace.

It is rare these days to find a world leader who is willing to defy his political base to achieve a worthy goal. We talk much of "political courage", but it is rare to find a politician who will actually put his life in jeopardy to bring peace.

On such leader is Israeli Prime Minister Arik Sharon. A few years back, President Bush was ridiculed in some "smart" circles for describing Sharon as a "man of peace." He has proven to be just that.

As Israel moves forward with the Gaza pullback, Sharon is facing down thousands and thousands of demonstrators. The New York Times reports,

"More than 20,000 Israeli protesters, many clad in orange, rallied Monday evening in southern Israel to protest the planned withdrawal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip. But soldiers and the police, who were present in only slightly smaller numbers, blocked their route to the coastal territory.

"With the Gaza evacuation just a month away, the rally was seen as a test, both of the strength of the demonstrators and of the willingness of the security forces to face them down."

A threat of low-level civil war hangs over Israel in the wake of the Gaza withdrawal. And given the fate of Rabin, the threats from the ultra-right to Sharon's life are real. In essence, Sharon is putting his life on the line challenging some of the very forces that put him in power.

Credit is also due Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas whose security troops recently fought Hamas. However, his efforts have been far too tepid. Hamas attacks against Israelis continue and last week there was yet another suicide bombing in Israel.

It has become fashionable in some quarters to blame suicide bombers on "occupation". Of course, "occupation" may be one of the grievances of the jihadists just as "occupation" of the Sudetenland was a issue for the Nazis. Hamas and other Islamic extremists, however, are inflamed by the "occupation" of Haifa more than Hebron. The jihadists are motivated by a fascist ideology that seeks to force their enemies into appeasement and abandonment of their allies.

These days, there are few profiles in political courage. Sharon deserves our praise and admiration.
-- Posted at 10:24 AM | Link to this post | Email this post