By Ryan Jones - Jerusalem Newswire - November 22, 2005
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Monday told Israelis his new political party is committed to implementing the Road Map peace plan, and assured those listening that further unilateral withdrawals are not on his agenda.
It is a promise Sharon has made before in order to get elected.
And judging by the results of a public opinion poll conducted earlier this month by the One Nation movement, the vast majority of Israelis aren't buying it.
Some 70 percent of his countrymen believe that Sharon will retreat from large parts of Judea and Samaria in his quest to draw Israel's final borders, a move that will necessitate the removal of at least 80,000 Jews from their homes.
Earlier polls all showed widespread opposition to further withdrawals, even in the framework of a final peace agreement with the “Palestinians.”
Media analyst Dr. Aaron Lerner said Sharon's deliberate softening of what most believe to be his true intentions is likely a ploy to “allow [Israelis] to feel comfortable voting for his party.”
“It remains to be seen if such an approach boomerangs as the public resents the insult to their intelligence,” Lerner said.
Later Monday, the originally-proposed name for Sharon's new party, “National Responsibility,” was apparently rejected either by the prime minister's circle of advisers or the national election commission.
The name being thrown around Tuesday for the breakaway faction was “Kadima” - Hebrew for “forward.”
It seems a fitting revision considering the aptly-nicknamed “Bulldozer” has proved himself determined to implement his policies, be they responsible or not.
Ultra-leftist politician Yossi Beilin summed up the day by noting Sharon's formation of a new party unshackling him from the Likud's “Land of Israel” platform is “a big victory for supporters of sharing [sovereignty over] the land” with those who deny Israel's historic and biblical right to exist.
Beilin hopes Sharon does manage to win a third term as prime minister, confident that if he does, the aging warrior will sign over to the Palestinian Arabs Israel's entire biblical heartland, including the eastern half of Jerusalem.