Ten years ago, I went with John Major to Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral. His assassination had a great impact on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. There have been huge disconcerting similarities between what happened to Rabin and what has happened to Ariel Sharon. Both of them were hawks and when they became prime ministers, they understood brute force was not enough to get peace and security. Sharon, of course, has been much more controversial than Rabin for he has also been an extreme right wing ideologist who participated in the invasion of Lebanon and the Sabra and Shatila massacre. In addition, he made colonization stronger and triggered the second intifada in year 2000.
Nonetheless, Sharon had a credibility that allowed him to lead people to accept the creation of a Palestinian state. That’s why he broke with the Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu. His disappearance marks the beginning of an uncertain chapter for Israel. However, not to believe in miracles in that country is not being realistic.

The Independent (U.K.)

The hawk who offered the best chance of making peace”, by Malcolm Rifkind, The Independent, January 8, 2006.