In the pacifist movement, many of us pray for Ariel Sharon’s recovery, despite having considered him an obstacle for peace in the long term. Even when we have never wished death to anybody, including our enemies, we do hope that people like the Iranian president, or Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, or President George Bush himself could leave their posts peacefully. For many peace militants, the events occurred over the pat few months spark the hope that Sharon may stay in power for the next six months.
And the reason is that Sharon did what nobody in the left could do: to divide the right, to marginalize extremists clung to the idea that Israel was originated by a divine mandate, and to recognize that a more concentrated Israel, with defendable borders, was better than a Great Israel willing to dominate three million Palestinians.
Sharon was not a speaker, but a man of action. When he realized that prolonging 39 years of occupation would mean that Israel could no even have the support of its most enthusiastic allies, he evacuated thousands of settlers from Gaza and withdrew the troops to the borders set up in 1967.
It was due to his unscrupulous military past, unaware of the human situation of the Palestinian people, that Sharon was able to include complete sectors of the Israeli society into the process of creation of a Palestinian state. It’s true that these people don’t care about the West Bank issue because of religious reasons, but they do care about their threatened-by-Palestinian-terrorism own security. He had a great legitimacy within electorate. Sharon’s political disappearance is a terrible loss for those who expected to build peace gradually.

The Age (Australia)

An old warrior who might have won the peace”, by rabbi Michael Lerner The Age - Sydney and The Berkeley Daily Planet, January 6, 2006.