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Monday, Jan. 09, 2006 at 7:55 PM
"Netanyahu has the inside track on winning the election and forming the government - by a narrow margin. One of the more likely outcomes is that voters who would have gone with Sharon to Kadima will be less likely to support Olmert. They will come home to Likud," said Gerald Steinberg, a professor of political studies at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv.
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Now clinging to life in an intensive-care unit, ARIEL SHARON is poised to exit Israel’s political scene, leaving Benjamin Netanyahu a chance of his life to lead the country, although the scramble to succeed SHARON will be muted for a few weeks, in case he dies, out of respect.
SHARON's health deterioration comes just months before Israel’s crucial election, scheduled to be held in March to decide on the fate of Sharon's newly formed centrist political party, Kadima.
In an article published on CommonDreams.com, Norman Solomon suggests that Netanyahu, a 56-year old member of the Likud Party, fluent in American idioms as he spend the early years of his life in the U.S., telegenic to many eyes -- and good at lying on camera, is awaiting the death of ailing Sharon to take over, with plans to attack Iran, while Ehud Olmert, 60, sits atop a brand-new party, the Kadima party, which Sharon created a few weeks ago, and expected to prove ephemeral without him.
"A lot will depend on Sharon's medical condition. Under the rosiest scenario, he's in hospital for a week or two and when he gets out he's in a wheelchair, able to be brought around from place to place to say, `Vote for my party. I won't be leading it; I will be advising it,'" political analyst Reuven Hazan said. "That's a completely different scenario from one in which he dies ... or goes back to the farm to sit and watch the poppies grow."
When Israel forces killed 21 Palestinians and wounded over 100 at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1990, Netanyahu led a disinformation campaign, claiming that the Israeli police killed those Palestinians because they pelted Jewish worshipers from above the Wailing Wall with stones.
Riots spread throughout the occupied Palestinian lands. And although Israeli judge, Ezra Kama ruled on July 19, 1991 that the police, not the Palestinians, provoked the violence at the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, Netanyahu’s fable dominated much of the U.S. media.
Now Netanyahu, poised to win Israel’s March elections to be the Prime Minister, is cranking up rhetoric against Iran, Norman Solomon adds.
In December Netanyahu was quoted as saying that, “when I form the new Israeli government, we’ll do what we did in the past against Saddam’s reactor, which gave us 20 years of tranquility.”
The 56 year old head of Israel’s Likud Party was referring to Israel’s 1981 strike against Osiraq reactor in Iraq, claiming that it was aimed at preventing Saddam’s regime from developing nuclear weapons.
But trying to do the same to Iran today; bombing the Islamic republic’s nuclear facilities would seem nonsensical even to those who are enthusiastic about Israel’s large nuclear arsenal, estimated at 200 warheads.
“Preemptive military attack is not a strategy for stopping the spread of nuclear weapons anymore; the changes in technology have made it obsolete”- the latest assessment from Larry Derfner.
“Concealing a nuclear start-up is so much easier now than it was in 1981 and it’s only going to get easier yet. Throwing fighter jets, commandos and whatnot at Iran is more than risky; it’s almost certainly futile if not altogether impossible. Better for Israel and Israelis to forget about it and instead meet the Iranian threat by making this country’s deterrent power even more intimidating than it already is.”
“A nuclear Iran isn’t a cause for indifference but neither is it a cause for dread and certainly not for recklessness. A nuclear Iran is actually acceptable. We can live with it. The truth is we’ve been living here with threats very much like it all along,” he added.
Netanyahu had on many occasions expressed his persistence to launch a military strike on Iran. “This is the Israeli government’s primary obligation,” he was once quoted as saying. “If it is not done by the current government, I plan to lead the next government to stop the Iranians.”
Numerous media reports and military sources revealed recently that Israel’s armed forces received orders from Ariel Sharon to be ready by the end of March to attack secret Uranium Enrichment Sites in Iran.
More at... http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/review/artic
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