Gissin: End the festival of eulogies

Sharon's spokesman holds out hope for the prime minister's return to office.

raanan gissin 88 (photo credit: )
raanan gissin 88
(photo credit: )
Surpassing even Saturday night's relatively optimistic medical prognoses, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's long-time spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin, continued to hold out hope not only for Sharon's recovery, but even for his return to the Prime Minister's Office. "I believe that he has the capability, stamina and life force to pull through," Gissin said. "I have been with the prime minister for 10 years, and I'm optimistic," he said Saturday night on his way to the Hadassah-University Hospital at Ein Kerem, where Sharon is being treated. "He has pulled himself out of worse situations, situations where people didn't think anybody could survive." Gissin was referring to the Battle for Latrun in the 1948 war during which Sharon was shot in the stomach and thigh and barely survived. "Let's stop the festival of eulogies," Gissin said. "These announcements are a bit premature." Gissin said that if Sharon were able to speak "he would say with a cynical smile that in this country there is only extralarge and small, but let's have some moderation." "The press is already writing about funeral arrangements, but he is still alive," Gissin said. "Everything is premature, exaggerated. Why add unwarranted pessimism to the situation? He has come around so many times before when people didn't think he had a chance." Gissin said that talk about funeral arrangements was debasing for the country. "Let's have some dignity," he said. "He may survive it. I would not pretend or presume to be able to make an assessment of what will be. Very few people understand anything about this, and even the neurologists have different opinions. But let us use some caution, show some humility. "He is a real warrior. Don't jump to conclusions about irreversible, terrible brain damage. How do you know? At this point we can't make any assessments." Asked if he believes Sharon would be able to once again serve as prime minister, Gissin said, "I want to believe that. He has come back time and again. He is the type of person who has never given up, and has battled more than stroke." Gissin said that Sharon's family and inner circle had neither lost hope nor were in despair - and that this was rather the purview of those painting a "doomsday" scenario in the media. Regarding reports of arrangements being made for a possible funeral, complete with talk of Presidents Bush and Putin, Prime Minister Blair, UN Secretary-General Annan and other world leaders being ready to fly in, a Foreign Ministry official said - reflecting Gissin's comments - that "everyone is hoping and praying that the prime minister makes a total recovery, and we will deal with different eventualities as they occur." The official said the ministry was prepared to deal with any eventuality.