Sharon's unilateral disengagement from the Likud

Sharon vowed Monday that, if he were re-elected prime minister, there would be no more unilateral withdrawals.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed on Monday that, if he were re-elected prime minister, there would be no more unilateral withdrawals. But that didn't stop him from embarking on his plan to unilaterally disengage from the Likud. Sharon blamed his departure from the Likud on his political opponents, who he suggested would stymie his future diplomatic initiatives. He neglected to shoulder any of the blame for the split in the party. A major reason for the breakup is that Sharon likes to act alone. He consults with many people but ultimately makes all his decisions by himself. As a soldier, Sharon gained a reputation for ignoring the orders of his superiors and devising his own military strategy. The same approach that Sharon used on military battlefields in the Suez Canal and Lebanon he now employs on the diplomatic and political battlefields. Sharon exploited the lack of a Palestinian partner to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip on his own terms. Now he is using the behavior of the Likud rebels as an excuse to form a political party where he will be free of the restraints of annoying Likud institutions like its central committee. Once Sharon achieves his political independence, he will likely start working toward achieving diplomatic independence. His advisers have already hinted that if the road map peace plan falls through, Sharon will likely try to draw Israel's borders on his own. The ideal situation for Sharon would be to have a political party with no dissent, like Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in Shas and Yosef Lapid in Shinui, and a world where no country ever pressures Israel and he can draw Israel's borders without having to talk to any Palestinians. The man who redrew Israel's map in the summer single-handedly redrew Israel's political map in the fall. Israel's voters will draw their own conclusions in the spring. They could decide to give Sharon the freedom to decide the country's future. Or they might send Sharon back to the Negev to count his sheep unilaterally on his ranch.