the solid center and left of Jewish Israel, the country's majority, who want to trade land for peace and reach a stable two-state solution, are tuning into their televisions this day with heavy hearts. They realize that the best hope for peace, that most unlikely of peacemakers, is exiting the stage and that a vista of turmoil and uncertainty has opened up. To be sure, Israel's political structure remains solid and reassuring. But at this bewildering moment, for those interested in progress in the peace process, there is little reason for hope.
And I agree, too, with his review of Sharon's past:
It is too early to assess Ariel Sharon's legacy. To be sure, he will be remembered as one of Israel's great field commanders, the wily, bulldozing general who cracked the Egyptian bastion at Um Katef-Abu Awgeila in 1967 and led the crossing of the Suez Canal in 1973, turning the tables in the Yom Kippur War. With greater ambiguity, he will go down as the defense minister who orchestrated the 1982 invasion of Lebanon that, paradoxically, set Yasir Arafat on the road to Oslo and (however insincerely) peace with Israel.
Mr. Sharon will also be known as the chief architect of the Likud Party's settlement drive in the occupied territories. His defeat, as prime minister, of the second Palestinian intifada will doubtless be carefully studied, once the hysteria and hype die down, as a model of a relatively clean, successful counterinsurgency.