Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Neocons favor Netanyahu over Sharon

World Peace Herald: "Sharon's paradox remains, however, that he leads a remarkably united nation but also an increasingly divided ruling party. Further, and little noted either in Israel or the U.S. press, his determination to pull out of Gaza has angered the politically powerful pro-Israel neo-conservatives who dominate foreign policy making in the Bush administration.

Douglas Feith, under secretary for policy in the Department of Defense has over the years been openly critical of any initiative by any Israeli government to pull back from any territories whatsoever, starting with Gaza. David Wurmser, chief Middle East strategist for Vice President Dick Cheney and Harold Rhode, advisor on Islamic affairs to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are said by White House and Pentagon insiders to have privately expressed exactly the same sentiments.

In fact, the inner circle of neo-conservative intellectuals and policymakers in the Bush administration have never made any secret about their preference for Netanyahu, who shares their free market reforming sentiments and conviction that democracy must be spread around the Middle East to ensure lasting peace. Sharon, by contrast, is a power-focused pragmatist who has always remained at best indifferent to such economic and ideological issues.

Sharon therefore is an increasingly isolated figure in the very circles, both in Israel and Washington, that successive Likud prime ministers have routinely counted on for support over the past quarter century. So far, his high standing among the Israeli public has confounded his detractors in both camps. But their opposition can be expected to grow as he pushes ahead with the policy he deems crucial for his nation's future."

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