It looks like the race for the leadership of the Likud Party and the race for Israel's Prime Minister is about to heat up like the Negev in the summer with Binyamin Netanyahu throwing his hat in the ring against Ariel Sharon. Now while I've been proud of Sharon's stand against the terrorists of Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and Arafat as well as his determination to build of the security fence seperating Israel from the West Bank to stop the terrorists from bombing buses and Sbarros in Israel but as of late he has been falling over backwards in his efforts to strike a peace deal or accommodate PA leader Abbas. The biggest problem with such a weakened resolve on behalf of Sharon is that it only increases the resolve of your enemies. Take the recent withdrawal from Gaza as an example. While PM Sharon pushed the withdrawal proposal through the Knesset and weathered the challenges in the Israeli Supreme Court, he was lauded for his gesture of peace by the world community. The only problem with this is that Sharon as the IDF withdrew some 8,000 settlers from their homes (where some lived for nearly 30 years) and leaves the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, the Israeli government didn't get any reciprocal actions from the PA like the renouncement or dismantling of terrorist groups that reside in the PA territories and will soon occupy Gaza.
If Israel has learned one thing from the many decades the have battled terrorists, it is that you don't sit down and give your adversary land that they have used terrorism in the past to get you to turn it over to them. Now it's true that Israel has staved off suicide bombers with Sharon's tough stand on terrorism prior to the withdrawal but after giving up the Gaza Strip(I understand the whole strategic reasoning - see here - for bugging out)., you can be rest assurred that the terrorists will be more apt to commit further acts of terrorism to gain more land from Israel. Israel cannot start showing a weakened hand at such perilous times or they'll see a renewal of the bomb-laden teenagers boarding a bus in one of the many cities of Israel and killing countless innocents to see if Israel will jump. We'll in such perilous times like these, with al Qaeda popping up here and there or Hamas moving closer to the border of Israel, the Israeli people cannot afford to have a leader who looks so weakened in the PA or terrorist's eyes. Well this is where Netanyahu's move to challenge Sharon for the leadership of Likud is so important. As an advocate for not giving the terrorist any quarter without getting something in return as well as being a strong, resolute and well-spoken member of the Knesset (not to mention former PM), Netanyahu will return Isreal to a position of strength. All you have to do is look at what he said in his press conference announcing his candidacy for PM. Here's what the Jerusalem Post reported Netanyahu said to a hall of supporters:
"Our country faces many difficult challenges in the realms of security, the struggle against corruption, and others, and I believe that only one party can take on these challenges and lead the country," Netanyahu began.Now you tell me if this is not a man who understands the stakes at hand. With Gaza gone, Israel cannot afford to cede the remaining land of the West Bank and Jerusalem to the Palestinians without something in return. Luckily Netanyahu is not one to back away from his promises that peace deals will only occur with the PA if they dismantles the terrorist groups that threaten to destroy Israel. I'll give Sharon his due for bravely serving his country and threatening his political career to do so but I think it's time for new blood to take over the reigns of Israel and Netanyahu is the man to do it. So good luck BiBi and hopefully you can lead Israel well into the future.
"Lately, the Likud, like the whole country, has been greatly shaken up," Netanyahu said, gearing his caustic comments at Sharon.
"The Likud needs a leader who can unite the nation and repair the fissure developing in the country and in the party, someone who represents the [Likud's] principles. I believe that I can do that.
"Therefore I am announcing my candidacy for the head of the party and the premiership," Netanyahu declared. His announcement was met with energetic applause from the audience.