Ariel Sharon has found himself in a very good political situation
The leader of Israel’s largest opposition party, Amram Mitzna,announced his resignation on Sunday. The reason why is very simple - the Labor Party lost the elections to the Israeli parliament in February of 2003. Yet, it is not clear why it took Mitzna so long to make such a decision.
This is not really important, though: the Labor Party can now hope for ministerial positions in Ariel Sharon's government. The incumbent prime minister is definitely interested in it too.
One has to give Amram Mitzna his due: he has been logically standing up for his point of view regarding the resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. This point of view was originally destined to fail under considering the present sentiments in Israeli society. It would be enough to recollect the basis of Mitzna's pre-election program:
- Israel will unilaterally withdraw its troops from the West Bank. The same is to be done with Jewish settlements on the territory;
- Israel will resume negotiations with Palestinians regarding the issue of the West Bank and Jerusalem.
In addition to this, Mitzna was ready to execute the first part of these promises even if the Palestinians refused to negotiate. It goes without saying that Mitzna's program was totally unacceptable both for the Israeli establishment and for the common people of Israel. Furthermore, this program is not a good one in the present situation either: the implementation of Mitzna's program would mean defeat for the majority of Israelis.
Mitzna's fellow party members were not happy with him either. It was Amram Mitzna who had insisted Labor Party members not become members of Ariel Sharon's new government, although this opportunity was discussed very actively. As soon as the left-wing forces refused to become a part of the new government, those positions were quickly taken by ultra-right parties such as National Unity and Mafdal.
Ariel Sharon has found himself in a very favorable political situation: if ultra-right forces do not accept the plan to regulate the conflict, they will be replaced by Labor Party members. Sharon has something to show to international mediators now, claiming that the Israeli government has politicians who are more moderate in their demands to Palestinians. If ultra-right parties decide that they should not put obstacles in the way, this would not be a great problem either. They will remain in the government, considering that they do not participate in the decision-making process much. At the end of the day, it will not be hard to find a substitute - in the Labor Party, for instance.
In general, Amram Mitzna's resignation is good for everyone. He was a handicap both for his fellow party members and for Ariel Sharon's government. Israeli right and left parties will most likely agree upon something now. Another crisis will occur later and the Labor Party will start looking for a new leader again, just as at the end of last year, when Mitzna became the leader. No one is likely to recollect Mitzna this time, though.