November 22, 2005


Netanyahu: Sharon is a 'dictator' (Guardian Unlimited, November 22, 2005)

Benjamin Netanyahu, the leading contender to take over Israel's beleaguered Likud party, today called the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, a "dictator" who had abandoned the party's true path. [...]

Opinion polls suggest Mr Sharon's new "National Responsibility" party - which has still to be officially named - is likely to win a close race with the Labour party, putting Likud a distant third.

But Mr Netanyahu today warned against reading too much into early surveys. "It starts like that, but people will return to the warm home of the Likud ... they will return to the principles of the Likud," he said.

"Many of the voters who ostensibly are following Sharon don't believe in running amok and handing over land with your eyes closed ... that is not how you make peace."

He said Mr Sharon was a leader who pursued a "one-man rule, who apparently doesn't recognise democracy, and is setting up a party of puppets".

Speaking to Israel's Army Radio, he said: "What does it matter whether the dictator has this type of smile, or that type of sense of humour? It all leads to tyranny."

Mr Netanyahu initially supported the Gaza pullout plan, which enjoyed widespread public backing but was vehemently opposed by some settlers and hardliners. However, he turned against it shortly before it was carried out.

Commentators have said Mr Sharon's move to leave Likud - which he helped found in the 70s and turn into the dominant force in Israeli politics - will push the party to the margins of the right.

Mr. Netanyahu opposed the best interests of his country in favor of what he thought was his own political interest, only to discover he's marginalized himself. Knowing the voters are going to overwhelmingly reject you doesn't exactly make your opponent a dictator, though Democrats here seem to think that way too.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 22, 2005 1:38 PM

Sharon Derangement Syndrome, I see...

Posted by: b at November 22, 2005 4:03 PM

All that work the last four years figuring out how to undercut Sharon within his own party, and then the %#%#^&*@!$% goes and quits on his own. No wonder Bibi is a little peeved...

Posted by: John at November 22, 2005 4:17 PM

New Likud: Now principle-free internationally, too.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 22, 2005 6:08 PM

Bibi is a shrewd cookie, he will be back.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 22, 2005 11:19 PM