UNT Expert on the Future of Israel without Sharon's leadership

Friday, January 6, 2006

After suffering a massive, life-threatening stroke on Wednesday and undergoing three surgeries to stem bleeding from his brain, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is unlikely to recover sufficiently to return to politics, based on the comments of his attending physicians.

Sharon’s departure from the political science "will leave Israeli domestic politics and the peace process in a state of uncertainty and confusion," according to Dr. Emile Sahliyeh (EE-mill s-LAY-yuh), University of North Texas associate professor of political science with specialities in international relations and Middle East politics.

A native of Jerusalem and a former Brookings Institute fellow in Middle Eastern studies, Sahliyeh is the author of the books "The PLO After the Lebanon War;" " In Search of Leadership: West Bank Politics Since 1967;" and the forthcoming "The Predicament of Democracy in the Arab World." He has also written chapters on Middle Eastern politics for several anthologies.

Sahliyeh notes that since Sharon became prime minister in 2001, he has become "a strong voice for bringing security and peace to Israel."

"This is evidenced in his decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and to dismantle the Israeli settlements," he said. "It is also evidenced in his decision to leave the Likud Party, which he founded along with (Israeli) Prime Minister (Menachem) Begin 30 years ago, due to the inflexible stands of the party toward the future of the peace process and Israel’s withdrawal from parts of the West Bank."

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