When the Knesset returned to session last week Sharon entered parliamentary trench warfare, facing two legislative tasks: gaining approval for his disengagement plan, and passing the 2005 budget bill. He failed his first, albeit largely symbolic, test as the Knesset voted to reject his statement combining the two controversial issues.
This unexpected failure led many analysts to wonder if Sharon, the former political wizard, has grown weary and lost his magic. After all, he has lost every political trial since unveiling his plan. In May, the Likud members’ referendum rejected it. In June, Sharon had to amend the details and delay the actual decision on settlement removal in order to get Cabinet approval. Then in August his party convention blocked the entrance of the Labor party to the coalition, a necessary step for widening the plan’s support base.
by Aluf Benn.