Ariel Sharon's Stroke

| Thu Jan. 5, 2006 1:44 PM EST

In the wake of Ariel Sharon's "significant" stroke, a number of commenters are discussing what this means for the future of Israel. Jonathan Zasloff tries to figure out what this means for the major parties—Labor, Likud, and Sharon's recently-formed Kadima party—in the upcoming Israeli elections. Jonathan Edelstein, meanwhile, wonders what Sharon's illness means for the upcoming Palestinian elections (if there are elections, of course):

Sharon's disability is bound to affect the Palestinian electoral balance; the only question is how. The Palestinians might view the situation as a political opening – they remember Sharon less for the Gaza withdrawal than for the settlements and Sabra-Shatila, and a conciliatory centrist like Olmert or an unknown quantity like Livni might carry less emotional baggage and spur the hope of a return to negotiations. In that event, Fatah might benefit at the polls. On the other hand, if the Palestinian electorate sees a moment of Israeli weakness, or if it looks like Kadima is collapsing and Netanyahu is gaining the upper hand, then the spoils might go to Hamas.
And Helena Cobban lays out a few additional concerns here. See also Shmuel Rosner's piece in Slate.