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.