It seems as I write this that the uneasy ‘peace’ between Israel and the Arab world stands to be fractured. For those as yet unaware of it, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is fighting for his life after a severe stroke. For some time now, Sharon has been a pivotal figure in peace initiatives between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is, at least to me, an unknown quantity, though he has already warned of military and political reprisals to anyone who might exploit Israel’s moment of weakness.
In and of itself, this would not overly concern me, other than to offer my sympathy to Sharon’s family and his people during a difficult time. Israel and military rhetoric are hardly a new combination, after all. However, the recent comments made by the current potentate in Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are a cause for concern. In addition to comments denying the veracity of the Holocaust, he has suggested that Israel should be ‘wiped off the map’ or at least re-established within North America “in a place where it is actually wanted”. I believe that if Sharon passes away or is simply unable to return to office, as looks likely, there will at least be inflammatory statements made by Iran, possibly leading to conflict. Given the United States’ current concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, this could potentially lead to us wading into a THIRD Middle-Eastern war, one which we can ill afford.
So while I join with George Bush (that sounds very odd, from me) in wishing Mr. Sharon a full recovery and praying for his good health, I pray mostly for continued peace initiatives across the world.