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Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Analysis: Sharon short of new ideas
Israeli soldier in Ramallah
Israel's West Bank presence brings limited results

There is one pressing question among Israelis: what can Ariel Sharon do now that he hasn't already tried in the last few months?

Palestinian boys in Ramallah
Deport Palestinians wholesale, say radical right-wingers
Since the end of March he has ordered the Israeli army into, out of and back into most Palestinian towns in the West Bank.

He has put 700,000 Palestinians under military curfew.

He has approved the killing of militant commanders and the arrest of hundreds of suspected militants.

And he has isolated Yasser Arafat in his headquarters in Ramallah.

But despite all that Ariel Sharon has tried, the attacks continue.

Few alternatives

The problem for many Israelis is that no one else has been able to come up with much of alternative.

Ariel Sharon
Sharon: What else could he try?
Almost everything that has been seriously suggested, short of unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, has been tried.

Those in the left-wing, mostly in opposition, still campaign for a return to peace talks.

But that is not a very popular idea at present.

Many Israelis feel the current Palestinian leadership isn't worth talking to.

Tough options

On the far-right wing here there is a feeling that Mr Sharon needs to get tougher and order more intensive military raids, and expel Yasser Arafat.

And some also talk about what they call transfer.

That means the mass deportation of the entire Palestinian population from the West Bank.

But short of adopting the ideas of the left-wing or of the far-right, most expect Ariel Sharon to keep going with more of the same in the hope that somehow things may work out.


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11 Jun 02 | Middle East
18 Jun 02 | Middle East
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