The serious great deceiver
Over the many years he has been at the center of the political stage, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has proved - as with his brutal uprooting of the Rafiah Salient settlements he had promised would be there forever - that his promises have no value.
At Tuesday's Mimouna festivities in Ma'aleh Adumim, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised that the main "settlement blocs" in Judea and Samaria would remain under Israeli sovereignty. Over the many years he has been at the center of the political stage, Sharon has proved - as with his brutal uprooting of the Rafiah Salient settlements he had promised would be there forever - that his promises have no value.
This time too, there are more than a few people who believe him. It is imperative, therefore, to warn the residents of the "blocs" that they are relying on a rickety support. Sharon never had any difficulty making promises, and not only in foreign affairs and security matters, and afterward breaking those commitments without any pangs of conscience.
This is perhaps his most dangerous character trait - his lack of a conscience, even when his mistakes are monumental, like those in Lebanon, and his lack of faithfulness to the way he preached and to the people who believed in and followed him.
He will follow this same behavioral pattern with the new believers, the "bloc" believers, who believe now, as his former believers did then, that "it won't happen to us."
Sharon's faithfulness to his blocs speech will be similar to his faithfulness to more than a few of the speeches in which he fervently claimed that Netzarim is no less important than Tel Aviv. The Ma'aleh Adumim speech is just a means to recruit Likud party members to support the uprooting of the settlements in Gush Katif and northern Samaria.
It is also, and no less importantly designed to divide the ranks in Yesha. Sharon assumes that if the residents of the blocs, who constitute the majority of the settlement public, are told that the future of their homes is assured, they will not join the struggle against the uprooting of the rest of the settlements.
Divisiveness among a group of people in a crisis situation - as Sharon probably remembers the results of the rift in the Kibbutz Movement in the 1950s - leads to bitter internal disputes. More energy is expended on such family feuds than on combating the existential threat to the home. Some advice to my brothers in the "blocs" - don't trust him.
There are few commitments this man has not broken. He is even about to break the oath he swore after the uprooting of the Rafiah Salient. Remember, after he destroyed the Sinai settlements in 1982 he asked forgiveness from those who had been uprooted and swore that he would never again uproot that which had been planted.
A few Likud ministers are trying to reason that if the National Religious Party and the National Union leave the government, Labor will take their place. The solution is that by threatening division they can prevent this, just as they can prevent the uprooting plans, if only they had the basic political courage to do so.
The National Union and the NRP, if they want to continue to exist, cannot sit in a government whose policy includes the uprooting of settlements. If there is no more hope, it would be better for the uprooting to be executed by a Likud-Labor government. Thus the political and ideological map in Israel would be redefined.
At a time like this, when the political vision has become blurred, Sharon is an expert at causing the chaos that results from the inability to distinguish between what is permissible and what is forbidden, between the acceptable and the unacceptable. Such a departure from the coalition will also be an important contribution to public-political ethics.
That which is trampled at every forum and, alas, also earns the backing of the circles that speak loftily of public ethics and values. After all, when the wrenching of Jews from their homes - the highest aspiration in more than a few of those circles - is under discussion, the end, even in the eyes of the public ethicists, justifies the means.
Another reason being raised against the departure of the right is that Sharon's timetable leaves a lot of room for tactics that can delay or even lead to the cancellation of the decree. In the conventional political and practical thought in Israel today, these are reasonable arguments, but from the perspective of fundamentals however - and what can be more fundamental and strike deeper at the roots than the uprooting of settlements - there is a limit to what public representatives can allow themselves to do.
These parties must not allow Sharon to trample roughshod over all political norms in the hope that circumstances will develop that will result in the cancellation of the decree - just as the attorney-general is not allowed to permit the leader of the Likud to trample ethical norms.
Even the partners from Labor, however, who are already preparing for their new positions, and each and every citizen of Israel, is not exempt from the following consideration. If Sharon knows how to distinguish between right and wrong and between what is acceptable and what is not, he is not fit to be the prime minister.
That's right. Because he betrays, time after time, his beliefs and the faith of the people who followed him on the path he forged for himself and for others. Anyone who behaves so is liable to revert to his true nature, like the scorpion in the well-known fable, and sting his new partners.
It is all the more unconscionable to join him if he cannot distinguish between right and wrong, as many have recently been claiming, particularly on the background of the criminal suspicions against him. A serial deceiver is a dangerous prime minister.