OCCUPATION….Is this good news?

Under a torrent of criticism from his right-wing party, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon uttered words Monday that few fellow Israelis ever expected to hear from the battle-hardened political hawk: The nation must end its occupation of Palestinian lands.

“It is not possible to continue holding 3 1/2 million people under occupation,” Sharon told an assembly of enraged lawmakers from his Likud Party. “You may not like the word, but what’s happening is occupation. This is a terrible thing for Israel, for the Palestinians and for the Israeli economy.”

As usual, most of the reaction revolves around the question of whether he really means it. Is Sharon bucking for a place in history, or just saying something to appease George Bush?

I sure don’t know. But at the very least I guess you can say that this isn’t bad news, and in the Middle East that’s about as close to good news as we usually get.

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