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Sharon Attempts to Save Political Career

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon verbally attacked his rival, Binyamin Netanyahu, on Monday, in a bid to salvage his political career.

“A man like that cannot lead the country,” Sharon said during a televised interview for Israel’s Channel 10, explaining that Netanyahu “panics and loses his mind.”

Netanyahu, as well as other members of Sharon’s Likud party, have criticized Sharon for initiating the withdrawal from Gaza. Many Likud members believe the initiative contradicts the party’s philosophy and analysts are talking about an irreparable rift in the Likud.

With the completion of the withdrawal, Israel seems likely to face early elections.

Netanyahu, a former prime minister, opposed the pullout and stepped down from his position as finance minister days before the Gaza withdrawal began.

Sharon also said in the interview that not all the communities in the West Bank will remain, hinting that if he stays in power, further withdrawals from post-1967 territories are on the agenda.

However, he stressed that the Gaza withdrawal was a one-off event and that the next phase will be in accord with the Road Map. “I’m not going to be carrying out another disengagement,” he said.

He also stressed that large blocs of communities “which have great importance” will remain in Israeli hands.