Troubled Soil

With Sharon off the stage, Israel prepares for life after its iconic leader. Why his successor will find it harder to make peace with the Palestinians

Ariel Sharon needed rest. After spending last Wednesday morning in meetings with ministers and security officials at his Jerusalem office, the Israeli Prime Minister decided to go home early. He was due to undergo a heart catheterization the next morning—ordinarily a routine procedure but hardly an appealing prospect for a 77-year-old man recovering from a stroke suffered just a few weeks before. Sharon was driven 56 miles south to his family home, Sycamore Ranch, in the western Negev desert. Friends who talked to him reported that he was in low spirits. At about 9 p.m. he spoke by phone with Israel's...

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