The Palestinians, for their part, will probably welcome Sharon's inclusion: "Israel's peace partners may not like what Sharon says, but they find him credible," says Beyer. "They believe that what he says really is his position, whereas Netanyahu has gained a reputation as being deceptive." And they know that if Sharon has the power to disrupt any deal on the Israeli side, it may be better to have him at the table.
Benjamin Netanyahu has put his government's leading hawk in charge of making peace -- and the Palestinians may actually be happy to deal with him. Naming Ariel Sharon as foreign minister Friday might look like an act of provocation to the Palestinians, who hold him responsible for more than one massacre over the years, but it could advance the peace process. "Netanyahu is doing this to calm the Israeli right wing," says TIME Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer. "The right wing sees him as the staunchest guardian of their interests, and he can bring them on board for Netanyahu's plan to give away another chunk of the West Bank."