Sunday, Dec. 19, 2004

Ariel Sharon

Standing resolute, Israel's Prime Minister survived a corruption scandal, outlasted his archrival Yasser Arafat and plowed ahead with a bold plan to remove Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip. Branded a traitor by the settler movement he had fueled as an Agriculture Minister in the 1970s, Sharon, here at his Negev ranch, finally acknowledged that the "sword alone" would never provide Israel with true security. Whether the old hawk will prove himself a peacemaker once the Palestinians have elected a new leader is an open question.