SHARON, BUSH, AND ARAFAT
At the core of this chapter lie three interlocking personalpolitical narratives. The first belongs to Ariel Sharon, whose passage from marginality and controversy to the center of Israeli politics brought him to a point where choices that ran against the grain of his biography had to be made. The second is that of Yasser Arafat, who for thirty-five years had been successful in building and keeping for himself the position of both symbol and interpreter of Palestinian nationalism. Throughout this period he was able to impose his vision of the goals of that nationalism, discarding several opportunities to settle for less. The years 2000–2003 put that personal role into particularly stark relief. And the third is that of George W. Bush, who began his presidency reluctant to deal with Arab-Israeli affairs but soon found himself immersed in the politics of the Middle East and in the effort to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.