Sharon will not return. The collectedly held breath has slowly exhaled, and Israel, and the world, as done all the mourning necessary until Sharon has departed this mortal coil.
Signs of return to “normalcy” in Israel begin with how the incapacitated Prime Minister is being treated. The government’s attorney general is declaring Ehud Olmert as a “temporary PM” instead of bowing to reality, as a technicality to prevent a reshuffling of the cabinet just before the already-scheduled elections in March. Sharon, I think, would approve of this bit of manipulation. A correctly functioning government, on the other hand, would take the 100-day technicality as law (it is), and not a guiding thought.
The Likud, having halted its withdrawal from government in the days following Sharon’s collapse, decided that that ploy would not garner them any more votes, and withdrew. Netanyahu, the right wing party’s head, has announced the next bright idea in garnering votes now that sympathy has failed: act more centrist.
Sorry, too late. Sharon’s legacy has created a centrist party, and the Likud can only survive by standing to its right. Like a celestial body moving into the gravitic control of a much larger object, the closer the Likud gets to Kadima, the more of its critical mass will shed and fall into the Kadima camp, and the more the more radical components of Likud will spin off and move into more comfortable orbits of their own. If Netanyahu isn’t careful, he’ll end up destroying the Likud.