Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for more than seven months, suffered a further deterioration in his health Monday, according to the hospital where he is being treated.
A new scan showed a deterioration in his brain function, his urine output has decreased significantly and a chest scan showed that he has a new infection in his lungs, according to Anat Dolev, spokeswoman for the Chaim Sheba Medical Center.
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Sharon's stroke came after he saw through his contentious plan to withdraw Israel from the Gaza Strip after 38 years. Just two months before the stroke, Sharon shook up the Israeli political map by bolting his hard-line Likud Party to form the centrist Kadima faction.
After the stroke, Sharon's successor, Ehud Olmert, led Kadima to victory in a March 28 vote and became prime minister.
We'll never know what might have happened, had he not taken ill. He seemed to be trending toward what in my opinion was a more constructive engagement with the Palestinians. The last time an Israeli leader veered toward a less militant and more conciliatory position resulted in '95 in the assassination of Ytzhak Rabin, and the ascendence of the hard right in Israel, under the leadership of Bibi Netanyahu.
And based on recent events in Lebanon, it seems Olmert, either on his own or under pressure from other members of his coalition government, feels a need to move back to the right.