As usual, the media has made the fatal assumption that with the ill health of Ariel Sharon, somehow the peace process will be derailed. Nothing could be further from the truth. What is being missed by the nay-sayers is that Sharon did not start a movement but responded to public sentiment regarding continued involvement in the disputed territories. Israeli's have been wanting a separate peace. They've been burned too many times in the past to trust any comprehensive peace package, so the current enthusiasm for a separation from the Palestinians may allow them time to sort themselves out. Everything in the past two years has been building toward this and with the illness that has come over Sharon, it can be expected that this process to accelerate, not fall by the wayside. Unfortunately for the Palestinians, continued unrest, violence and political instability will be the watchwords for the New Year. Widely missed or rather ignored by the mainstream media has been the continued unrest along the Gaza strip. At a border crossing earlier this week, between 300 and 3000 (Fatah and the Egytian authorities disagree on the actual number) Palestinians crossed the border illegally into Egypt. Hamas grows bolder, and Fatah is attempting to put off future elections. It is indeed an interesting time that we live in. -- Solomon Shorter, Jr.