The whitewashing of Ariel Sharon

The ‘man of courage and peace’ story ignores his bloody and ruthless past.

From the beginning to the end of his career, Sharon was a man of ruthless and often gratuitous violence. The waypoints of his career are all drenched in blood, from the massacre he directed at the village of Qibya in 1953, in which his men destroyed whole houses with their occupants — men, women and children — still inside, to the ruinous invasion of Lebanon in 1982, in which his army laid siege to Beirut, cut off water, electricity and food supplies and subjected the city’s hapless residents to weeks of indiscriminate bombardment by land, sea and air.

As a purely gratuitous bonus, Sharon and his army later facilitated the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, and in all about 20,000 people — almost all innocent civilians — were killed during his Lebanon adventure.

The UN condemned the refugee camp massacres and even Israel said Sharon was indirectly responsible. Yet this thug, aided and abetted by US givernment policy, continued his blood-splattered rise to power.

Sharon’s approach to peacemaking in recent years wasn’t very different from his approach to war. Extrajudicial assassinations, mass home demolitions, the construction of hideous barriers and walls, population transfers and illegal annexations — these were his stock in trade as "a man of courage and peace."

His much-ballyhooed withdrawal from Gaza left 1.4 million Palestinians in what is essentially the world’s largest prison, cut off from the rest of the world and as subject to Israeli power as before. It also terminated the possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict by condemning Palestinians to whiling away their lives in a series of disconnected Bantustans, ghettos, reservations and strategic hamlets, entirely at the mercy of Israel.

That’s not peace. As Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull would have recognized at a glance, it’s an attempt to pacify an entire people by bludgeoning them into a subhuman irrelevance. Nothing short of actual genocide — for which Sharon’s formula was merely a kind of substitute — would persuade the Palestinian people to quietly accept such an arrangement, or negate themselves in some other way. And no matter which Israeli politician now assumes Sharon’s bloody mantle, such an approach to peace will always fail.

Sharon pretended they’d searched the houses at Qibya first. He was lying.

From Wikipedia

"Major General Vagn Bennike, chief of staff of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization (which investigated the scene the next day) said: "one story was repeated time after time: the bullet splintered door, the body sprawled across the threshold, indicating that the inhabitants had been forced by heavy fire to stay inside until their homes were blown up over them."

On October 18, 1953, the U.S. State Department issued a bulletin denouncing the Qibya raid, demanding that those responsible be ‘brought to account.’"

More on Qibya

Israel would not exist without the military support and billions of dollars in aid the US gives it each year. The Israeli tail does not wag the American dog. The decades-old US plan for hegemony in the Middle East depends considerably upon having Israel there to do its bidding. Thus, the blood on Sharon’s hands is also on the US government’s hands too.

While I feel compassion on a personal level for anyone leveled by a stroke like Sharon has been, I will not pretend to mourn his passing from the political arena. He was a butcher.

Lefti on the News notes the Richard Becker talk we podcasted yesterday contains a considerable discussion of Sharon and the atrocities at Qibya, Sabra, and Shatila (it’s about 43 minutes in), something I forgot to mention. Check it out. Becker’s knowledge of the area and history coupled with his political analysis, is something you don’t often hear in these days of carefully scrubbed media.