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Ariel Sharon's Criminal Legacy

Ariel Sharon's Criminal Legacy

by Stephen Lendman

Gilad Sharon chronicled his father's life. He wrote his biography. It's titled "Sharon: The Life of a Leader." It discusses his history from soldier to general to political leader.

According to Gilad, his father "was a much better prime minister" than Netanyahu. He was Sharon's finance minister. He claimed he "gave and gave and gave."

"Palestinians got and got and got, and my question is, what did we get? Nothing and nothing and nothing."

"What the public wants to know is when will it get a prime minister who stops putting wind in the sails of terrorists and begins to demand things in return for concessions."

Gilad calls Netanyahu "subversive." He's "coward(ly)," he added. He left unexplained his father's blood-drenched career. Evil best describes it.

He committed multiple high crimes against peace. A special place in hell awaits him.

Some call him Israel's most Nietzschean leader. Others consider him the devil incarnate.

He was 85 years old. He was in stroke-induced coma. He clung to vegetative life for eight years. He faded. He's gone.

Eulogies were ready to be published. Israel calls them havatzelets. They're prepared in advance obits.

They're written ahead of notable figures' deaths. Sharon's are now being published.

His vital signs were weak. His kidneys failed. He clung to life for eight years. He's gone.

He was a rogue figure writ large for decades. He's responsible for numerous crimes of war and against humanity. He was Machievellian. He was a terrorist turned statesman.

He never changed his ways. He was responsible for regional violence and instability for decades. More on this below.

Why Israelis admire him they'll have to explain. Haaretz contributor Rogel Alpher said they don't "judge him like other prime ministers..."

"(H)e made them feel good about themselves." His status "was reserved for him alone." He was considered "beyond good and evil."

He was "outside the realm of moral judgment." Criminality and corruption accusations didn't stick. They "enhanced his popularity." He was "above criticism."

Reagan was called America's teflon president. Sharon was above reproach. He belongs in prison, not high office. He got carte blanche to do what he wanted.

His highest of high crimes went unpunished. His rap sheet is one of the region's worst. According to Alpher, he had no concept of justice. He did what he wanted with impunity.

He was cold-blooded. He was ruthless. He deplored peace. Accolades he got were undeserving. His military and political agenda reflects mass slaughter and destruction.

He committed high crimes too grave to ignore. He waged war on Islam. He terrorized Palestinians and neighboring countries.

He represents the worst of Zionist extremism. He devoted his military and political career to working for a Greater Israel. He believed mass slaughter and destruction further it.

His family members were Jewish nationalists. His autobiography "Warrior" said so. His father Samuil and grandfather were "Jewish nationalist(s), pure and simple," he said.

They had "no political allegiances whatsoever, not to socialism or communism or anything else."

Samuil always wanted to emigrate to Palestine. In 1921, he did so. In 1928, Ariel was born.

When he was 13, his father gave him a dagger. It "was symbolic, to protect ourselves from our enemies," he said. It was a "lesson" he "never" forgot.

Prior to joining the Haganah (the IDF's forerunner), he became a Jewish Settlement Police member. He fought in Israel's so-called War of Independence.

He got firsthand combat experience. He later used it in other campaigns. He prioritized "strik(ing) first and hardest."

"(A)lways escalate," he said. He remained a soldier. He rose to the rank of general. He never became IDF chief of staff.

Arrogance, insubordination, recklessness, and going his own way denied him. His military and political superiors deplored his attitude.

He lied for self-serving reasons. He disobeyed orders freely. He did  often. Israel's Golani Brigade is one of its most ruthless.

In February 1948, David Ben-Gurion established it. He did so to ethnically cleanse Palestinians. Sharon was one of its first commanders.

Earlier he headed the notorious Alexandroni Brigade. Death squad killers filled its ranks.

Golanis operate the same way. They're responsible for numerous massacres. They committed them from inception to today.

In 1953, Sharon established Unit 101. It reigned terror on defenseless Palestinian civilians. It did so indiscriminately. It targeted young, old and helpless victims.

In August 1953, it attacked El-Bureig refugee camp in southern Gaza. Dozens of Palestinians were slaughtered.

In October 1953, Jordan's Qibya village was attacked. Then Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett said the "stain would stick to us and not be washed away for many years."

Israeli historian Avi Shlaim described what happened as follows:

"Sharon's order was to penetrate Qibya, blow up houses and inflict heavy casualties on its inhabitants."

"His success in carrying out the order surpassed all expectations. The full and macabre story of what happened at Qibya was revealed only during the morning after the attack."

"The village had been reduced to rubble: forty-five houses had been blown up, and sixty-nine civilians, two thirds of them women and children, had been killed."

"Sharon and his men claimed that they believed that all the inhabitants had run away and that they had no idea that anyone was hiding inside the houses."

A UN observer at the time explained otherwise, saying:

"One story was repeated time after time: the bullet splintered door, the body sprawled across the threshhold, indicating that the inhabitants had been forced by heavy fire to stay inside until their homes were blown up over them."

Sharon's forces went house to house. They systematically murdered their occupants. They did so in cold blood.

Sharon atrocities repeated for decades. In August 1971, his forces destroyed 2,000 Gaza homes. Doing so displaced 16,000 Palestinians.

Hundreds of Palestinian men were arrested. They were brutally treated. They were deported to Jordan and Lebanon.

Hundreds of relatives of suspected Palestinian freedom fighters were exiled to Sinai. Dozens of militants were murdered in cold blood.

In 1982, Sharon was Menachem Begin's defense minister. On June 6, Israel invaded Lebanon. Fighting lasted nearly a year.

An Israeli false flag was pretext. Arafat was falsely blamed for Abu Nidal militants' attempted assassination of Israeli UK ambassador Shlomo Argov.

Israel got the war it wanted. Sharon was called the "Butcher of Beirut." Up to 20,000 Palestinians were massacred. Southern Lebanon remained occupied until May 2000. Israel still illegally holds Sheba Farms.

It's a 14-square mile water-rich area. It's near Syria's Golan. It's been lawlessly occupied since 1967.

Sabra and Shatila remain symbols of Sharonian ruthlessness. Around 18,000 Palestinians were slaughtered.

It turned out the way he planned. He let Phalangist fascists do his dirty work. Palestinian civilians were massacred in cold blood. Women were raped multiple times before being killed. Children were murdered like adults.

Whole families were shot, stabbed, bludgeoned to death, or buried dead or alive under homes. Some were tortured before dying. Bodies were decapitated.

Corpses were charred and violated. Eyes were gouged out. Faces were unrecognizable.

Sharon maliciously planned it. He led it. He called it "ridding the world of the center of international terrorism." No one to this day was punished.

Yitzhak Kahan headed an Israeli commission of inquiry. Its findings damaged Sharon. It didn't go far enough. On September 16, 1982, Sharon-directed Philangist death squads entered the camps.

Killings began "almost immediately." Militiamen entered homes. They began "slitting throats, axing, shooting, and raping, often taking groups outside and lining them up for execution."

"There was virtually no resistance. Only a very few camp residents" had small arms for protection. Slaughter continued until around sunset September 18.

Kahan Commission findings fell short of damning. Sharon's reputation was damaged. He wasn't held accountable. His actions were called "blunders."

He "failed to take appropriate measures" to prevent what happened, commission members said.

Sharon ordered mass murder. He directed it. He led it. He unleashed its full ferocity. He's fully responsible. Accountability didn't follow.

He refused to resign. On February 14, 1983, he lost his defense minister portfolio. He remained an unpunished cabinet minister without one.

He was fanatically anti-peace. He opposed 1991 Madrid conference talks. He was against the 1993 Oslo Accords.

He abstained on peace with Jordan. He opposed other peace initiatives. He rejected the so-called Quartet's road map.

It was doomed straightaway. Israeli violence, land theft, and targeted assassinations accompanied it. Sharon had no intention to seek peace.

He deplored it from soldier to general to defense minister to prime minister to his grave. "There cannot be a situation where there are two states for one people," he said. Let's make the issue clear."

He repeatedly blamed Palestinians for Israeli crimes. "My paramount responsibility is the security of the people of Israel and the state of Israel," he stressed.

Peace won't happen "without the abandonment and elimination of terrorism, violence and incitement." Israel alone commits it. Palestinians are repeatedly victimized.

Sharon's autobiography explained, saying:

Attacking Arabs aims "to create (in their minds) a psychology of defeat, to beat them every time, and to beat them so decisively that they would develop the conviction that they could never win."

Sharon deplored surgical strikes. He "believe(d) that whenever we were forced to strike, we should do so with the aim of inflicting heavy losses on the enemy troops."

He urged Israeli's premeditated/preemptive 1967 Six Day War. It was planned long in advance.

In 1948, Israel stole 78% of historic Palestine. In June 1967, it got what remained.

Settlement construction began straightaway. From 1967 - 1977, around 30 were established.

They were mainly in Jordan Valley locations. Settlers numbered about 5,000.

Under Prime Minister Menachem Begin (1977 - 1983), things changed dramatically. A new pattern emerged.

Heartland/central ridge West Bank settlements were established. Construction tempo increased.

Dozens of new settlements were added. Increasing amounts of Palestinian land were stolen. Construction continues unabated.

Israel controls over 60% of West Bank land. It claims Jerusalem as its exclusive capital. It's settler population exceeds 600,000. Numbers increase daily. Sharon endorsed unlimited expansion.

In 1969, he learned his military contract wouldn't be renewed. He fell out of favor with then IDF chief Bar Lev. It was over defending Sinai.

He turned to politics instead. He allied with Menachem Begin's Herut party. It was militantly hardline. It was ideologically Revisionist. It was hardcore Zionist. In 1988, it merged into Likud.

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Sharon was called back to reserve duty. In elections that followed, he won a Knesset seat.

A year later he resigned. From June 1975 to March 1976, he was Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's aide.

In 1977, he founded the Shlomtzion party. Months later, it merged into Likud. Sharon became Begin's agriculture minister.

He supported Gush Emunim (Block of the Faithful) extremists. It was militantly hardline. It was committed to unlimited settlement expansions. Israel's Yesha Council replaced it.

It's ideologically over-the-top. It's like Sharon. It wants Greater Israel exclusively Jewish. It wants Arabs ethnically cleansed.

Sharon expressed his settlement policy as follows:

"Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Judean) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours."

"Everything we don't grab will go to them." In 1981, Begin appointed Sharon defense minister. He took full advantage.

He held other ministerial portfolios. As Construction and Housing Minister, he was called "the Bulldozer."

It was for good reason. He ruthlessly destroyed Palestinian homes. Throughout his military and political career, Sharon's message was submit.

Abandon independence notions. Accept Palestine as Israel. You don't belong here. Leave or we'll uproot you.

Sharon's way was no-holds-barred ruthlessness. On September 28, 2000, he initiated Second Intifada violence.

He did so by provocatively visiting the Haram al-Sharif (the Nobel Sanctuary). Around 1,000 security forces accompanied him.

Resistance followed. He responded violently. He did so until February 2005. Nearly 4,200 Palestinians died. Included were 866 children and 271 women.

Many more were wounded. Over 3,500 were permanently disabled. Over 550 assassinations were committed. Around 8,600 Palestinians were imprisoned.

Over 2.3 million dunums of land were stolen. Another 73,600 were razed. Hundreds of thousands of trees were uprooted.

Over 7,700 homes were demolished. Another 94,000 were damaged. Sabra and Shatila slaughter reflected the worst of Sharonian evil.

So did Second Intifada viciousness. His Gaza disengagement plan had nothing to do with peace.

It was getting Israeli settlers out of harm's way. It was relocating them to stolen West Bank/East Jerusalem land. It was gaining US support for doing so.

He was prime minister from March 7, 2001 to April 14, 2006. He murdered Yasser Arafat. He poisoned him to death. Stroke-induced incapacitation ended his political career.

On December 18, 2005, minor ischemic stroke symptoms appeared. Doctors discovered heart trouble. It required surgery, they said.

Bed rest ahead of cardiac catheterization was prescribed. Sharon ignored medical advice. He returned to work immediately.

On January 4, 2006, hemorrhagic stroke followed. Two surgeries stopped bleeding in his brain. They didn't prevent stroke-induced coma.

Since November 6, 2006, he's been in longterm care. His cognitive abilities were destroyed.

In late 2013, his condition deteriorated. On January 1, he suffered renal failure. He's fading. He could anytime.

His legacy reflects horrendous high crimes. It bears repeating. A special place in hell awaits him. Perhaps he already arrived.

A Final Comment

Sharon believed the only good Arabs were dead ones. He spent his entire military and political career slaughtering them. State terror was official policy on his watch.

World leaders paid him tribute on his death. They did so disgracefully. One war criminal remembered another. Obama issued a statement, saying:

"On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to the people of Israel on the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel."

"We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel's security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples."

"We continue to strive for lasting peace and security for the people of Israel, including through our commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security."

"As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country."

Sharon was an unapologetic war criminal. His legacy reflects
decades of mass slaughter, destruction and human misery.

Britain's David Cameron disgracefully said he made "brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace. Israel has today lost an important leader."

France's Francois Hollande called him "a major player in the history of his country. After a long military and political career, he choose to move toward dialogue with Palestine."

He did no such thing. He murdered Yasser Arafat. He deplored peace and reconciliation. He hated Arabs. His policies proved it.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reacted as expected. He's a reliable imperial tool. He's complicit in Western war crimes. He said:

Sharon "will be remembered for his political courage and determination to carry through with the painful and historic decision to withdraw Israeli settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip."

He got them out of harm's way. Future aggression was planned. He relocated them on stolen West Bank Palestinian land.

Gaza remains occupied. Suffocating siege continues. Ban ignores Palestinian suffering. He supports Israel's worst crimes.

Fatah official Jubril Rajoub said:

"Sharon was a criminal, responsible for the assassination of (Yasser) Arafat, and we would have hoped to see him appear before the International Criminal Court as a war criminal."

Hamas spokesman Salah el-Bardaweel added:

"We pray to Allah that Sharon and all the Zionist leaders who committed massacres against our people go to hell."

"When the Palestinian people remember Sharon, they only remember pain, blood, torture, displacement and crimes. We will never feel sorry for his death."

Nor should anyone!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


1 Comments in Response to

Comment by J E Andreasen
Entered on:

January 11, 2014               by Alex Safian, PhD


With Ariel Sharon's Death, Expect the Usual Falsehoods


Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died today at a hospital in Israel at the age of 85, eight years after a debilitating stroke left him in a near coma. When Sharon, considered by many military experts to have been one of the leading generals of the twentieth century, suffered the stroke in 2006, Op-Ed writers and reporters published numerous retrospective pieces trying to sum-up his career. Some, by Saree Makdisi and the late Christopher Hitchens, for example, were nothing but anti-Sharon screeds, while others, though somewhat more responsible, repeated many of the same discredited allegations that have long been used by polemicists to unfairly malign the Israeli leader.


Already CNN has posted stories distorting Sharon's and Israel's history. For example Ariel Sharon: Hero or butcher? Five things to know claims that:


    Sharon long insisted that a controversial visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam's most holy sites, in 2000 was not a provocation.


    But it is considered among many to be one of the flashpoints that sparked the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising that followed a failed round of peace talks with Israelis. During the visit, Sharon walked through the mosque's compound. Within hours, protests over his visit turned violent.


    The mosque and its compound sits on Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, that is known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif, "The Noble Sanctuary."


Of course, and contrary to CNN, the Temple Mount is not just a "holy site for Jews," it is the holiest site for Jews, equivalent to what Mecca and Medina are for Muslims. Indeed, its holiness is exactly why the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem built their mosque there, on the site of the Jews' ancient temples. And contrary to the impression left by CNN, Sharon never entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Furthermore, as detailed below, Arafat had promised US leaders before Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount that he would prevent any violence, then, in the words of Dennis Ross, he "didn't lift a finger." And, of course, the "failed round of peace talks" resulted from Arafat's walk out following Israeli PM Barak's acceptance of the Clinton Parameters.


For its part, articles in the New York Times quoted numerous critics of Sharon, and once again tied him to the killings in Sabra and Shatilla without mentioning that it was the (Christian Arab) Lebanese Phalange Militia that carried out the killings, rather than the Israel Defense Forces.


The main Times article, by Ethan Bronner, had many problems as well, and in particular was as inaccurate as CNN regarding Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount:


    It was Mr. Sharon’s visit, in September 2000, accompanied by hundreds of Israeli police officers, to the holy site in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, that helped set off the riots that became the second Palestinian uprising.


In fact, Palestinian leaders later admitted that Sharon's visit was only a pretext for the violence, and, contrary to Bronner's implication, the Temple Mount is not equally holy to Jews and Muslims.


As the coverage continues, expect to see columns and articles similar to David Greenway's in the Boston Globe (January 10, 2006), which was witten after Sharon first fell ill, and neatly summarized the anti-Sharon and anti-Israel talking points. Titled Peace – on a warrior's terms, it included allegations such as:


    Sharon's political nadir was the massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla by allied Christian Lebanese militias, whom the Israelis had brought up to do the killing.


    The Israelis remained just outside but turned the night into day with illumination rounds so their surrogates could see for the task at hand. An Israeli fact-finding commission found Sharon indirectly responsible for the atrocities.


The charge that Israel or Sharon brought the Lebanese militias "up to do the killing" is baseless and outrageous. The Phalange militia – the only militia that entered the camps – was tasked with rooting out terrorists, not with conducting a massacre. Indeed, the fact-finding commission mentioned by Greenway made this very clear in its findings:


    Contentions and accusations were advanced that even if I.D.F. personnel had not shed the blood of the massacred, the entry of the Phalangists into the camps had been carried out with the prior knowledge that a massacre would be perpetrated there and with the intention that this should indeed take place; and therefore all those who had enabled the entry of the Phalangists into the camps should be regarded as accomplices to the acts of slaughter and sharing in direct responsibility. These accusations too are unfounded. We have no doubt that no conspiracy or plot was entered into between anyone from the Israeli political echelon or from the military echelon in the I.D.F. and the Phalangists, with the aim of perpetrating atrocities in the camps.... No intention existed on the part of any Israeli element to harm the non-combatant population in the camps. ... Before they entered the camps and also afterward, the Phalangists requested I .D.F. support in the form of artillery fire and tanks, but this request was rejected by the Chief of Staff in order to prevent injuries to civilians. It is true that I.D.F. tank fire was directed at sources of fire within the camps, but this was in reaction to fire directed at the I.D.F. from inside the camps. We assert that in having the Phalangists enter the camps, no intention existed on the part of anyone who acted on behalf of Israel to harm the non-combatant population, and that the events that followed did not have the concurrence or assent of anyone from the political or civilian echelon who was active regarding the Phalangists' entry into the camps. (Emphasis added)


These conclusions, of course, directly contradict Mr. Greenway's allegation.


Another aspect of Mr. Greenway's usage of the phrase "brought up to do the killing" should also be noted, as he seems to be referring to since discredited reports from his former Washington Post colleague, Loren Jenkins, that the killings had been perpetrated by the South Lebanese Army, a militia closely allied with Israel. In fact, as Thomas Friedman of the New York Times reported at the time, as the Kahan commission found, and as generally accepted today, it was the Beirut-based Phalangist militia which entered into the camps and carried out the massacre, not the militia from southern Lebanon. There was thus no sense in which Israel "brought up" from any point south or elsewhere the militia in question.


In addition, the Israeli commission found Sharon indirectly responsible precisely because he failed to anticipate that a massacre would take place. The commission stated in general terms that:


    If it indeed becomes clear that those who decided on the entry of the Phalangists into the camps should have foreseen - from the information at their disposal and from things which were common knowledge - that there was danger of a massacre, and no steps were taken which might have prevented this danger or at least greatly reduced the possibility that deeds of this type might be done, then those who made the decisions and those who implemented them are indirectly responsible for what ultimately occurred, even if they did not intend this to happen and merely disregarded the anticipated danger.


In this context, with regard to Sharon, the commission found:


    It is our view that responsibility is to be imputed to the Minister of Defense for having disregarded the danger of acts of vengeance and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps, and having failed to take this danger into account when he decided to have the Phalangists enter the camps. In addition, responsibility is to be imputed to the Minister of Defense for not ordering appropriate measures for preventing or reducing the danger of massacre as a condition for the Phalangists' entry into the camps. These blunders constitute the non-fulfillment of a duty with which the Defense Minister was charged.


These findings once again directly contradict reckless charges like Mr. Greenway's .


Mr. Greenway was also incorrect in claiming that "It was Sharon's provocative walk on the Temple Mount that did much to provoke the second Palestinian Intifadah ..."


As numerous Palestinian officials have made abundantly clear, the second intifada had been planned well in advance by Mr. Arafat, and any actions by Mr. Sharon were a mere pretext.


PA Communications Minister Imad Faluji, for example, addressing a rally at the Ein Hilwe refugee camp in South Lebanon, stated that the new intifada had been in the planning for months:


    Whoever thinks that the intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is wrong, even if this visit was the straw that broke the back of the Palestinian people. This intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations, where he turned the table upside down on President Clinton... [Arafat] rejected the American terms and he did it in the heart of the US. (MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 194 - PA, March 9, 2001; emphasis added)


Similarly, senior Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti told an interviewer that:


    The explosion would have happened anyway. It was necessary in order to protect Palestinian rights. But Sharon provided a good excuse. He is a hated man. (New Yorker, January 29, 2001)


Barghouti reinforced this point half a year later:


    The intifada did not start because of Sharon's visit to Al-Aqsa, although that was the last straw. The intifada began because of the desire to put an end to the occupation and because the Palestinians did not approve of the peace process in its previous form. (Jerusalem Times, June 8, 2001)


Indeed, as reported in Greenway's own Boston Globe, Palestinian official Faisal Husseini directly controlled the Palestinian attacks in and around the Temple Mount, the violence starting and stopping at his signal:


    A senior Palestinian official acknowledged that yesterday's protest was orchestrated. The rock-throwing youths, whose flag-raising directly challenged Israel's assertion of sovereignty over the [Temple Mount], quit the protest quickly after a request to do so by the same Palestinian official who encouraged them to demonstrate...


    Israeli officials ... insist the violence is being fueled by the Palestinian leadership to exact concessions in the final negotiations aimed at ending the conflict. There was evidence of this yesterday.


    All day, rock throwers - referred to in Arabic as "shebab," or "the boys" - were provided with wheelbarrows full of rocks that came from inside the Al Aqsa compound. And the rock throwers stopped in unison at almost precisely 5 p.m. In a matter of minutes, they disappeared into locations around the Old City.


    Husseini was seen walking away just then. Confronted with questions about what appeared to be highly orchestrated rock throwing, Husseini replied, "We asked the shebab to pull back."


    ... Husseini was admitting that he turned off the rioting in a matter of minutes. (Charles Sennott, Boston Globe, October 7, 2000; emphasis added)


Dennis Ross, the former senior US peace envoy, also corroborated that the violence was not sparked by Sharon. Interviewed on Fox News, Ambassador Ross revealed that Arafat betrayed the U.S over the Sharon visit, first promising he would prevent any violence, then doing nothing:


    ... we asked him to intervene to ensure there wouldn't be violence after the Sharon visit, the day after. He said he would. He didn't lift a finger. (FoxNews, April 21, 2002)


Thus, contrary to Mr. Greenway's claim, Sharon's visit to the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount, did not "do much to provoke" the disturbances. Arafat and the Palestinians wanted violence and were planning for it, and Sharon's visit was merely a pretext.


Finally, Mr. Greenway was also incorrect when he charged that unlike Moshe Dayan:


    Sharon had no appreciation or sympathy for Arabs, and they would suffer under his lash.


Even a casual examination of Sharon's writings and statements proves just the opposite. For example, in his autobiography Sharon strongly supported Jewish-Arab coexistence:


    It had always been one of my convictions that Jews and Arabs could live together. Even as a child it never occurred to me that Jews might someday be living in Israel without Arabs, or separated from Arabs. On the contrary, for me it had always seemed perfectly normal for the two people to live and work side by side. That is the nature of life here and it always will be.


    ... though Israel is a Jewish nation, it is, of course, not only a Jewish nation... I begin with the basic conviction that Jews and Arabs can live together. I have repeated that at every opportunity, not for journalists and not for popular consumption, but because I have never believed differently or thought differently, from my childhood on. I am not afraid of Arabs. I feel I can live with them. I believe I understand their problems. I know that we are both inhabitants of this land, and although the state is Jewish, that does not mean that Arabs should not be full citizens in every sense of the word. (Warrior, p343, 542-3)


Most of the false anti-Sharon charges, which have been repeated endlessly by pro-Palestinian activists, and by journalists who should know better, have their genesis in one simple fact. Over the last 60 years, every time Arab armies or terrorists have come to attack Israel, Sharon in ways large and small stood in their way, frustrating their aims and helping to defeat them. Whether as a young soldier in 1948 helping to defend Jerusalem against an Arab onslaught, or as a commando leader inventing counter-terror tactics in the 1950's, Sharon proved, to Arabs and Israelis alike, that the young nation could defend itself. As a Major General in the Six Day War, Sharon's brilliant assault on well-prepared defenses at Abu Agheila/Umm Katef shattered Egypt's hold on the Sinai; it is still studied in military academies around the world.


And Sharon's bold crossing of the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur War in 1973, surrounding most of the Egyptian army, dismantling surface-to-air missiles that had been keeping the Israeli airforce at bay, and bringing Cairo under threat, brought the war to a close. Thanks to Sharon, yet another Arab attempt to destroy Israel had been soundly defeated.


For his succesful efforts to build and defend the state of Israel, Ariel Sharon will never be forgotten. For exactly the same reasons, among Israel's adversaries Ariel Sharon will never be forgiven.


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