Ariel Sharon, Audacious Sabra, Laid to Rest

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


asAriel Sharon was laid to rest on Monday at his beloved ranch in southern Israel. As Sharon said in a speech to the UN General Assembly in September 2005:

If the circumstances had not demanded it, I would not have become a soldier, but rather a farmer and agriculturist. My first love was, and remains, manual labor; sowing and harvesting, the pastures, the flock and the cattle.

Sharon was born in 1928 in Kfar Malal, an agricultural village north of Tel Aviv. His love of farming was, indeed, part of his profile as in many ways a quintessential sabra—a native-born son of Zionist pioneers. So was his chutzpah—an audacity composed in large part of a slapdash disdain for rules and constraints.

Sharon had the trait so strongly that he became known as the bulldozer—someone who, when he thought he saw the solution to a problem, plowed straight toward it without regard for protocol and niceties.

Some of Sharon’s moves, both as a general and a statesman, were so dramatic that he in fact made history. That makes his legacy difficult to evaluate, since its entails speculation—speculation about what would have happened if Arik Sharon had not taken his daring, often stunning initiatives.

About his role as a general in the 1967 Six Day War, when he showed tactical genius in winning a key battle in the Sinai Peninsula, the consensus is positive. By now, that is also just about true regarding his even more important role in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when—again in the Sinai—he led a fording of the Suez Canal that turned the tide of a war that had started catastrophically for Israel.

At the time, Sharon was accused by superiors of disobeying orders and blamed bitterly for it. But, even if true, it is mostly seen now as a case where a bulldozer was needed, even at the cost—if that was the only way—of violating the chain of command.

As a politician, Sharon’s record gets more controversial and challenging to assess.

In June 1982, with Menachem Begin as prime minister and Sharon as defense minister, Israel launched a war on PLO strongholds in southern Lebanon that had been subjecting northern Israel to rocket fire. It is believed by many to this day—and still a point of dispute—that whereas Begin only wanted to create a PLO-free zone in the south, he was manipulated by Sharon into extending the war to Beirut, with the aim—Sharon’s aim—of installing a pro-Israeli, pro-Western, Maronite Christian government there.

The war succeeded to eject the PLO from Lebanon, but the attempt to improve Lebanon’s political map failed. The vacuum left by the PLO was soon filled by Iran’s proxy, Hizballah, and today—except for the fact that Hizballah is currently tied down by the fighting in Syria—Lebanon is mostly under Iran and Hizballah’s thumb and poses much more of a threat to Israel than in the PLO days.

The overall grade for the war, then, is negative, and Sharon’s role should probably be viewed as a case of bulldozing to the point of recklessness.

Meanwhile Sharon was banished for a while to the political wilderness as an Israeli commission charged him with failing to prevent a massacre of Palestinian civilians in Beirut by a Christian militia, and deposed him as defense minister.

Sharon came back as a cabinet minister in the 1990s, and then, in February 2001, was elected prime minister five months after the outbreak of the brutal terror assault known as the Second Intifada.

At that point, Sharon shelved his bulldozer trait. Despite the hopes of a dazed and, quite literally, bloodied Israeli populace that the legendary Arik would start drubbing the terrorists, Sharon instead deferred to George Bush, who was busy assembling a coalition for the war in Iraq and thought Israeli military action would impede that endeavor.

Under Sharon, then, Israel did little to stop the onslaught until the Park Hotel massacre on Passover night, March 27, 2002, after which—still, at first, with only an amber light from Bush—Sharon ordered the ultimately successful Operation Defensive Shield.

Sharon was reelected in 2003, and then, in December that year, made his last stunning move by announcing his disengagement plan from Gaza and northern Samaria. With Sharon known as “the father of Israeli settlements,” the politician who had done the most to promote them, the plan was considered astounding particularly because it entailed the evacuation of all settlements in Gaza and four in northern Samaria.

The disengagement was carried out in August and September 2005. In December, Sharon suffered a stroke; then, in January 2006, a second stroke from which he never recovered.

More than eight years after Sharon’s last major measure, the disengagement is difficult to assess.

In March 2006, the seriously problematic and unsuitable Ehud Olmert took office as prime minister, and his government allowed Gaza to keep developing as an Iranian-supplied missile base until finally taking less than decisive military action in December 2008. A reasonable speculation is that Sharon, had he been able to continue as prime minister, would have taken strong and deterrent military action sooner, and the disengagement might look better today.

Israelis, these days, do not miss administering the affairs of over a million Muslims in Gaza and hope not to have to do it again. Since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, the strip has been a good deal quieter and also under heavy pressure from Egypt. On the other hand, in the last few weeks terror from Gaza has again picked up, and on Monday two rockets were fired at Israel soon after Sharon’s funeral.

About the disengagement, then, the longer term will tell whether Israel can successfully contain Gaza without having to reconquer it.

Ariel Sharon was a complex, vivid and, in the degree of his chutzpah, unique figure. Today’s Israel, while still retaining some of the sabra bravado as, apparently, a permanent part of its character, is a more orderly, modernized, conventional country than the one Sharon grew up in. Overall, it is a change for the better. A bulldozing style is not suited to a sophisticated democracy, and it is hard to imagine another Arik swaggering his way to the top of the Israeli power structure.

On the other hand, there is sometimes a place for defiance and daring. For Netanyahu, largely toeing the line from Washington, embroiled in a ludicrous U.S.-orchestrated “peace process” while Iran plays the U.S. and its allies for fools, mixing a little Arik into the pot is more than worth considering.

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  • ShalomFreedman

    This piece makes a point that I have not seen made in any of the many other pieces I have read regarding the legacy of Ariel Sharon Z”l. It points out that the driving of the PLO from Lebanon brought something far worse and dangerous , Hizbollah rule. I also think the piece makes a balanced, fair largely positive evaluation of Sharon’s legacy.
    I would only add this point. Sharon was arguably the greatest soldier and greatest military leader the Jewish people have had in close to two- thousand years. He was fearless and was a general of the frontlines always. It was he who set the standards for the Israel Defense Forces of never leaving prisoners behind, and of having officers always at the head of the charge.
    He was charismatic, generous and knew great tragedy as well as great love in his personal life.

    His first priority was the survival and flourishing of the state of Israel and he dedicated his life to this.
    His example as Israel’s Chief-of-Staff Benny Gantz pointed out yesterday lives in the ongoing struggle of Israel for Security and Peace today.

    • Drakken

      As much as I do admire Sharon, he was no military genius and certainly no Rommel, he was just better than what the arabs threw at him. As for Benny Gantz, he is a politician like the rest of them these days, and you will find that out shortly in the next intifada, where PC rules of engagement will be the order of the day and you will take unnecessary casualties because you don’t want to offend the useless left and hurt their precious sensibilities. Time for you Jews to take off the velvet glove and put on the mailed fist when you finally have to deal with the muslim savages.

  • Shein Ariely

    The Falangs force entered Sabra&Sahtila, fighting Palestinian terrorist hiding among civilians (this is a norm the world witnesses from Pakistan up Libya)
    Unfortunately many civilians have been killed in battle.
    Sharon agreed that Falangs will clean the place from terrorists.

    Don’t blame Sharon that he didn’t anticipate that the Falangs will fight by Arab standards!
    Blame the terrorist using civilian’s human shields and the Falangs

  • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    ARIEL SHARON

    who died on the Jewish Sabbath (the holiest day of the Jewish week), and was laid to rest on the anniversary of the publication of Emile Zola’s “I Accuse,” is with the angels in Heaven…with all good gentiles (like Zola) and righteous Jews.

    For more on Sharon’s death click http://www.apollospeaks.com

    • southwood

      If he, as seems most likely, rejected the salvation offered by Jesus Christ, then he cannot be in heaven. As long as Jews reject their Messiah they are rejecting the offer of salvation.

      • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

        If you get to Heaven before I do give my regards to Sharon.

        • southwood

          Don’t be ridiculous. However, the Bible clearly teaches that only through faith in Jesus Christ can one be saved. Sharon evidently, as a Jew, rejected Jesus.

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            Okay then. How do you know that Sharon hasn’t accepted Jesus in the afterlife and is in Heaven now?

          • southwood

            If he accepted Jesus before dying then he is in heaven. “As the tree falls so shall it lie”.

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            What kind of real savior limits the redemption individuals to their life in the flesh? If Jesus could force himself on St. Paul in the flesh why wouldn’t he do the same to Sharon in the spirit?

          • southwood

            After we die we are judged. Why would a strict Jew turn to Jesus ? He didn’t do so before his stroke and coma.

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            While Sharon was in a coma his brain showed evidence of activity which means he wasn’t brain dead but was conscious on a different level; or was possibly in a perpetual dream state where Jesus could have visited him and saved his soul. As you don’t know what Sharon was experiencing while in a coma you can’t conclude with certainty that his soul (from the Christian viewpoint) was damned for eternity.

          • southwood

            I am not concluding anything, just surmising. I hope he was saved. I want all Jews to be saved, just like Paul did.

          • wildjew

            “Israel has been saved by the LORD With an everlasting salvation; You will not be put to shame or humiliated To all eternity.” (Isaiah)

          • southwood

            What chapter of Isaiah ?

          • wildjew

            Why didn’t you Google it? Isaiah 45:17. Even Paul quoted the verse in the book of Romans lest his readers decided God was through with Israel. He is not.

          • southwood

            Why didn’t I Google it ? Why did you not just add the chapter number ? LOL. Who said God was through with Israel ?

          • wildjew

            When you see or learn God saves Israel apart from belief in your Jesus (your wooden cross) what will it do to your faith?

          • southwood

            He doesn’t. That’s the whole point.

          • wildjew

            So says southwood’s wooden idol.

          • southwood

            Whaaat ? Wooden idol ? What r u on about ?

          • wildjew

            Isa 45:20“Gather yourselves and come;
            Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations;
            They have no knowledge,
            Who carry about their wooden idol
            And pray to a god who cannot save.

          • southwood

            I am an evangelical protestant. I abhor any form of idol or any depiction of “God”. OK ? Try again.

          • wildjew

            Doesn’t idolatry begin in the heart?

          • southwood

            Anything can become an idol. It doesn’t have to be a physical object. It can be a hobby, a sport, even work.

          • wildjew

            God is spirit. He fills the universe. Jesus is / was flesh and blood; a human being. That is why Jews don’t worship human beings or any form of a man or an animal. God is spirit.

          • southwood

            Jesus is God and man. He was in his humiliated state on earth. His deity was hidden. Now he is exalted. The Jews are waiting an awful long time for their messiah. What happened to your temple sacrifices ?

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            Amen. Would God damn for eternity a righteous Jew and patriot who sacrificing his health and well-being selflessly served Israel for decades? It’s inconceivable!.

          • wildjew

            My Bible does not teach that only through faith (or simple belief) in ‘your’ Jesus can a person be saved.

          • southwood

            Well, that’s a bible without Isaiah 53 then. Also the text you quoted refers to Jesus. Read the whole chapter and see.

          • wildjew

            I’ve read it a few times. Where does Isaiah 53 say the man (‘suffering servant’) described in the chapter is God’s anointed (messiah)?

          • southwood

            Who was smitten ? Who was taken from prison ? Who made his grave with the rich ?

          • wildjew

            Jesus?

          • southwood

            Who bore our iniquities ? No mere man.

          • wildjew

            Eze 4:6“When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah; I have assigned it to you for forty days, a day for each year.

          • southwood

            That’s symbolic, of course, for the sins of Israel; and Ezekiel didn’t make his grave with the wicked, was not bruised for our iniquities. “By his knowledge shall my righteous srvant justify many”. Did Ezekiel do that ?

          • wildjew

            “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many…” How does that work?

          • southwood

            By knowing him and trusting in his finished work on the cross believers are saved.

          • wildjew

            Notice it is the very same Hebrew word (nasa) meaning to bear. How can it be symbolic for Ezekiel and not symbolic for Jesus?

            Therefore, H3651 I will allot H2505 Him a portion H2505 with the great, H7227 And He will divide H2505 the booty H7998 with the strong; H6099 Because H8478 H834 He poured H6168 out Himself H5315 to death, H4194 And was numbered H4487 with the transgressors; H6586 Yet He Himself H1931 BORE H5375 (nasa) the sin H2399 of many, H7227 And interceded H6293 for the transgressors. H6586

            “When you have completed H3615 these, H428 you shall lie H7901 down H7901 a second H8145 time, H8145 but on your right H3233 side H6654 and BEAR H5375 (nasa) the iniquity H5771 of the house H1004 of Judah; H3063 I have assigned H5414 it to you for forty H705 days, H3117 a day H3117 for each year. H8141

          • southwood

            What exactly did Ezekiel suffer ?

          • wildjew

            What did Moses suffer? The Psalmist wrote that it went hard for Moses because of the people. The more a man suffers the more it atones for other people’s sins? What does it mean, the fathers shall not be put to death for the sins of the children, nor the children put to death for the sins of the fathers but every person shall die for his own sin….” ? Isn’t that what Jesus did? He died for his own sin?

          • southwood

            OK. Here’s the thing. You are blaspheming God. Jesus had no sin. None.

          • wildjew

            You are talking like a raving lunatic. No human being is without sin.

          • southwood

            No I am not. Jesus raised the dead, healed the lame, restored sight to the blind, was crucified, rose from the dead, appeared unto hundreds of people, and so forth. He was sinless. All his disciples attest to this fact. How could he be sinless unless he was, as he said he was, God ?

          • wildjew

            Moses (at the hand of God) performed greater miracles than Jesus, as did Elijah and Elisha who also raise people from the dead. Does it mean they were also sinless?

          • southwood

            No. God was angry with Moses. He was not allowed into the promised land on account of his sins. Elijah and Elisha were just men but had been given the gift of prophecy. They never claimed to be God. Jesus did.

          • wildjew

            Moses made intercession for the people. He stood between God and the people. His face shone.

            “But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.”

            Was Moses the messiah?

  • Taimoor Khan

    He was a mass murderer.

    • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

      Killing worthless Arab racist supremacists and Moslem supremacist savages.

    • iluvisrael

      dream on timmy

    • Daniel Rubio

      Please, please, please. Ban this schmuck from this site. Its revolting comments are an offense to all of us. It is only a filthy muslim (excuse the oxymoron) following its prophet’s teachings of pestering and annoying people.

      • Drakken

        Don’t ban him! Let this little effing jihadist show the world of infidels what they say and how they think, it is better in the long run. I say let it run its jihadist mouth to its black hearts content.

    • UCSPanther

      Then what does that make that lying, murdering thief Yasser Arafat?

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      “He was a mass murderer.”

      You of course were referring to the prophet of Satan called Mohammed.

    • truebearing

      He defeated the murderous cult of Islam in two wars. Killing murderers isn’t murder. It is justice. We need more men of his courage and strategic brilliance.

    • Drakken

      The more that Sharon killed you savages, the more I liked him.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        100,000+ savages kill fellow savages in Syria.

        Win. Win.j

        • Drakken

          Grab a cocktail or two and watch the sh*tshow takes its course. Then watch as our fearless western leaders tie themselves into knots trying to figure it out.

  • YehoshuaFriedman

    As a teenager he participated in the “season” in which the Hagana collaborated with the British in hunting down Jewish fighters and their supporters. He bulldozed Jews out of the Sinai. He silenced the opposition radio station which was broadcasting from a ship in the Mediterranean. He presided over the brainwashing of the country in order to throw 9000 Jews out of their homes which the government of Israel had built and left them languishing in temporary facilities with unemployment problems for years. Yes, he also saved Israel several times, but he stopped short of destroying the PLO. His love of the good life led him to corruption which forced him to adopt the suicidal agenda of withdrawal to stay out of prison. His record will be remembered as very spotty.

    • wildjew

      I have long believed Israel should have kept the entirety of the Sinai. Carter talked Begin into relinquishing the Sinai at Camp David even though Egypt used the Sinai to block the Straits of Tiran to block Israeli shipping and repeatedly used the Sinai as a base for attacking Israel. Israel should have at minimum kept her settlements, military bases and the oil and gas deposits.

      • defcon 4

        So you don’t think the peace treaty w/Egypt was worth it?

        • wildjew

          Israel got a cold peace or a cold war with Egypt. She did not get “normal” or normalized relations with Egypt as envisioned. I think Israel would have had cool relations with or without the Sinai.

  • wildjew

    I want to comment on the June 1982 Lebanon war (Operation Peace for the Galilee). Some conservatives and American patriots might not like my analysis as the U.S. did not always give Israel good advise. David Hornik observes 1973 Yom Kippur War had started catastrophically for Israel. Why did it start catastrophically? Because unlike the 1967 Six Day War when Prime Minister Levy Eshkol decided to preemptively attack Egypt and Syria (against Lyndon Johnson’s advise), Golda Meir and her Defense Minister Moshe Dayan bowed to Nixon and Kissinger’s advise that Israel not be the first to begin hostilities even though Egypt and Syria were again mobilized massively on Israel’s borders.

    D. Hornik writes: “The overall grade for the (1982 Lebanon) war, then, is negative, and Sharon’s role should probably be viewed as a case of bulldozing to the point of recklessness.”

    Why did the war deserve a negative grade? Because like Golda Meir and her Defense Minister, Menachem Begin and his Defense Minister (Ariel Sharon) bowed to immoral Reagan pressure for an armistice so that the U.S. could send in the U.S. Marines to help a multinational force rescue the besieged murderous Palestinian Liberation Organization and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat with their side-arms in tact from Beruit, Lebanon. Remember between 240 and 260 U.S. Marines were subsequently murdered by an Iranian / Hezbollah suicide bomber in their sleep. Reagan quickly removed U.S. forces from Beirut and it turned into chaos. Osama bin Laden cited Reagan’s retreat from Lebanon as evidence the United States retreats under fire.

    What is the lesson we should glean from the catastrophic 1973 and the 1982 wars? Don’t listen to or heed immoral U.S. or international pressure. Otherwise catastrophe will surely ensue as it did in the aftermath of Israel’s retreat from Gaza, August 2005.

  • wildjew

    The following details my party’s pathetic capitulation to Islamic terror and savagery (August 2001, October 2001, August 2004):

    1992 Republican Party Platform (excerpts)

    We oppose the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Nor will we support the creation of any political entity that would jeopardize Israel’s security.

    1996 Republican Party Platform (excerpts)

    While we fully support Israel’s efforts to find peace and security with its neighbors, we will judge the peace process by the security it generates both for Israel and for the United States. In that context, we support Israel’s right to make ITS OWN DECISIONS (emphasis mine) regarding security and boundaries.

    2004 Republican Party Platform (excerpts)

    We support President Bush’s vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side….

    Republicans agree with President Bush that Israel’s plan to remove all settlements from Gaza and several settlements from the West Bank is a courageous step toward peace in the face of continuing terrorist violence. This initiative can stimulate progress toward peace as laid out in the Road Map launched by President Bush.

    Republicans commend the government of Israel for its desire to pursue peace, even in the face of continuing terrorist attacks…..

  • Lanna

    Sharon was a significant leader in Israel’s history, like him or not, no one could ignore his strength to get things done.

  • haha

    Yipee!

  • Brazil_wins

    It would have taken Saddam 500 years to kill that many of his own people. The US is responsible for a Million Iraqis, 2 million Cambodians, 2+ Million Vietnamese and hundreds of thousands more. ALL innocents murdered for GREED.

    Ain’t Imperialism wonderful?

    • Drakken

      Us Imperialist kept you savages at bay for 300 years. Frankly speaking, we should bring it back.

    • Omar

      Shut up, you Stalinist/Maoist. The Soviet Union, Communist China and their Communist allies have killed more people around the world than even the pre-World War II fascist regimes in Europe.

  • Brazil_wins

    “I don’t know something called International Principles. I vow that I’ll burn every Palestinian child (that) will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child is more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian child’s existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger. I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him. With one hit I’ve killed 750 Palestinians (in Rafah in 1956). I wanted to encourage my soldiers by raping Arabic girls as the Palestinian women is a slave for Jews, and we do whatever we want to her and nobody tells us what we shall do but we tell others what they shall do.”

    – Ariel Sharon

  • Brazil_wins

    That would be true if Sharon, or this quote was a loner, but Israel was established on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. If it weren’t for the Arab armies in 1948 Palestine would have been completely ethnically cleansed.

    • Drakken

      How does it feel to be shortbus special? Window lickers like you really are ignorantly beyond stupid. The arab armies you dumbazz got wiped out idiot.

    • defcon 4

      Damn you’re dumb, but islam will do that to people.

  • Brazil_wins

    In the REAL WORLD, Israel is the most despised country in the world – for very valid reasons. Even we sheep-like Brazilians are learning. From 2012 to 2013, Israel’s public approval went from 50% to 40% and is even lower now. The world is sick of your political cu!t.

  • Oleseyun_Obasansjo

    The Crimes of Ariel Sharon

    by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

    Some incorrigible optimists have suggested that only a right-wing
    extremist of the notoriety of Likud leader Ariel Sharon will have the
    credentials to broker any sort of lasting settlement with the
    Palestinians. Maybe so. History is not devoid of such examples. But
    Sharon?

    Sharon’s history offers a monochromatic record of moral
    corruption, with a documented record of war crimes going back to the
    early 1950s. He was born in 1928 and as a young man joined the Haganah,
    the underground military organization of Israel in its pre-state days.
    In 1953 he
    was given command of Unit 101, whose mission is often
    described as that of retaliation against Arab attacks on Jewish
    villages. In fact, as can be seen from two terrible onslaughts, one of
    them very well known, Unit 101′s purpose was that of instilling terror
    by the infliction of discriminate, murderous violence not only on able
    bodied fighters but on the young, the old, the helpless.

    Sharon’s
    first documented sortie in this role was in August of 1953 on the
    refugee camp of El-Bureig, south of Gaza. An Israeli history of the 101
    unit records 50 refugees as having been killed; other sources allege 15
    or 20. Major-General Vagn Bennike, the UN commander, reported that
    “bombs were thrown” by Sharon’s men “through the windows of huts in
    which the refugees were sleeping and, as they fled, they were attacked
    by small arms and automatic weapons”.

    In October of 1953 came
    the attack by Sharon’s unit 101 on the Jordanian village of Qibya, whose
    “stain” Israel’s foreign minister at the time, Moshe Sharett, confided
    to his diary “would stick to us and not be washed away for many years”.
    He was wrong. Though even strongly pro-Israel commentators in the West
    compared it to Lidice, Qibya and Sharon’s role are scarcely evoked in
    the West today, least of all by journalists such as Deborah Sontag of
    the New York Times who recently wrote a whitewash of Sharon, describing
    him as “feisty”, or the
    Washington Post’s man in Jerusalem who
    fondly invoked him after his fateful excursion to the Holy Places in
    Jerusalem as “the portly old warrior”.

    Israeli historian Avi
    Shlaim describes the massacre thus: “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.”

    The
    UN observer on the scene reached a different conclusion: “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.”
    The slaughter in Qibya was described contemporaneously in a letter to
    the president of the United Nations Security Council dated 16 October
    1953 (S/3113) from the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
    of Jordan to the United States. On 14 October 1953 at 9:30 at night, he
    wrote, Israeli troops launched a battalion-scale attack on the village
    of Qibya in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (at the time the West Bank
    was annexed to Jordan).

    According to the diplomat’s account,
    Israeli forces had entered the village and systematically murdered all
    occupants of houses, using automatic weapons, grenades and incendiaries.
    On 14 October, the bodies of 42 Arab civilians had been recovered;
    several more bodies were still under the wreckage. Forty houses, the
    village school and a reservoir had been destroyed. Quantities of unused
    explosives, bearing Israel army markings in Hebrew, had been found in
    the village. At about 3 a.m., to cover their withdrawal, Israeli support
    troops had begun shelling the
    neighbouring villages of Budrus and Shuqba from positions in Israel.

    And
    what of Sharon’s conduct when he was head of the Southern Command of
    Israel’s Defense Forces in the early 1970s? The Gaza “clearances” were
    vividly described by Phil Reeves in a piece in The London Independent on
    January 21 of this year.

    “Thirty years have elapsed since Ariel
    Sharon, favourite to win Israel’s forthcoming election, was the head of
    the Israel Defence Forces’ southern command, charged with the task of
    ‘pacifying’ the recalcitrant Gaza Strip after the 1967 war. But the old
    men still remember it well. Especially the old men on Wreckage Street.
    Until late 1970, Wreckage, or Had’d, Street wasn’t a street, just one of
    scores of narrow, nameless alleys weaving through Gaza City’s Beach
    Camp, a shantytown cluttered with low, two-roomed houses, built with UN
    aid for refugees from the 1948 war who then, as now, were waiting for
    the international community to settle their future. The street acquired
    its name after an unusually prolonged visit from Mr Sharon’s soldiers.
    Their orders were to bulldoze hundreds of homes to carve a wide,
    straight street. This would allow Israeli troops and their heavy armored
    vehicles to move easily through the camp, to exert control and hunt
    down men from the Palestinian Liberation Army.

    “‘They came at
    night and began marking the houses they wanted to demolish with red
    paint,’ said Ibrahim Ghanim, 70, a retired labourer. ‘In the morning
    they came back, and ordered everyone to leave. I remember all the
    soldiers shouting at people, Yalla, yalla, yalla, yalla! They threw
    everyone’s belongings into the street. Then Sharon brought in bulldozers
    and started flattening the street. He did the whole lot, almost in one
    day. And the soldiers would beat people, can you imagine? Soldiers with
    guns, beating little kids!’ By the time the Israeli army’s work was
    done, hundreds of homes were destroyed, not only on Wreckage Street but
    throughout the camp, as Sharon ploughed out a grid of wide security
    roads. Many of the refugees took shelter in schools, or squeezed into
    the already badly over-crowded homes of relatives. Other families,
    usually those with a Palestinian political activist, were loaded into
    trucks and taken to exile in a town in the heart of the Sinai Desert,
    then controlled by Israel.”

    As Reeves reported, the devastation
    of Beach Camp was far from the exception. “In August 1971 alone, troops
    under Mr Sharon’s command destroyed some 2,000 homes in the Gaza Strip,
    uprooting 16,000 people for the second time in their lives. Hundreds of
    young Palestinian men were arrested and deported to Jordan and Lebanon.
    Six hundred relatives of suspected guerrillas were exiled to Sinai. In
    the second half of 1971, 104 guerrillas were assassinated. ‘The policy
    at that time was not to arrest suspects, but to assassinate them’, said
    Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in
    Gaza City”.

    Israeli complacency leading to their initial defeat
    by the Egyptians in the 1973 war was in part nurtured by the supposed
    impregnability of the “Bar Lev line” constructed by Sharon on the east
    bank of the Suez canal. The Egyptians pierced the line without undue
    difficulty.

    In 1981 Sharon, then minister of defense, paid a
    visit to Israel’s good friend, President Mobutu of Zaire. Lunching on
    Mobutu’s yacht the Israeli party was asked by their host to use their
    good offices to get the US Congress to be more forthcoming with aid.
    This the Israelis managed to accomplish. As a quid pro quo Mobutu
    reestablished diplomatic relations with Israel. This was not Sharon’s
    only contact with Africa. Among friends he relays fond memories of trips
    to Angola to observe and advise the South African forces then fighting
    in support of the murderous CIA stooge Jonas Savimbi.

    As defense
    minister in Menachem Begin’s second government, Sharon was the
    commander who led the full dress 1982 assault on Lebanon, with the
    express design of destroying the PLO, driving as many Palestinians as
    possible to Jordan and making Lebanon a client state of Israel. It was a
    war plan that cost untold suffering, around 20,000 Palestinian and
    Lebanese lives, and also the deaths of over one thousand Israeli
    soldiers. The Israelis bombed civilian populations at will. Sharon also
    oversaw the infamous massacres at Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps. The
    Lebanese government counted 762 bodies recovered and a further 1,200
    buried privately by relatives. However, the Middle East may have been
    spared worse, thanks to Menachem Begin. Just as the ’82 war was getting
    under way, Sharon approached Begin, then Prime Minister, and suggested
    that Begin cede control over Israel’s nuclear trigger to him. Begin had
    just enough sense to refuse.

    The slaughter in the two contiguous
    camps at Sabra and Shatilla took place from 6:00 at night on September
    16, 1982 until 8:00 in the morning on September 18, 1982, in an area
    under the control of the Israel Defense Forces. The perpetrators were
    members of the Phalange militia, the Lebanese force that was armed by
    and closely allied with Israel since the onset of Lebanon’s civil war in
    1975. The victims during the 62-hour rampage included infants,
    children, women (including pregnant women), and the elderly, some of
    whom were mutilated or disemboweled before or after they were killed.

    An
    official Israeli commission of inquiry – chaired by Yitzhak Kahan,
    president of Israel’s Supreme Court – investigated the massacre, and in
    February 1983 publicly released its findings (without Appendix B, which
    remains secret until now).

    Amid desperate attempts to cover up
    the evidence of direct knowledge of what was going on by Israeli
    military personnel, the Kahan Commission found itself compelled to find
    that Ariel Sharon, among other Israelis, had responsibility for the
    massacre. The commission’s report stated: “It is our view that
    responsibility is to be imputed to the Minister of Defense for having
    disregarded ["entirely cognizant of" would have been a better choice of
    words] the danger of acts of vengeance and bloodshed by the Phalangists
    against the population of the refugee camps, and having failed
    [i.e."eagerly taken this into consideration"] 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”. (For those who want to refresh their
    memories of Operation Peace for Galilee, of the massacres and the Kahan
    coverup we recommend Noam Chomsky’s The Fateful Triangle.)

    Sharon
    refused to resign. Finally, on February 14, 1983, he was relieved of
    his duties as defense minister, though he remained in the cabinet as
    minister without portfolio.

    Sharon’s career was in eclipse, but
    he continued to burnish his credentials as a Likud ultra. Sharon has
    always been against any sort of peace deal, unless on terms entirely
    impossible for Palestinians to accept. As Nehemia Strasler outlined in
    Ha’aretz on January 18 of this year, in 1979, as a member of Begin’s
    cabinet, he voted against a peace treaty with Egypt. In 1985 he voted
    against the withdrawal of Israeli troops to the
    so-called security
    zone in Southern Lebanon. In 1991 he opposed Israel’s participation in
    the Madrid peace conference. In 1993 he voted No in the Knesset on the
    Oslo agreement. The following year he abstained in the Knesset on a vote
    over a peace treaty with Jordan. He voted against the Hebron agreement
    in 1997 and objected to the way in which the withdrawal from southern
    Lebanon was conducted.

    As Begin’s minister of agriculture in the
    late 1970s he established many of the West Bank settlements that are
    now a major obstruction to any peace deal. His present position? Not
    another square inch of land for Palestinians on the West Bank. He will
    agree to a Palestinian state on the existing areas presently under
    either total or partial Palestinian control, amounting to merely 42 per
    cent of the West Bank. Israel will retain control of the highways across
    the West Bank and the water sources. All settlements will stay in place
    with access by the IDF to them. Jerusalem will remain under Israeli
    sovereignty and he plans to continue building around the city. The Golan
    heights would remain under Israel’s control.

    It can be strongly
    argued that Sharon represents the long-term policy of all Israeli
    governments, without any obscuring fluff or verbal embroidery. For
    example: Ben-Gurion approved the terror missions of Unit 101. Every
    Israeli government has condoned settlements and
    building around
    Jerusalem. It was Labor’s Ehud Barak who okayed the military escort for
    Sharon on his provocative sortie that sparked the second Intifada and
    Barak who has overseen the lethal military repression of recent months.
    But that doesn’t diminish Sharon’s sinister shadow across the past half
    century. That shadow is better evoked by Palestinians and Lebanese
    grieving for the dead, the maimed, the displaced, or by
    a young
    Israeli woman, Ilil Komey, 16, who confronted Sharon recently when he
    visited her agricultural high school outside Beersheva. “I think you
    sent my father into Lebanon”, Ilil said. “Ariel Sharon, I accuse you of
    having made me suffer for 16 some odd years. I accuse you of having made
    my father suffer for over 16 years. I accuse you of a lot of things
    that made a lot of people suffer in this country. I don’t think that you
    can now be elected as prime minister”

  • Tapatio

    Arafat didn’t pass away. He was murdered by the Eastern European invaders of Palestine.

    • Drakken

      Either way, good bloody riddance to that murdering savage. Oh by the way, he died of AIDS and I hope they buried him face down to show him where he is going.

  • Mandela_calls_Israel_Apartheid

    Israel is NOT a democratic country. They are a Jewish version of South Africa during apartheid. Israeli Arabs are discriminated against. Palestinian Arabs are oppressed.

    They “immigrated” to Palestine with the consent of the British who were then in control of the area. They made life impossible for the Brits who like most of Europe did not rally want Jews in their countries.

    They justified themselves based on the premise of some self serving “promise from God” that Palestine was theirs.

    If that were true, then anybody not having ancestors from the original peoples in the North, Central and South American continent should be expelled and sent back to Europe, Africa and Asia.

    • Drakken

      Yeah well you see how well SA is doing since the kaffirs have taken over and you want to do the same thing with Israel, get bloody stuffed you commi fuc* ! I hope Israel wipes out every goddamn muslim savage in the region.

  • Mandela_calls_Israel_Apartheid

    Your security whine, like your “anti-Semite” and “self hating Jew” whines, is all worn out.
    NOBODY is going to belive that lie from the most powerful military in the Middle East with huge stockpiles of NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL and CHEMICAL WEAPONS – virtually all paid for by the American Taxpayer.

  • Nelson_Mandela

    When Sharon supported and committed genocide, the US protected him.

    When the Japanese military officers committed war crimes and genocide, the USA protected them except for those who they have no need for.

    So what does the USA, supposedly the bastion of democracy and justice really stand for?

    What does the Israeli nation stand for in giving honour to their war criminal?

    • Drakken

      If he committed genocide, ole Sharon did a damn pizz poor job of it, and why is the arab muslim population increasing if genocide is taking place? Is your arab math a tad off or what?

  • Nelson_Mandela

    Since when did questioning the motives and actions of Israel become Anti-Semitic?
    .
    One can recognize the failures of the government without condemning an entire race.
    .
    Especially when that government is one that commits so many.

  • Nelson_Mandela

    October 14, 1953, Sharon led Unit 101 into an attack on the village of Qibya in Jordan. Under his command, Israeli soldiers moved about in the village blowing up buildings, firing into doorways and windows with automatic weapons and throwing hand grenades, killing 69 civilians (mostly women and children). He later claimed he believed that the demolished houses had been empty of inhabitants, but according to the UN observer who inspected the scene, “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.”

    • Drakken

      It is called warfare you dumbazz, and the fact you admire that commi fuc* Mandela says it all.

  • Nelson_Mandela_a_real_hero

    There are some who believe that the non-Jewish population, even in a high percentage, within our borders will be more effectively under our surveillance; and there are some who believe the contrary, i.e., that it is easier to carry out surveillance over the activities of a neighbor than over those of a tenant. [I] tend to support the latter view and have an additional argument:…the need to sustain the character of the state which will henceforth be Jewish…with a non-Jewish minority limited to 15 percent. I had already reached this fundamental position as early as 1940 [and] it is entered in my diary.” Joseph Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department. From Israel: an Apartheid State by Uri Davis, p.5.

  • Midas

    Scum is scum, whether Israeli, Palestinian, American, Russian, German, Japanese, Chinese, or other. I am not impressed by accusations of ‘anti-semitism’ nor likewise by accusations of ‘zionism.’ I’m afraid half of our world leaders should be tried for war crimes and I see no reason to eulogize Sharon or anyone else who carries his record to the afterlife.

    • Omar

      You forgot to mention that “Palestinian” is a fictional ethnicity invented by the former Soviet Union in order to discredit Israel’s right to exist.

    • Drakken

      War in the end decides all things, silly little leftarded morons like you are always the first to be slaughtered, frankly I say let you pacifistic window lickers earn your Darwin Award. Those who beat their swords into plowshares always plow for those that don’t. You will learn this the hard way.

  • Midas

    don’t celebrate death of anyone. Sharon will meet his Creator and answer to massacres and destruction committed by him. He was a criminal.

    • defcon 4

      If there was any “massacres and destruction committed by him” it was only in response to the regular atrocities committed by muslimes against Israel for the past ~70 years.