Saturday, January 07, 2006

Ariel Sharon: A Tainted Legacy

Amid all the glowing eulogies (slightly premature since the man is, as of the writing of this post, still alive) peddled about by the US "media", it might be useful to remember the kind of man Ariel Sharon was, not the kind of man he is being portrayed as. I can't dispute his recent achievements but, for perspective, his past transgressions need to be hilighted as well. To that end, I quote a well-written letter by Dan Veldragon to

Just for the record, let's remember Ariel Sharon as he really was.

Prior to 1948 he was a terrorist, attacking British forces in Palestine, and participating the murder of civilians and massacre of villages. A lot of Israeli politicians from that era were. But after 1948, he kept on killing. He ran a special army group, Unit 101, which targeted civilians and conducted operations outside Israel's borders. One of these operations, Qibya, resulted in the massacre of 69 women and children, and enough outrage inside and outside Israel that the unit was formally dissolved.

In 1956, during the Suez Crisis, Sharon executed 40 captured Egyptian Prisoners of War, that's a war crime. In both 67 and 73, Sharon was active in theatres where Prisoners of War were murdered, though its not clear whether he was doing it then. He helped to pioneer the Settlement Policy, which created the settlements in the occupied territories, resulting in displacement and disenfranchisement, and often outright killing of Palestinians. He was the architect of the invasion of Lebanon, itself a war crime, and therefore of the 18 year occupation. The Siege of Beirut and the Sabra and Shattilla massacres, both war crimes, can be laid at his door.

His deliberate actions triggered the second intifada, and then through use of assassinations and raids on refugee camps, he ensured that the pot would keep boiling every time it seemed to be settling down. Politically, he was well served by the fear and terror brought about by the second intifada. Although he demanded that the Palestinian Authority control its territory, he undercut their ability to do so at every turn. Finally, although this must be considered the least of his sins, it appears that his recent political career involved major bribery and influence peddling, a developing scandal cut short by his stroke.

Ariel Sharon spent a lifetime murdering and brutalizing women, children, civilians, noncombatants and the helpless. He committed war crimes. Every step he took was drenched with blood.


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