Ariel Sharon [Archives:2004/766/Opinion]

August 23 2004

That Ariel Sharon is a controversial figure in the Middle East political arena is not disputed, even by his admirers in Israel and the international Zionist establishment. Of course, his achievements for the Zionist cause have been far beyond what the Zionist establishment has longed for. But these achievements are not so much as measurable in square kilometers by his aggressive settlement building drive or length of “security buffers” or walls he constructs. Over the last four years, Ariel Sharon has been able to turn the whole idea of Middle East peace as foreseen by Madrid and Oslo topsy turvy. In fact, even the Road Map to Peace, envisioned by the present White Administration, has simply been shelved until something else comes to replace it as a matter of show really. The White House has decided to give Ariel Sharon a relatively free hand in deciding how to map out the Holy Land. This is exactly what he is doing gratefully. In fact, the Palestine policy of the White House may be considered as a “do nothing” policy and hopes to guarantee one very strong voting bloc that is not subject to such matters as taxpayer's money or budget consideration or other areas of assessment. These are some of the strange mechanics of American politics that have yet to be rationalized and made subject to transparent scrutiny. We leave that to the American people to delve into.
On August 15, 2004, the New York Times Magazine, published a long article about Ariel Sharon by James Benne, titled Sharon's War. It began with an attempted portrayal of bravery amidst an attack by Arab forces in the 1948 War of Independence, where Ariel was pinned down after failing to take over a hill where the Latrun Monastery once stood, and open the road leading to Jerusalem. He was reportedly shot and “escaped” by a miracle.
That was all fine and dandy, but then Bennet diverges a bit and went on to present times to show how Sharon's thinking was molded: “When the Palestinian uprising brought his view of reality back into fashion, Sharon was ready.” Now that is what I call misleading journalism. Sharon was ready well before the uprising because in fact the Palestinian uprising is a direct result of Sharon's own initiative of taking a walk in the Al-Aqsa Mosque with the assistance of a security accompaniment of 3,000 men before even becoming Prime Minister. Surely if that is not by institutional arrangement it is simply impossible to believe that a man who was out of office could muster such a security arrangement for a simple walk. Needless to say that the walk was intended to provoke action on the part of the Palestinians, for which the right wingers in Israel and the international Zionist establishment were geared for. The Zionist agenda was ready to proceed on full throttle and all those wonderful peace treaty signings were for all practical purposes over with right then and there with Sharon fully ready take on what was coming and to make the best out of it.
Now we look at a little more history: “In the 1950's, Sharon trained and the commandos who established Israel's reputation for ruthless reprisals”. Sharon was a bona fide military wing Zionist who knew what the real essence of the Zionist agenda entailed. Force the driving element of that agenda and ruthlessness was its safeguard. “Sharon bears much of the responsibility fro bequeathing Israel an image that unsettles and distances Jews and non-Jews overseas. As with so much else, this was a pattern he set early. One raid that Ben Gurion called him in to explain was his attack in 1957 on the village of Qibbia in the West Bank, then ruled by, then ruled by Jordan. “Sharon was retaliating for the killing of an Israeli woman and her two toddlers (Of course we are not told of the circumstances of the latter incident).”
But before explaining Sharon's actions, the excuse comes first: He later said that he and his men believed that the 45 houses they blew up over several hours were empty. But 69 Arabs were killed, half of them women and children. The killings brought Israel its first condemnation from the United Nations Security Council. (In his autobiography, Sharon wrote that Ben Gurion told him that the raid would serve as a warning to other Arabs)”. In other words, a pat on the back from one of the Founding Fathers of the Hebrew State. Sharon was later to be reared by Ben Gurion and his place in the Zionist established became assured. Never mind the UN condemnation.
Now let us get some insight into present Zionist thinking, with a Sharon accent: Then and now, Sharon's use of force may have stirred some who longed for Jewish power and reassured many that Israel would remain a shelter in an unpredictable world – the only place as Sharon puts it, where 'Jews can defend themselves by themselves”. So, that others may die for this 'defense' is not important to Sharon or his likes, because the Zionist creed leaves no room for the rights of others to live in peace or the rights to a free and prosperous life. In the holy land the Zionist movement only sees that rights are only for illegitimate settlers on occupied territory recognized by the international community as belonging to the Palestinians. Bennet makes subtle mention of the massacres of Sharon's engineered massacres in the Sabra and Shatilla Palestinian camps in Lebanon that was even condemned by the Israeli public with a march that brought in 400,000 Israelis against Sharon. In fact the whole Lebanon Civil War was underwritten by Sharon to bring to an end any idea of any form of Palestinian resistance and to bring Lebanon under Israeli vassal status. Luckily, the regional did not fully support such aggrandizement of Israeli power. With Hezbollah ending that dream, Sharon turned to carrying out the mess that we are seeing in the West Bank and Gaza. He aggressively built settlements in the West Bank, notwithstanding his promise to Washington to halt such activity. Even recently, despite his “initiative” in Gaza to withdraw, he has just declared a contract for building 1,000 new settlement units in the West Bank. Surely these are not the actions of a nation that is hoped to be “moral beacon” as Bennet would have liked Israel to be. In Sharon's mentality Zionism does not allow for moral grounds. Bennet did not forget to show how the US fits into all this: “Capitalizing on a White House that has chosen to view the world much as he does, he is trying to gird Israel for a conflict – not merely with the Palestinians – whose end he cannot foresee.” Sharon is the cause d''tre of the conflict.