Notwithstanding the apologies of the evangelists:There is no sympathy for Sharon here [Archives:2006/914/Opinion]

January 23 2006

Many people would think that this is really a mean statement to say and that this comes out of sheer hatred and lack of human feeling. As far as the majority of Arabs are concerned Ariel Sharon was absent of human feeling almost all his life with respect to Arabs in general and Palestinians, in particular. Sharon was responsible for a lot of the dirty work of Zionist dogmatists, who sought to cleanse the Holy Land of any of its indigenous residents. In more simpler words, Sharon's hands were stained with Arab blood – particularly those of helpless unarmed civilians, or even unarmed soldiers who have surrendered to the “Israeli Defense Forces”, in Sinai and other places. Even conscientious Israelis saw in Ariel Sharon a mean dogmatist and after he engineered the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian camp massacres in Lebanon, some 400,000 Israelis demonstrated demanding that the Israeli Government remove him from his position as Minister of Defense then and hold him accountable for the death of so many innocent unarmed men, women and children (the massacre took place in December 1982 and took the lives of some 1,500 Palestinians killed in their sleep, by Lebanese agents sent by no other than Ariel Sharon). Just when there was some hope that Ariel Sharon was indeed going to be called to questioning by an independent Court in Belgium, under a Belgian Law that permits bringing international criminals against humanity to be tried in Belgium, the latter was called off due to some heavy pressure on poor Belgium by the United States and the assassination of the man who was going to be the star witness in the case. Eli Hobeika, the Lebanese Commander of the Lebanese Maronite militias that were ordered by Sharon to go into the camp “to look for Palestine Liberation Organization militiamen”, as Sharon was later to unabashedly admit, was blown to pieces by a “mysterious” bomb that was placed in his car. This was right after he was ready to testify that indeed he acted under orders from Ariel Sharon to carry out the massacre. As if that was not enough, the United States put on its pressure machine and literally forced the case to be suspended by the Belgian Justice Department. Talk about protecting terrorists. This was in the early days of Sharon's Premiership in the early years of the new Millennium! Just for the record, Sharon was also responsible, directly or indirectly, for engineering, or creating the conditions for also the following massacres in Lebanon: Black Saturday-Karantina Massacre-Damour massacre-Tel al-Zaatar Massacre-War of the Camps.

Ariel Sharon has a long history of what most Arabs, especially the Palestinians, see as criminal activity, especially against innocent human beings, who were already refugees of a previous forced dislocation from their original homes, as well as having partaken in the killing of Arab soldiers, who were already prisoners of war. This is something known to every Arab in the street and there is no educational background required for hating a man who hates your people so much. Yet, one is surprised that if so many Israelis in the early 1980s came out to the streets to protest against Ariel Sharon as Defense Minister, why did they “vote” him into office in the early part of this Century and have literally given him a full mandate to do whatever he likes in the West Bank and Gaza, except make peace with the Palestinians. Many think that the election of President George W. Bush had a lot to do with it. George W. Bush, as Governor of Texas, had gone to Israel in 1998 and Ariel Sharon then was his escort and guide. It seemed that they had a lot of mutual ideas to exchange and obviously both had mutual plans drawn up for their coming ascent into the leadership of their respective countries.

Back a few decades ago, Ariel Sharon was noticed quite early by the “founding father” of Israel, David Ben Gurion, after displaying his unabashed militant Zionist inclinations and the latter did not hesitate to bring the young fanatical Zionist into his own care and custody to further strengthen the ideological tendencies of this promising “hero”, when he heard about the kinds of sadistic tendencies that Ariel Sharon had against innocent Arab citizens. Ever since then, Sharon was well protected by the international Zionist establishment, no matter what he did.

One is truly amazed to watch the US coverage of the Israeli Prime Minister's latest illness and how little mention, if any, is ever given of the black record that Sharon has accumulated over the years. On the contrary there were efforts made to paint the man as having turned to the only “hope for peace”, as he has shown by his unilateral decision to get the settlements out of Gaza. Nothing could be further than the truth. If you ask anyone in Gaza, they will tell you that not much has changed since the Israelis “withdrew”, as they are confronted with daily killings, encroachments, assaults and what have you, to make life as miserable for the residents of Gaza as possible. Not to mention that the withdrawal from Gaza was never going to be complete anyway as a “security buffer” is now being permanently annexed to Israel. On the other hand, Ariel Sharon killed all the steps that have been achieved in more than a decade of negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, with international backing, including American deep involvement, that almost culminated in a final peace accord. Sharon was not ready yet for that at all, as he had plans for the West Bank that, for all intents and purposes left the Palestinians with little left to form a state of any kind. Even that which is left is going to be broken up into little pockets here and there with the Israelis in full control of the air, sea and ground access to any of these pockets. In other words, Sharon has turned the remaining parts of Arab Palestine into several prisons, wherein life would be so miserable for the Palestinians, that by sheer logic frustration is bound to keep the region in heat for some time to come. With American blind support to Sharon, the Holy Land is far from being the haven of peaceful coexistence, originally envisioned by the several negotiators who took part in the peace process, before the unpaved “road map” washed all those efforts aside. Just to add more of the bloody taints on Sharon, under Sharon, Israeli troops and Caterpillar tractors killed more international reporters and peace activists than at any other time in Israel's black history. Among the casualties: the American activist martyr Rachel Corrie, God have mercy on her soul, and CNN's Ben Wederman, who was shot in the back, but thanks to the Almighty, miraculously survived. How can any conscientious human being find any sympathy for a man with such a blood stained record?

Hassan Al-Haifi has been a Yemeni political economist and journalist for more than 20 years.