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Issue #1625      February 5, 2014

Ariel Sharon – former Israeli PM and mass murderer is dead

War criminal and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died.

Ariel Sharon

In the 1950s Sharon was a major and led an infamous Israeli army terror group called Unit 101, nicknamed the “avengers” that operated without uniforms. The unit countered Palestinian resistance with terror attacks.

It carried out many outrages inside Israel and across its borders.

In August 1953, unit 101 attacked the refugee camp of El-Bureig, in Gaza, where 50 refugees were massacred.

In October 1953, Sharon’s unit attacked the Jordanian village of Qibya.

Israeli historian Avi Shlaim wrote, “Sharon’s orders were to penetrate Qibya, blow up houses and inflict heavy casualties on its inhabitants. The village had been reduced to rubble: 45 houses had been blown up and 69 civilians, two thirds of them women and children, had been killed.” Sharon later claimed he did not know the buildings were occupied. Israel’s then foreign minister, Moshe Sharett said, “this stain (Qibya) will stick to us and will not be washed away for many years to come.”

Between February 1955 and October 1956, Sharon led a paratroop brigade in similar cross-border raids in Gaza and the West Bank. In the West Bank village of Qalqilya, Sharon’s squad killed 83 people.

In 1967, Sharon was given the task of pacifying the Palestinian resistance in the Israeli occupied Gaza Strip. He undertook a policy of brutal repression, blowing up houses, bulldozing large tracts of refugee camps, imposing severe collective punishments and imprisoning hundreds of young Palestinians suspected of being fighters. Many Palestinians were killed and due to his oppressive tactics resistance activity decreased dramatically.

In August 1971 Sharon again commanded troops in repressive operations to control the restive Gaza Strip. Some 2,000 houses were destroyed, leaving over 16,000 people homeless. Hundreds of young Palestinian men were arrested and many deported to Lebanon and Jordan. And 104 Palestinians were also killed.

Like so many Israeli military men Sharon entered politics and was elected to parliament as a MP for Likud. He was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Settlements. Sharon applied the same Zionist fanaticism and many of the strategies he had used in the Gaza Strip. He became the champion and architect for expanded Jewish colonies on the West Bank, creating an Israeli settlement boom.

To increase the numbers of Zionist settlers Sharon transferred much of Israel’s industrial complex to seized Palestinian land and provided government grants to contractors to build private housing for settlers.

Sharon was credited with the Israeli demographic transformation of the West Bank and entrenching an enduring Israeli presence.

In 1981, Sharon was appointed Defence Minister. Sharon sought to crush the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon, believing it would demoralise the Palestinian people and pave the way for Israel to impose a settlement advantageous to Israeli aims. Israel also wanted the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon scattered among other more distant Arab countries as a part of a solution to the “Palestinian problem”.

Israel had for a long time supported, trained and supplied the Phalange Party, a Lebanese fascist militia group founded in 1936 and modelled on the Nazi Party of Germany. In early 1982, Sharon visited them to coordinate plans for an Israeli invasion.

The Israeli invasion began in early June and despite stiff resistance the heavy Israeli air; sea and land bombardment demonstrated the overwhelming military superiority of the Israeli army. There was massive destruction and nearly half a million people were made homeless. Within a week the Israeli army had laid siege to Beirut, but could not break its defences. The siege was to continue for months and casualties mounted. By the end of July, the Lebanese government, church and aid agencies stated that at least 14,000 people had been killed and twice that number seriously wounded. Over 90 percent of those killed were civilians.

After three months of warfare an agreement was reached to end the fighting. The terms of the agreement were that the Palestinian forces would withdraw from Beirut, the USA promised the safety and security of the Palestinian and Lebanese civilian population and Israel would not enter Beirut.

The last contingent of Palestinian defenders left the city on September 1, 1982. On September 15, the Israeli army entered the city and the US did nothing. After surrounding the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila the Israeli army allowed a force of 150 Phalangists into the camps. This Phalange militia group was not a serious fighting force, but the intelligence unit headed by Eli Habeika, a unit famous in Lebanon for the massacres it had previously committed. So began the massacre of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, many tortured and raped before being murdered. It is estimated that at least 2,000 people were killed during the two days of mass killings. Almost all those killed were elderly, women or children.

After publicity of the massacre and an international outcry, Israel held an inquiry. Despite its shortcomings, with some parts of the commission’s report kept secret, it was still a damning indictment of Ariel Sharon. Sharon was found guilty of indirect responsibility for the massacre, rather than direct responsibility based on the premise that he was not present during the killings.

The commission’s report said that Sharon had received Israeli intelligence warnings that there were no armed Palestinian fighters in the camps and that the Phalange might go on a rampage if allowed in the camps. In part the report stated, “In our view, even without such a warning, it is impossible to justify the Minister of Defence’s (Sharon) disregard of the danger of the massacre.” (The Kahan Report). In 1983, Sharon resigned as Defence Minister and retired to his farm.

In 1996, he returned to politics and re-entered the Israeli government as Minister of National Infrastructure. Later he became the Prime Minister of Israel. Sharon’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 cost over 20,000 Palestinian and Lebanese lives. At the massacres in the refugee camps of Beirut he was responsible for the deaths of 2,000 people. Reading the record of Sharon’s life shows he is a terrorist leader and war criminal. Israel accuses others of terrorism, yet not only does it not bring its own terrorist leaders to justice; it elects them to run the country.

Next article – School places scramble shows snobbery at its worst

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