Sharon is dead, but Sharonism lives on

Israel/Palestine
on 37 Comments
n a 1994 exchange of letters Bush and Sharon agreed that all the major Israeli settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands, and that the Palestinians would never achieve their internationally-guaranteed right of return.

In a 1994 exchange of letters Bush and Sharon agreed that all the major Israeli settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands, and that the Palestinians would never achieve their internationally-guaranteed right of return.

The Butcher of Beirut, as he was long known, is no more. After eight years in a coma, during which the militaristic hard-right leader was re-branded a peacenik, Israeli General Ariel Sharon was finally pronounced dead.

The tributes are already pouring in, including from Secretary of State John Kerry, who paid lip service to occasional disagreements with Sharon, but reassured Israel that “Our nation shares your loss and honors Ariel Sharon’s memory.” For the rest of the world, of course, there is nothing – nothing – remotely honorable in the legacy of Israel’s perhaps most consistent war criminal.

As Israeli journalist Dimi Reider documents in 972mag.org, Sharon’s violence began early, in Israel’s pre-statehood period, when he

joined the Haganah in the mid 1940s, and first saw action in the run-up to the 1948 War, when his unit staged raids against Arab villages around Kfar Malal. He was seriously wounded in the battle of Latrun and temporarily left the army in 1949 to study at the Hebrew University. By personal order of David Ben-Gurion, however, Sharon was recalled to military service and asked to head the newly established Unit 101.

The unit was created specifically for the purpose of retaliatory raids against Palestinian refugee guerrillas, who operated across the Jordanian and Egyptian borders. As often as not, the attacks were against civilian civilian targets, including refugee camps and villages in the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip and Jordanian-occupied West Bank.

Attacks against Palestinians were a leit-motif of Sharon’s biography. In the 1970s, after Israel had occupied the Gaza Strip, he sent armored bulldozers into the crowded Jabaliya refugee camp to create new military control roads, demolishing hundreds of families’ homes along the way. It gave rise to one of his first nicknames, the Bulldozer of Gaza.

And as the Palestine Center’s Yousef Munayyer reminds us, the timeline of Sharon’s war crimes is a long one. The attacks on civilians that began before Israel was declared a state, continued afterwards, and led directly to what quickly became known as the Qibya massacre in 1953.

Qibya is a Palestinian village in the West Bank located close to the Green Line. In an Israeli attack on the village which was led on the ground by Sharon at the time, scores of homes were destroyed while civilians were still inside. The outcome was a massacre that left 69 Palestinians dead, most of whom were women and children.

The attack was internationally condemned and Israel scrambled to control the damage to its image following the massacre. The United Nations condemned the massacre and the U.S. State department said those responsible “should be brought to account and that effective measures should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.” None of the officials responsible were held to account, however, and this culture of impunity would be a recurring theme not only in Israeli history but in Ariel Sharon’s history in particular.

Other attacks would follow, most notoriously the Sabra-Shatila massacre of 1982. Early that summer, Israeli troops under Sharon’s authority as Defense Minister, invaded and occupied South Lebanon. After weeks of a deadly siege of Beirut, the U.S. arranged for PLO troops to be withdrawn from the city, leaving the Palestinian refugee camps filled with women, children and old people unguarded. On the night of September 16, Israeli troops surrounded the two camps in West Beirut, preventing anyone in the camps from leaving. They then set flares, to light the way for soldiers of the Israeli-backed Lebanese Phalange and Lebanese Forces militias who attacked the defenseless camp, slaughtering 2,000 Palestinian civilians, hundreds of them children.

Israel and its top military official were held responsible – but without consequence. In 1983 the United Nations’ MacBride commission found Israel responsible for the violence. The same year, Israel’s own Kahan Commission found Israel “indirectly” responsible, but noted that Sharon bore personal responsibility “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge.” The general – then named the Butcher of Beirut for the first time – was thus recognized as culpable, but there was no accountability. Sharon resigned as defense minister, but – in accordance with Israel’s impunity-based political system – he remained in the Cabinet, and within two years returned as a Likud minister. There was no trial, no indictment, not even a dishonorable discharge from the Israel Defense Forces as a result of his war crimes.

Starting in 1985, when he became minister for housing and construction, Sharon was responsible for adding almost 150,000 housing units to Jews-only Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. From then on, the nature of General Sharon’s war crimes – violations of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions – shifted from acts carried out in direct battle, to acts carried out on the settlement-pocked hilltops of the occupied Palestinian territory.

Sharon remained central to the Israeli government – a few times in the opposition, most of the time in leadership, including as prime minister, until his 2006 stroke put him out of commission permanently. He opposed the Oslo process, and became a key champion of the increasingly powerful settler movement. And so while the nature of the violations changed, the fact of Sharon’s violations of international law continued. The massacres violated the laws of war. The settlements violated the Geneva Conventions. The Apartheid Wall (that Sharon also orchestrated) violated the International Court of Justice ruling.

In 2005 Sharon arranged to evacuate the 5,000 or so Israeli settlers and the Israeli soldiers from the occupied Gaza Strip. Sharon was suddenly hailed as a peacemaker. But IDF soldiers remained in command of Gaza, redeployed just outside the Strip and surrounding it with military force. Israel maintained complete control over Gaza’s borders, exit and entry of goods and people, the air space, the seas off Gaza’s coast, the economy and the lives of Gaza’s one and a half million Palestinians – 75% of whom are under 25 years old. The redeployment changed the nature of Israel’s occupation from traditional settler colonialism to an old-fashioned siege. But Gaza remains occupied. The real goal of the Gaza “disengagement“plan was achieved: in the words of Sharon’s top aide, Dov Weisglass, it was the “freezing of the peace process.” Mission accomplished.

And Sharon remains a war criminal. Kerry had one other thing right in his accolade: “Ariel Sharon’s journey was Israel’s journey,” he said. He was right. Only in Israel, where the powerful right wing has long been superseded by the far right, the ultra right, and the fascist right, could an unrepentant war criminal, never changing his views, suddenly become the epitome of the political center. Sharon is dead – long live Sharonism.

37 Responses

  1. just
    January 12, 2014, 1:37 pm

    A superior article, Ms. Bennis. Thank you for serving up the unadulterated truth, and dispelling the curious, yet persistent, lies that have been spun about the “man of peace”.

    He remained a Butcher, and those that praise him are extolling and aspiring to Sharonism.

    • seafoid
      January 12, 2014, 2:03 pm

      The problem with Sharonism is that Israel became addicted to violence . So yeah it works in the short term but the social costs are enormous. Israeli society has paid very heavily for YESHA. Their whole education system had to be reconfigured to produce the drones that run the occupation They were very successful in castrating all political opposition but that means now that they have no Plan B.

      Judaism and Prussianism are a very bad mix. There is something about minority sects , secrecy and political power that just doesn’t work. The Assads over the road are Exhibit B.

    • Citizen
      January 12, 2014, 5:45 pm

      Sharon referred to his blockade of Gaza as “Formaldehyde for the Palestinian state.”

      • Sibiriak
        January 12, 2014, 9:46 pm

        Regarding “formaldehyde”:

        link to haaretz.com

        ” Top PM aide: Gaza plan aims to freeze the peace process”
        By Ari Shavit | Oct. 6, 2004 |

        “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Haaretz.

        “And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”

        Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Haaretz for the Friday Magazine.

        “The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,” he said. “It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”

        Asked why the disengagement plan had been hatched, Weisglass replied: “Because in the fall of 2003 we understood that everything was stuck. And although by the way the Americans read the situation, the blame fell on the Palestinians, not on us, Arik [Sharon] grasped that this state of affairs could not last, that they wouldn’t leave us alone, wouldn’t get off our case. Time was not on our side. There was international erosion, internal erosion. Domestically, in the meantime, everything was collapsing. The economy was stagnant, and the Geneva Initiative had gained broad support. And then we were hit with the letters of officers and letters of pilots and letters of commandos [refusing to serve in the territories]. These were not weird kids with green ponytails and a ring in their nose with a strong odor of grass. These were people like Spector’s group [Yiftah Spector, a renowned Air Force pilot who signed the pilot’s letter]. Really our finest young people.”

        Weisglass does not deny that the main achievement of the Gaza plan is the freezing of the peace process in a “legitimate manner.”

        “That is exactly what happened,” he said. “You know, the term `peace process’ is a bundle of concepts and commitments. The peace process is the establishment of a Palestinian state with all the security risks that entails. The peace process is the evacuation of settlements, it’s the return of refugees, it’s the partition of Jerusalem. And all that has now been frozen…. what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did.”

        Sharon, he said, could also argue “honestly” that the disengagement plan was “a serious move because of which, out of 240,000 settlers, 190,000 will not be moved from their place.”

  2. Donald
    January 12, 2014, 2:21 pm

    Googling around, I found this link to an old story about a massacre in Gaza in 1956 after the facts came out in 1995–

    link

    The most interesting part (to me) is this–
    —————————————————-
    “At the center of the storm is a debate over why such incidents were not revealed before, and whether they should be revealed now.

    “I would have preferred that nobody would have known anything. I would have preferred it be secret and all done behind closed doors,” said Michael Bar-Zohar, who was a top spokesman for the army during the 1967 Israeli-Arab war and a former member of Parliament.

    “We came to this country to live in a different society. Now all the sacred cows, the national symbols, are being systematically destroyed,” he said. “If you destroy the symbols, you take away from Israel the uniqueness. You say we are exactly like any other”
    ———————————————————-

    And another link on the same atrocities–

    link

    Google the name “Arye Biro” to find others. Those are just the ones I clicked on.

    • tree
      January 12, 2014, 2:32 pm

      From your second link:

      “If I were to be put on trial for what I did, then it would be necessary to put on trial at least one-half the Israeli army which, in similar circumstances, did what I did.”—Israeli Brig. Gen. Aryeh Biro, who admitted to killing hundereds of unresisting Egyptians.

      What did he do that “at-least one-half of the Israeli army” did? Kill unarmed civilians. Nuff said.

      • thankgodimatheist
        January 12, 2014, 6:38 pm

        “Kill unarmed civilians”
        Also executed prisoners of war. A major war crime.

    • eljay
      January 12, 2014, 3:04 pm

      >> “If you destroy the symbols, you take away from Israel the uniqueness. You say we are exactly like any other”

      Hevven forbid Israel should be anything less than a supremacist “Jewish State”!

  3. DICKERSON3870
    January 12, 2014, 3:32 pm

    RE: “The United Nations condemned the massacre [of 69 Palestinians in Qibya] and the U.S. State department said those responsible ‘should be brought to account and that effective measures should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future’. None of the officials responsible were held to account, however, and this culture of impunity would be a recurring theme not only in Israeli history but in Ariel Sharon’s history in particular.“ ~ Yousef Munayyer

    NO ONE WAS HELD BY ISRAEL TO ACCOUNT FOR THE QIBYA MASSACRE OF 69 PALESTINIANS, YET NOTE THIS INCREDIBLE ISRAELI CHUTZPAH:
    “Israeli ‘hospitality’: Netanyahu throws cold water over Kerry’s plans”, by Phil Weiss and Ira Glunts, Mondoweiss.net, 1/02/14

    [EXCERPT] Netanyahu has some crust. This is how he began his remarks today in Jerusalem before going behind closed doors with the U.S. Secretary of State: throwing cold water all over John Kerry by saying that the Palestinians are no partners for peace because “instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel.”
    Welcome back to Jerusalem, John. I want to use this opportunity to express once again my personal appreciation and the appreciation of the people of Israel for your unremitting personal efforts to advance peace between us and the Palestinians. I know that you’re committed to peace, I know that I’m committed to peace, but unfortunately, given the actions and words of Palestinian leaders, there’s growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace.

    A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced terrorists as heroes. To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage. How can President Abbas says – how can he say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists. [Yet Israel has stood with its terrorists over and over again, At least three (Begin, Shamir and Sharon) have become prime ministers of Israel] . . .

    SOURCE – link to mondoweiss.net

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 12, 2014, 3:51 pm

      P.S. RE: “Israel has stood with its terrorists over and over again. At least three (Begin, Shamir and Sharon) have become prime ministers of Israel] . . .” ~ me

      ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF ISRAEL STANDING WITH ITS OWN TERRORISTS (assassins found guilty but immediately released and pardoned by Israel), FROM WIKIPEDIA [Folke Bernadotte]:

      [EXCERPTS] Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg (in Swedish: Greve af Wisborg; 2 January 1895 – 17 September 1948) was a Swedish diplomat and nobleman noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt released on 14 April 1945.[1][2][3] In 1945, he received a German surrender offer from Heinrich Himmler, though the offer was ultimately rejected.
      After the war, Bernadotte was unanimously chosen to be the United Nations Security Council mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1947-1948. He was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1948 by the militant Zionist group Lehi while pursuing his official duties. The Lehi was led at the time by Yitzhak Shamir, who was later to become Prime Minister of Israel. . .
      . . . Bernadotte was assassinated on Friday 17 September 1948 by members of the armed Jewish Zionist group Lehi (commonly known as the Stern Gang or Stern Group).
      A three man ‘center’ of this extreme Jewish group had approved the killing: Yitzhak Yezernitsky (the future Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Shamir), Nathan Friedmann (also called Natan Yellin-Mor) and Yisrael Eldad (also known as Scheib)[citation needed]. A fourth leader, Emmanuel Strassberg (Hanegbi) was also suspected by the Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion of being part of the group that had decided on the assassination.[30][31][32][33] The assassination was planned by the Lehi operations chief in Jerusalem, Yehoshua Zettler. A four-man team ambushed Bernadotte’s motorcade in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood. Two of them, Yitzhak Ben Moshe (Markovitz) and Avraham Steinberg, shot at the tires of the UN vehicles. A third, Yehoshua Cohen, opened the door of Bernadotte’s car and shot him at close range. The bullets also hit a French officer who was sitting beside him, U.N. Observer Colonel André Serot. Both were killed. In the immediate confusion, Col. Serot was mistaken for Dr. Ralph Bunche, the American aide to Bernadotte. . .
      . . . Lehi was forcibly disarmed and many members were arrested, but nobody was charged with the killings. Yellin-Mor and another Lehi member, Schmuelevich, were charged with belonging to a terrorist organization. They were They were found guilty but immediately released and pardoned. Yellin-Mor had meanwhile been elected to the first Knesset.[47] Years later, Cohen’s role was uncovered by David Ben-Gurion’s biographer Michael Bar Zohar, while Cohen was working as Ben-Gurion’s personal bodyguard. . .
      . . . The first public admission of Lehi’s role in the killing was made on the anniversary of the assassination in 1977.[48] The statute of limitations for murder had expired in 1971.[32][49]
      The Swedish government believed that Bernadotte had been assassinated by Israeli government agents.[50] They publicly attacked the inadequacy of the Israel investigation . . .

      SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org.

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 12, 2014, 3:54 pm

        P.P.S. Here is a nice photograph of the man who authorized the assassination of Folke Bernadotte (and later went on to become Pmime Minister of Israel), namely Yitzak Shamir. In the photo, Shamir is shown mentoring his young protégé, Benjamin Netanyahu.

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 12, 2014, 4:10 pm

        P.P.P.S. RE: “How can President Abbas says – how can he say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists.” ~ Netanyahu (from above)

        WILD GUESS: The same way that Israel has! ! !

        AN EXAMPLE OF ISRAEL HONORING ITS OWN TERRORISTS [i.e. Israel embracing the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifying them as heroes], FROM WIKIPEDIA [Lavon Affair]:

        [EXCERPTS] The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named Operation Susannah, conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation,[1] a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence for plans to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned targets. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, “unspecified malcontents” or “local nationalists” with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to retain its occupying troops in Egypt’s Suez Canal zone.[2] The operation caused no casualties, except for those members of the cell who committed suicide after being captured. . .

        . . . The operation ultimately became known as the Lavon Affair after the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon was forced to resign as a consequence of the incident. Before Lavon’s resignation, the incident had been euphemistically referred to in Israel as the “Unfortunate Affair” or “The Bad Business” (Hebrew: עסק הביש‎, Esek HaBish). After Israel publicly denied any involvement in the incident for 51 years, the surviving agents were officially honored in 2005 by being awarded certificates of appreciation by Israeli President Moshe Katzav.[3]After being denied for 51 years, the surviving agents were in 2005 officially honored with a certificate of appreciation by the Israeli President Moshe Katzav.[3] . . .

        SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

      • RoHa
        January 12, 2014, 9:28 pm

        The more paranoid of us suspect that Israel had a hand in the murder of Olaf Palme and maybe that of Anna Lindh as well.

  4. ritzl
    January 12, 2014, 4:00 pm

    I wonder how many streets, squares, or settlements will be named after him, all while the obviously bogus “Palestinian incitement” tack is pursued. In real time.

    Argh.

  5. DICKERSON3870
    January 12, 2014, 4:24 pm

    RE: “Starting in 1985, when he became minister for housing and construction, Sharon was responsible for adding almost 150,000 housing units to Jews-only Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. From then on, the nature of General Sharon’s war crimes – violations of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions – shifted from acts carried out in direct battle, to acts carried out on the settlement-pocked hilltops of the occupied Palestinian territory.” ~ Phyllis Bennis

    FROM ALISTAIR CROOKE, London Review of Books, 03/03/11:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . It was [Ariel] Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. . .
    . . . It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence. . .

    SOURCE – link to lrb.co.uk

  6. DICKERSON3870
    January 12, 2014, 4:34 pm

    RE: Sharon remained central to the Israeli government – a few times in the opposition, most of the time in leadership, including as prime minister, until his 2006 stroke put him out of commission permanently. He opposed the Oslo process, and became a key champion of the increasingly powerful settler movement.” ~ Phyllis Bennis

    MY COMMENT: Even the very troublesome “illegal outposts” were a 1997 initiative by none but Sharon himself, then foreign Minister under Netanyahu, who’d urged settlers to seize hilltops in order to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    SEE: “Fighting Settlers’ Impunity and Immunity”, by Pierre Klochendler, Inter Press Service, 12/16/11

    [EXCERPT] . . . The Israeli occupation, particularly the future of wildcat settlements built by settlers without formal government approval has been a simmering issue ever since their creation during the 1990s.
    In 2005, former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department Talia Sasson published a landmark report on the question [of wildcat settlements]. Commissioned by then prime minister Ariel Sharon, the report found the Israeli government guilty of “institutional lawbreaking”* and of the theft of private Palestinian land to covertly establish over a hundred “illegal outposts”.
    The damning irony is that the “outposts” were a 1997 initiative by none but Sharon himself, then foreign Minister under Netanyahu, who’d urged settlers to seize hilltops in order to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.
    The report recommended criminal investigation against those allegedly involved in the scheme, but it was shelved. Repeated injunctions have since pressed successive governments to address the issue. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to original.antiwar.com

    * RE: Commissioned by then prime minister Ariel Sharon, the report found the Israeli government guilty of “institutional lawbreaking” and of the theft of private Palestinian land to covertly establish over a hundred “illegal outposts”. ~ Klochendler, from above

    Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis elaborated in Olmstead v. United States (1928):

    In a government of law, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

  7. Bumblebye
    January 12, 2014, 5:26 pm

    Ariel Sharon: Israel’s Warrior Politician

    link to bbc.co.uk

    An interesting take on Sharon. Includes him insisting (in English) that he personally checked the houses in Qibya, and found no people. Well worth a listen, not by any means a hagiography.

    • Citizen
      January 12, 2014, 6:08 pm

      Yeah, after he was put under klieg lights for his unit’s massacre of children in their homes in Qibya, he claimed there was no way of knowing the children might have been afraid and so ran into the back bedroom to hide, but the evidence showed they were barred by his Unit 101 from leaving their homes and the entire homes were riddled front to back with bullets, etc. The truth is he followed orders, which were explicitly to make a huge example of what happens to anyone who crosses paths with the Zionist mission. Deterrence was the goal. Brute force was the means to that end.

      • Donald
        January 12, 2014, 10:56 pm

        Qibya was also during a period (late 40’s to early 50’s) when according to Benny Morris Israel killed several thousand “infiltrators”–that is, Palestinians crossing the border. According to Morris (in “Israel’s Border Wars”, which I read once, but it’s also cited in Avi Shlaim’s “The Iron Wall”) a small fraction of the infiltrators were terrorists, but most weren’t. With that sort of thing going on Qibya was just more of the same.

      • Bumblebye
        January 13, 2014, 8:10 am

        Also includes a snippet from Sherard Couper Coles(sp?), our Amb at the time, who was in the room with him when he heard of a suicide bombing and immediately ordered a retaliatory attack. Amb does not seem impressed!

  8. stevelaudig
    January 12, 2014, 6:59 pm

    Another dead, unidicted, unpunished, yet lavishly praised war criminal. Israel and the US have so much in common.

    • just
      January 12, 2014, 7:58 pm

      We do.

      Pitiful. Two young countries who have done so much wrong. I hope that the US pulls out of this impossible and terribly bloodthirsty mire.

      • RoHa
        January 12, 2014, 9:40 pm

        The US is hardly a young country in international terms. There are plenty of countries, even in Europe and Asia, that were not established until after 1776. Of course, a lot of them were founded on territories which previously were parts of or run by other states, but that is true of Israel as well.

  9. Pujete
    January 12, 2014, 9:24 pm

    The fat is in the fire!

  10. Nevada Ned
    January 12, 2014, 10:12 pm

    Israel’s supporters are working overtime to burnish the image of Ariel Sharon. So let me recommend a brief survey of Sharon’s blood-soaked career, “The Crimes of Ariel Sharon,” written in 2001 by Alexander Cockburn, who pulls no punches.

  11. Donald
    January 12, 2014, 10:52 pm

    One thing that’s useful about all this Western praise for a brutal thug is this–it’s a useful thing to throw back in the faces of anyone who ever criticizes the Palestinians for cheering for terrorists. Of course we all know Western leaders and pundits are hypocrites on human rights, but the nice thing about Sharon is that seeing all these respectable Western officials and pundits gloss over the old war criminal’s atrocities really drives the point home.

    • Sibiriak
      January 13, 2014, 1:59 am

      Donald:

      One thing that’s useful about all this Western praise for a brutal thug is this–it’s a useful thing to throw back in the faces of anyone who ever criticizes the Palestinians for cheering for TERRORISTS.

      […] respectable Western officials and pundits gloss over the old WAR CRIMINAL’S’s atrocities really drives the point home. [emphasis added]

      Not quite. In contemporary demonology, a “war criminal” is distinctly less damnable than a “terrorist”. There are many forms of “war crimes”, and, unlike “terrorism”, many are subject to debate and rationalization, such as “the use of disproportionate force” etc.

      • Donald
        January 13, 2014, 9:40 am

        “In contemporary demonology, a “war criminal” is distinctly less damnable than a “terrorist”.”

        I partly agree with that. Westerners also feel that killing civilians with high-tech gear dropped from planes is somehow not as evil as when the explosives are delivered in person or via crude rockets. Unless it’s an enemy country which uses the high tech gear, in which case it goes back to being inexcusably awful.

        It boils down to “our murderers are less bad than their murderers”. As’ad AbuKhalil at “The Angry Arab” sometimes points out how the NYT writes what sounds like excuses for terrorist bombings in Lebanon and Syria by saying that the bombings occurred in Hezbollah-controlled or Alawite areas or what have you. It’s probably unconscious bias on the part of the NYT–I’m sure they deny they were excusing the bombings, but the point is that they don’t talk about “Israel-controlled areas” when Palestinian rockets or bombs explode.

      • American
        January 13, 2014, 10:48 am

        Sibiriak says:
        ”Not quite. In contemporary demonology, a “war criminal” is distinctly less damnable than a “terrorist”. There are many forms of “war crimes”, and, unlike “terrorism”, many are subject to debate and rationalization, such as “the use of disproportionate force” etc.”>>>>>

        Not really. Most war crimes address the killing of civilians or slaughter of unarmed people. When its done by a state it is usually ‘rationalized’ and called ‘collateral damage’—like our drones wiping our wedding parties.
        When a non state actor or so called terrorist does it its called terror and the dead are called innocent victims.
        Which one best fits the description —the famous ‘banality of evil”?

      • Sibiriak
        January 13, 2014, 11:58 am

        American:

        Not really. Most war crimes address the killing of civilians or slaughter of unarmed people…

        You are talking about law –I was referring to propagandistic demonology.

      • American
        January 13, 2014, 1:36 pm

        Reply
        Sibiriak says:
        January 13, 2014 at 11:58 am
        American:

        You are talking about law –I was referring to propagandistic demonology
        >>>>

        Law, demonology…..currently too close for comfort since law seems to ignore one and demonize the other….eh?

  12. DICKERSON3870
    January 13, 2014, 12:02 am

    RE: “On the night of September 16, Israeli troops surrounded the two camps in West Beirut [Sabra & Shatila], preventing anyone in the camps from leaving. They then set flares, to light the way for soldiers of the Israeli-backed Lebanese Phalange and Lebanese Forces militias who attacked the defenseless camp, slaughtering 2,000 Palestinian civilians, hundreds of them children.” ~ Phyllis Bennis

    SEE: “29 Years After the Massacre at Sabra Shatila” » By Franklin Lamb, Counterpunch, 9/17/11

    [EXCERPT] Robert Fisk, writing in the UK Independent claims that more than 1000 Palestinians are buried in pits in Lebanon’s only Golf Course that is adjacent to Shatila camp and the Kuwaiti Embassy.
    Dr. Bayan Nuwayhed al Hout — author of “Sabra and Shatila: September 1982″ told this observer: ”I’m positive that dozens of people were buried there with the help of bulldozers. The bulldozers were used to get rid of the dead bodies.” Author Al Hout is referring to the fact that Israel supplied bulldozers, paid for by American taxpayers, to their allies, the right wing Christian militia that committed the slaughter with Israeli facilitation.
    On Saturday morning, September 18, 1982 Israeli Mossad agents inside the camp actually were observed driving three of the bulldozers in a frantic attempt to assist the Christian militia in covering up evidence of the crime
    before the exported international media arrived on the scene. The late American journalist, Janet Lee Stevens, documented that during Sept. 18 and 19th, most of the massacre victims killed during this period were slaughtered inside the joint Israeli-Lebanese Forces “interrogation center.” Janet testified that these killed were put in flatbed trucks and taken to the Golf Course, just 300 yards away, where waiting Israeli bulldozers dug pits. Other trucks drove in the direction of East Beirut. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to counterpunch.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 13, 2014, 12:10 am

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “At least 1,700 Palestinians were slaughtered on Israel’s say-so, 25 years ago this week ~ A Letter to Janet About Sabra-Shatilla”, By Franklin Lamb, Counterpunch, 9/15/07

      [EXCERPTS]
      Dearest Janet,
      It’s a very beautiful fall day here in Beirut today. Twenty-five years ago this week since the massacre at the Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra-Shatilla. Bright blue sky and a fall breeze. It actually rained last night. Enough to clean out some of the humidity and dust. Fortunately not enough to make the usual rain created swamp of sewage and filth on Rue Sabra, or flood the grassless burial ground of the mass grave (the camp residents named it Martyrs Square, one of several so named memorials now in Lebanon) where you once told me that on Sunday September 19, 1982, you watched, sickened, as families and Red Crescent workers created a subterranean mountain of butchered and bullet-riddled victims from those 48 hours of slaughter. Some of the bodies had limbs and heads chopped off, some boys castrated, Christian crosses carved into some of the bodies.

      As you later wrote to me in your perfect cursive:

      “I saw dead women in their houses with their skirts up to their waists and their legs spread apart; dozens of young men shot after being lined up against an ally wall; children with their throats slit, a pregnant woman with her stomach chopped open, her eyes still wide open, her blackened face silently screaming in horror; countless babies and toddlers who had been stabbed or ripped apart and who had been thrown into garbage piles.” . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to counterpunch.org

  13. seafoid
    January 13, 2014, 2:56 am

    The big question is whether or not Sharonism is sustainable long term. Israel has bet that it is.What if it isn’t?

  14. thankgodimatheist
    January 13, 2014, 4:33 am

    Why did Sharon stay on life support for 8 years?
    Asa’d AbuKhalil gives a hint to the answer:
    Asa’d AbuKhalil:
    “A correspondent to a known American newspaper told me that Sharon’s two sons wanted him to stay alive in order to continue to receive his pensions.”

    • Edward Q
      January 13, 2014, 2:42 pm

      I have wondered about this. A nurse told me once that after several months in a coma, your brain will start to deteriorate.

  15. Edward Q
    January 13, 2014, 8:24 am

    The title of this piece reminds me of the old SNL skit about Fransisco Franco being dead.

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