sane, informed person on the planet would suggest that Ariel Sharon,
Prime Minister of Israel, was a "man of peace". But this
is precisely how George W. Bush, President of the most powerful nation
on earth, America, described the Israeli Prime Minister at a press
conference, after their meeting at the White House in May.
was there to brief President Bush on Israel's incursions into the
West Bank and its murderous actions in the Jenin Refugee Camp, Ramallah
and Bethlehem, in which many innocent Palestinian civilians lost
overwhelming evidence of Israelis' ruthlessness and brutality in
its incursion into the West Bank, shown nightly on US television,
and the flood of eyewitness reports of the same that appeared in
US newspapers, President Bush managed to ignore all this evidence
of Israeli ruthlessness, and decided that Ariel Sharon is a man
"truly seeking peace for Israel"; thus he was a "man
of peace". Of course, to reach this conclusion, Bush has ignored
all Palestinian claims to the land of Palestine and has failed to
see that the prime cause of the recent rise in violence has been
Sharon's intransigence since his election as Prime Minister.
who is this "man of peace"? Is he the same Ariel Sharon
who is described by many as a brutal warmonger, responsible for
the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians?
It is worth noting that this Sharon's so-called "Pacification
of Gaza" campaign in 1971, involved merciless repression and
brutality, bulldozing thousands of Palestinian homes in the Gaza
refugee camps and the arrest and deportation of several thousand
Palestinians into the Sinai Desert, Jordan and Lebanon. As Defence
Minister in 1982, this Sharon was the principal architect of the
"Peace for Galilee" operation - the invasion of Lebanon
that caused the death of tens of thousands of civilians and left
about a million homeless. It was this Sharon who was responsible
for the Shatila and Sabra massacres.
this be the same Ariel Sharon who began his military career fighting
with the Israeli Haganah, leading commando units specialising in
behind-the-lines raids, and forcing Palestinians to flee their homes?
it this Sharon who in August 1953, founded and led the infamous
Unit 101, nicknamed "The Avengers", who carried out a
series of terror raids across Israeli borders into Palestinian refugee
camps, villages and Bedouin encampments?
it this "man of peace", who, in September 1953 led Unit
101 in an attack on Bedouins in demilitarised Al Auja (a 145 square
km area at the western Negev-Sinai frontier), killing an unknown
number of men, women and children?
it the same Ariel Sharon who in October 1953 led "The Avengers"
in an attack on the village of Qibya in Jordan? Who directed Israeli
soldiers to move into the village blowing up buildings, firing into
doorways and windows with automatic weapons, and throwing hand grenades
that killed 69 civilians (mostly women and children)? And later
claimed he believed that the demolished houses had been empty of
I'm afraid it is.
"man of peace" is also the very same one who, in 1971,
carried out the "Pacification of Gaza." Under this euphemistic
title, Sharon imposed a brutal policy of repression - blowing up
houses, bulldozing large tracts of land in refugee camps, imposing
severe collective punishments, and imprisoning hundreds of young
Palestinians. Numerous civilians were killed or unjustly imprisoned,
their houses demolished and the whole area was effectively transformed
into a jail.
1977, the Likud Party won the general election and Sharon joined
the Government's first administration as Minister of Agriculture
in charge of settlements. Sharon, an avid supporter of the religious
Gush Emunim movement, became one of the main facilitators of a settlement
boom, aimed in part at preventing the establishment of a Palestinian
State in the Occupied Territories. Then in June 1981, his settlement
campaign was one of the keys to Likud's re-election, as he was credited
with making swift and permanent progress in establishing an overwhelming
Israeli presence in the West Bank. He was then appointed Minister
1982, as Defence Minister, Sharon masterminded the Israeli invasion
of Lebanon, which he dubbed "Peace for Galilee." In all,
this operation killed many thousands of civilians and rendered nearly
half a million homeless. On 5 June 1982, he sent tens of thousands
of Israeli soldiers across the border to fight their way up the
Lebanese coast. They eventually occupied Beirut. Heavy Israeli shelling
by sea- and land- based artillery, and aerial bombardment devastated
a substantial part of Lebanon. By the end of July, the Lebanese
government stated that at least 14,000 people had been killed -
over 90% of whom were unarmed civilians - and twice that number
seriously wounded. August 12 became known as 'Black Thursday', after
a massive artillery barrage lasting some 11 hours, killed some 500
Lebanese and Palestinian civilians.
slaughter in the camps at Sabra and Shatila took place between 6:00pm
on 16 September 1982 and 8:00 am on 18 September, in an area under
the control of the Israeli army. Sharon's troops, having held the
camps under siege, allowed death squads to enter, while Israeli
searchlights illuminated the camps, and Israeli army personnel watched
through binoculars as these death squads spread unchallenged through
the camps, killing as they went. Whole families were murdered; many
were raped and tortured before being killed. So many bodies were
heaped into lorries and taken away, or buried in mass graves, the
exact death toll will never be known, but Palestinian sources estimate
at least 2000 people were killed. So many "peaceful acts"
by such a "peaceful man"!
saw our "man of peace" become the Minister of Construction
and Housing. During his time as Housing Minister he presided over
the biggest building drive of Jewish settlements in the West Bank
and Gaza since Israel occupied the territories in the 1967 Six-Day
War. He expanded the number of settlements on the West Bank from
75 to 130, while at the same time the number of settlers barely
increased. And, lest we forget, in September 2000, our "man
of peace" ignited the second Intifada when he insisted on visiting
the Al Asqa Mosque surrounded by thousands of Israeli security guards,
despite warnings from both the Israeli Government and the Palestinian
Authority. He has since violated and occupied, two of the world's
oldest and most revered religious sites - the Al Aqsa Mosque, and
the Church of the Nativity. In the case of the church of the Nativity,
his snipers shot people in the very courtyard where Christians believe
Jesus Christ was born.
with all due respect to you, President Bush, you cannot call Ariel
Sharon "peaceful" unless you totally ignore his entire
life until today. Mr. Bush, let us hear what Ariel Sharon says about
himself and his mission in life. Here is an extract from an interview
in 1982 given to the renowned Israeli writer Amos Oz: "What
you don't understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished
yet, far from it
Even today I am willing to volunteer to do
the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to
deport them, to expel them and burn them, to have everyone hate
Bush, you cannot make a saint out of a demon, nor a hero of peace
out of a criminal. So please refrain from insulting all of us who
genuinely want peace in Palestine; rather, call Sharon a "man
of piece" - a piece of Ramallah, a piece of Nabulous, a piece
of Bethlehem, a piece of Jenin, and a piece of Gaza. This far more
accurately describes Sharon's character and his attitudes towards
the Palestinians and the Arab World. Perhaps this is what you really
meant to say when you met the press.
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