As world mourns passing of Ariel Sharon, AMP remembers former prime minister's crimes
Today, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon passed away after lingering in an eight-year coma induced by a massive stroke. Undoubtedly heads of state will pay their due respects and Western media will forward the Zionist narrative that Sharon was an instrumental figure in the building of the state of Israel.
At the same time, the American Muslims for Palestine, a national advocacy and education organization, reminds our supporters and members of the media that Sharon died without ever being brought to justice for the many international law violations and crimes against the Palestinian people, for which he was responsible.
From the very beginning of his military and political career, Sharon was not interested in peace nor in co-existence with the indigenous Palestinian people. "Our forefathers did not come here in order to build a democracy but to build a Jewish state," he was quoted as saying in a 1993 article by Donald Neff, the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for Time magazine. Later, in 1998, he told Agence France Press: "It is the duty of Israel to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands."
Sharon embraced the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and brazenly followed a pattern of violence, blood-shed and murder:
1953: Sharon led a unit of Israeli forces on a raid into the border town of Kibya, blowing up 45 houses and killing 69 Arab villagers.
1967: As a general, Sharon brutally rolled his tank battalion over Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula.
1982: Known to Palestinians as the "Butcher of Beirut," Sharon was the defense minister and responsible for Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It was during this bloody period that the Lebanese Philangists - with full support and approval from Sharon - entered the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila and massacred an untold number of women, children, the elderly and men.
Officials have never been able to determine the exact number of dead. The International Committee of the Red Cross buried at least 1,000 in a mass grave. But untold numbers were buried under the rubble of buildings the Philangist militants demolished on top of them. Hundreds of survivors were carted off and never heard from again.
An Israeli internal investigation found Sharon "indirectly responsible" for the massacre, but Sabra survivors have testified they saw Sharon with binoculars watching the operations in the camp below. Sharon was removed as defense minister but years later he made a political comeback and won election as prime minister. But his trail of brutality did not change.
2000: Sharon, supported by at least 1,000 Israeli police and Occupation Forces, sparked the second intifada by entering the Al Aqsa Mosque compound - Islam's third holiest site - and declared that one day Israel would take it over.
Within the next few years, Sharon ordered the construction of the Apartheid Wall within the West Bank, resulting in the Palestinians' loss of freedom of movement, and continued settlement expansion.
2005: Sharon broke with the Likud party by ordering the disengagement of Israeli settlers and Occupation Forces from the Gaza Strip. While many look at this still as an overture to peace and a step toward Palestinian autonomy, the truth is that this move the was the precursor to the warehousing of the Palestinians of Gaza, who were placed under siege in 2006. The siege continues until today. Israel still controls the borders, airspace and sea.
Clearly, Sharon's legacy is one of brutality and inhumanity. He summed up his tactics and support for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in a 1998 London Times article this way: "You don't simply bundle people onto trucks and drive them away ... I prefer to advocate a more positive policy ... to create, in effect, a condition that in a positive way will induce people to leave."
AMP urges people to reflect on Sharon's history while at the same time to renew efforts to bring justice to the Palestinian people by supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel, and by continuing to engage our elected officials to seek a more fair and balanced foreign policy in the Middle East.
Source: American Muslim for Palestine
Topics: Ariel Sharon, Occupation