Rivers of blood
February 2, 2001
THE COMING OF ARIEL SHARON
Revisionist Zionism Triumping As Never Before
The bloodiness and racism of Sharon's past is fact. And these two articles
help bring that past forward to the present.
Neither article is comprehensive though for there is so much more Sharon
has done -- bloody as well as strategic. Neither focuses on the overall reality
that this single man, Ariel Sharon, has done more than any other Israeli leader
to create the "conditions on the ground" that now make the old "two-state solution"
far more difficult, if not impossible, than it was in the years after the 1967
war, or at the time of the 1982 war, or even at the time of Madrid and Oslo.
A poll published in Israel today (Yediot Aharonot) shows that 65% of the
Arabs in Israel do not plan to vote in Tuesday's election and that Sharon is
leading Barak by an unprecedented 21% in the total likely balloting. Other
polls also published today in Israel show margins of victory for Sharon between
17 and 22%.
Such a major Sharon/Likud victory may also soon lead to a break-up on the
Labor and "One Israel" coalition, with Sharon manuevering to form a "national
unity" government which would bring over some Laborites to his government,
jettisoning what by Israeli standards passes for the "liberal" left -- Beilin
and Ben-Ami among them. If this happens it will be a major revolution in Israeli
politics, the Jabotinsky and Revisionist wing of Zionism triumphing as never
before and in ways hardly imaginable just a few years ago.
As for the Palestinian situation, their plight is more desperate than ever,
though many Palestinians and supporters refuse to recognize this basic reality.
Not only are they now paying for decades of corruption, repression, and incompetence
at the highest levels of their own leadership; but they also now face the results
of having missed so many opportunities to properly organize themselves in
serious ways for political, as well as military, struggle. And the following
article by Haithem El-Zabri follows in that tradition of well regurgitating
history past while not able to suggest "what needs to be done" in a serious
and sophisticated way.
ISRAELIS ARE GOING TO ELECT ARIEL SHARON NEXT WEEK --
DESPITE HIS BLOODY HISTORY
Suzanne Goldenberg in Beirut
'He destroyed my family. I can never forget'
[The Guardian - Tuesday January 30, 2001]: Nawal Abu Rudeinah's childhood
ended on Thursday September 16 1982 when she was seven years old and a minor
war hero called Ariel Sharon was Israel's defense minister.
On that day the 24 members of Nawal's family had crammed into a room near the
entrance of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, in the southern suburbs of
Beirut. In the lanes outside Israel's Christian Lebanese allies - armed
and trained by Israel and under Mr. Sharon's command as minister - were slaughtering
hundreds of people.
The following day Nawal's mother crammed a rag into her daughter's mouth to
silence her. From the darkened shelter the girl heard the screams of her cousin
as she was raped and killed by the Lebanese militiamen and the death rattle
of her uncle who had tried to save her.
On Saturday the surviving family members were discovered. The men were taken
off to be shot, and Nawal was marched away at gunpoint, stepping over the corpses
in the doorway. One of the dead was her father, with the cleaver that killed
him embedded in his skull. Another was her pregnant sister, Amal, whose belly
was slit open.
"As we were walking, we kept looking around, and saying: 'Who is this? Oh look,
this is Mohammed, and this is Ahmed'," Ms Abu Rudeinah says. At least 800 -
and as many as 2,000 - people had been killed over three days.
For years it was unimaginable that Mr. Sharon, who shares the blame for the
deaths, could ever lead Israel. But time, and the four-month uprising in the
West Bank and Gaza, have wiped out the stain of his bloody personal history,
and next week, barring a miracle, Israelis will elect him their prime minister.
Visiting a West Bank outpost this month, Mr. Sharon gazed out over the Jordan
valley and beyond, to Iraq and Syria. "Israel is surrounded by enemies," he
said. "The Jews have one tiny country where they have the right and the power
to defend themselves."
The comment might have been true 20 years ago, but since that time it has signed
peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and started negotiating with the Palestinians.
But after the intifada, which most Israelis see as a Palestinian betrayal,
many Israelis are inclined to agree with him. People are yearning for an uncomplicated
warrior who will promise them security, and nobody embodies
that better than Mr. Sharon.
"If I could get my hands on him, I would kill him," says Ms Abu Rudeinah.
"He destroyed my family. I can never forget that, or anything that happened
that day - the way I had to step over the bodies, and the bodies lying
everywhere in the street. I hope God strikes down Sharon, and whoever had a
hand in the massacre."
Many fear his election could intensify the violence in the West Bank and Gaza,
which has killed nearly 400 people. It could also bury the peace negotiations
with the Palestinians.
"My great fear is that he has a lifelong penchant for grand strategic designs
that go completely awry and that prove disastrous for Israel," says Joseph
Alpher, a former director of the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies
at Tel Aviv University.
"This is his record. I listen to his statements about wanting to bring peace,
and being more capable than [the prime minister, Ehud] Barak to bring peace,
but he presents no reasonable or logical plan for doing so."
The first time Mr. Sharon put one of his "grand designs" into action was in
1953, when he commanded Unit 101, a force charged with retaliating against
Palestinian raiders. After the brutal killing of a woman in central Israel,
Mr. Sharon and his men blew up at least 45 homes in the West Bank village of
Kibya, then under Jordanian control. Sixty-nine people were killed, half of
them women and children.
Abroad, the operation caused outrage; in Israel it made Mr. Sharon into something
of a hero. Unit 101 was expanded, and Mr. Sharon led other reprisal attacks
in Jordan, Egypt and Syria.
Mr. Sharon left the army for politics in June 1973. He was recalled later that
year to command the Israeli forces which eventually crossed the Suez canal,
and helped turn around the 1973 war.
In the rightwing Likud party he became was a champion of the militant Jewish
settlers. But in a sense he was marking time until his defining moment:
In October 1981, two months after becoming defense minister, he ordered the
army to prepare a war plan and within months it was in Beirut. But the following
year the massacre at Sabra and Shatila brought his career crashing
In 1983 an Israeli government investigation found him personally responsible
for allowing the Lebanese Christian militias into the camps, ignoring the risk
to the refugees, and taking no action to stop the massacre. It said he
was unfit to be defense minister; he was forced to resign.
Mr. Sharon remains defiant about the massacre. Last week he told the Tel Aviv
chamber of commerce: "What happened in Lebanon, which we didn't have any connection
to or anything, was that Christian Arabs killed Muslim Arabs and
as a result of the atmosphere of hysteria in Israel I was forced to leave my
But he has faced such questions only once during this election campaign. The
new Sharon, as constructed by his handlers, is a grandpa in blue jeans cuddling
baby goats at a farm in the Negev desert.
The idea is to make him more palatable to centrist voters who feel betrayed
by Mr. Barak's failed efforts to bring peace. "Even those voting for Sharon
do not trust him entirely," says Yossi Verter, a columnist for the liberal
news paper Ha'aretz. "Deep down, they think he is an extreme right-winger who
never voted for any peace plan.
According to Mr. Sharon, now is not the time to talk about peace. He proposes
a series of interim accords that freeze the amount of territory under Palestinian
control, and make no concessions on Jerusalem. He says he will
not negotiate with the Palestinians until the intifada ends.
"Sharon is in effect killing the Israeli and Palestinian peace process not
in terms of refusing to talk, but by refusing to offer anything," Mr. Alpher
Others say Mr. Sharon is more nuanced. Last week he sent his son and a lawyer
to a secret meeting in Vienna with Mr. Arafat's money man, Mohammed Rashid.
Mr. Rashid controls the millions of dollars that flow in and out of the coffers
of the Palestinian Authority, and is believed to be a principal stakeholder
in its biggest earner, a glitzy casino in Jericho.
But in Beirut, and in the Arab world beyond, Mr. Sharon can never be rehabilitated.
In Sabra and Shatila, a walled-off field heaped with rubbish serves as the
mass grave of the militiamen's victims.
Yamama Abdullah's husband and four of her children are buried there.
If you ask her or Ms Abu Rudeinah who was to blame for the massacre, they say
"Sharon". Dozens of people claim to have seen Mr. Sharon on the roof of a nearby
block of flats, watching the killing through field glasses.
And the thought of Mr. Sharon becoming Israel's prime minister brings the horror
"Oh God, no, not Sharon," says Ms Abdullah. "If Sharon comes that means war
- not only for the Palestinians but for all the Arabs."
RIVERS OF BLOOD - A New Sharon Episode
by Haithem El-Zabri
[Feb. 2nd, 2001 - Al Aqsa Intifada Organization]: Last night I had a terrifying
nightmare: As I was walking near the Dome of the Rock, on the Haram Al-Sharif
compound, I slipped due to a river of blood that was flowing under me. The
more disturbing aspect is that this shocking scene is not far from reality
if Sharon comes to power.
Sharon's Bloody Background
Sharon s bloodstained career started with the underground terrorist group "Haganah",
and at the age of 22 he led commando units that attacked Palestinian civilians
from behind the lines. In 1953, he formed an elite militia known as Unit 101,
or "the avengers." This notorious unit operated without uniforms and carried
out institutional terror in the Palestinian refugee camps and villages. One
of Sharon's "achievements" with this unit was the attack on Qibya village,
where he blew up 45 homes and slaughtered 69 civilians, over half of whom were
women and children.
Following the 1967 war, Sharon was responsible for turning 160,000 residents
of the East Jerusalem area into refugees. His brutal methods included blowing
up houses, bulldozing refugee camps, imposing severe collective punishments,
and imprisoning hundreds of young Palestinians suspected of being fighters.
Shortly afterwards, he was promoted to security chief in the Gaza area, where
he suppressed Palestinian resistance with merciless repression and brutality.
Sharon led massive manhunts for Palestinian Liberation Army members. These
campaigns started with bulldozing Palestinian houses, including hundreds of
homes in the
Beach Camp, to create a grid of wide streets throughout the shantytown, thus
facilitating his troops control and movement. Hundreds of resistance suspects
were assassinated, and their families loaded into trucks and exiled to the
Sinai Desert. Thousands of others were arrested and deported to Jordan and
Lebanon. In August 1971 alone, Sharon's troops demolished over 2,000 homes
in the Gaza Strip, displacing some 16,000 people for the second time in their
Years later, when the Palestinians of Gaza heard about the massacres of Sabra
and Shatila, few were surprised. "We knew what he was like long before that,"
one witness affirmed.
Sharon was first elected to the Knesset in 1974, and in 1977 was appointed
by Manachem Begin as Minister of Agriculture and settlements. He handled his
governmental duties with the same aggressiveness as the military, and quickly
achieved a Jewish settlement boom in the West Bank and Gaza. His work included
"Judaizing the Galilee" at the expense of Israeli Arab citizens, whom he considers
foreigners. He encouraged takeovers of Arab properties in Jerusalem, and advocates
that all Arabs should be expelled from the city.
The Invasion of Lebanon
As Defense Minister in 1982, Sharon was the principal architect of Israel's
invasion of Lebanon. His tanks and artillery shells inflicted massive destruction
on Palestinian population centers, especially the cities of Sidon and Tyre,
most of which were leveled. Ain Hilweh (Sweet Spring), the largest Palestinian
refugee camp in southern Lebanon and home to 25,000 residents, was razed to
the ground. Within a few weeks, 14,000 people had been killed, of which almost
13,000 were unarmed Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. Approximately half
a million people were made homeless.
Israeli forces soon reached Beirut and laid siege to it, shelling and bombing
it relentlessly. In order to spare the capital from this daily indiscriminate
Israeli bombardment, the PLO forces were requested to evacuate, and received
explicit assurances that Israel would not invade West Beirut or harm their
the American negotiated "Habib" agreement). In spite of that, and within two
days, Sharon had occupied West Beirut, including positions encircling the Palestinian
refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.
The savage Phalangist militias, recruited, trained, armed and paid by Israel,
were invited to enter the camps for a three-day killing spree. Whole families
were exposed to horrific acts of torture, rape, dismemberment, and execution.
Robert Fisk, of The Independent, witnessed the scene on the final day of the
massacre, and reports that "there were women lying in houses with their skirts
torn torn up to their waists and their legs wide apart, children with their
throats cut, rows of young men shot in the back after being lined up at an
execution wall. There were blackened babies bodies tossed into rubbish heaps
alongside discarded US army ration tins and Israeli army equipment. I saw several
Israeli flare canisters, still attached to their tiny parachutes. A dozen young
men had been shot point-blank range through the cheek, the bullet tearing away
a line of flesh up to the ear and entering the brain. Some had vivid crimson
scars down the left side of their throats.
On the other side of the main road, one child lay on the roadway like a discarded
doll, her white dress stained with mud and dust. She could have been no more
than three years old. The back of her head had been blown away by a bullet
fired into her brain. One of the women also held a tiny baby to her body. The
bullet that had passed into her breast had killed the baby too. Someone had
slit open the woman's stomach, perhaps trying to kill her unborn child. Her
eyes were wide open, her dark face frozen in horror."
The death toll of this human tragedy is estimated at 2,000-3,000, the majority
of whom were women, children, and elderly people. Only 50 people survived,
Israeli troops had participated directly in this atrocity by liaising with
the murderers, supplying them with weapons, rations, and illuminating night
time flares, as well as forcing fleeing victims back into the carnage. The
Israeli observation post had a clear view of the camps, and surviving witnesses
claim to have seen Sharon
An Israeli tribunal investigated, and found Sharon "indirectly responsible"
for the massacre. Yet, this man remained in public affairs, rising to its highest
ranks, including Foreign Minister during Netanyahu s term, and subsequently,
leadership of the Likud party. This same criminal is now the Israeli people
s favored choice
for Prime Minister!
Sharon has described the Palestinians as "bugs," depicting them - in his autobiography,
Warrior - as infantile, timorous, and untrustworthy. He represents the worst
in Israel s past of Arab-hating statements and policies. According to a former
U.S. official, "Sharon has the same condescending disregard for Arabs that
Southern plantation-owners had for blacks." Sharon boasts that "The Arabs know
me, and I know them."
Regarding the Palestinian occupied territories, Sharon' statements stress that
these belong to the Jews exclusively, "The land of Israel is holy to Jews,
Christians, and Muslims, but it was promised by God only to the Jews." He also
stated that "Judea and Samaria - the so-called Occupied Territories are the
cradle of the
Jewish People" and "ours, ours, ours!"
Sharon has made it clear that he will not withdraw from any more than the areas
already controlled by the Palestinian Authority (approx. 40% of the West Bank
and Gaza), pledging that "Jewish towns, villages and communities in Judea,
Samaria and Gaza, as well as access roads leading to them, including sufficient
margins along them, will remain under full Israeli control& no nation or country
on earth would give up territory and historical sites which are at the roots
of its national existence." To summarize it bluntly, "No more land." He criticized
Barak for negotiating on Jerusalem s future, saying that he "crossed a red
line no government ever did."
Yossi Sarid, a Knesset member from the Meretz Party, says "Regarding peacemaking,
he is the minister of ruination." Peace, Sharon informed the New Yorker recently,
"cannot be achieved."
Sharon s ideology is extremely racist and he believes in state terrorism more
than basic human rights and dignity. He is impulsive, uncontrollable, dogmatic,
and undoubtedly a dangerous warmonger. "Palestinian violence," he warns, would
be defeated by "creative" military action.
"Beware - Israel is strong!"
Sharon has recently sent a letter to American Congressmen stating that the
Palestinian "war of attrition" nullifies the Oslo, Wye and Camp David agreements,
and all commitments that Israel had made to the Palestinians. His response
to the Intifada, he suggests, will include seizing full control over Area C,
and the immediate
deployment of IDF troops throughout the occupied territories.
Sharon reasons that the only way for Israel to achieve security for itself
is by military solutions, and that the Palestinian issue should be dealt with
through unrestrained military force. He will not hesitate to unleash a massive
level of violence, with heavier doses of lethal carnage.
Understandably, the thought of Sharon becoming Israel's Prime Minister brings
the horror flooding back to Palestinian refugees. "Oh God, no, not Sharon,"
says Ms Abdullah. "That means war - not only for the Palestinians but for all
the Arabs." In a region as inflammable as a powder keg, Sharon is the spark
that can ignite
it, and his threat of war, should be taken seriously indeed.
It is almost certain that Sharon will order the Israeli army to intensify its
attacks against the Palestinian towns and villages, using all means, including
the tanks, helicopter gunships, snipers, etc. He will encourage home confiscations
in Jerusalem and land confiscations throughout the occupied territories, as
well as tighter
sieges, mass home demolitions and increased tree uprooting. He will escalate
the levels of repression and brutality in order to induce a mass transfer to
Jordan, which is a solution he has been suggesting for a long time - "Jordan
The war against the Palestinians may be accompanied by pre-emptive strikes
against Syria and Iraq, and could easily escalate to a regional war. It is
unfortunate, and frightening, that instead of facing a war crimes tribunal,
Sharon is in a position to cause wide-scale regional devastation.
What needs to be done
As has been demonstrated during the past 4 months of Intifada, the world community
is not expected to take any effective measures for the prevention of the destruction,
mayhem, and potential genocide that may befall the defenseless Palestinian
population. The Palestinian Authority does not have the means to confront Israel's
powerful army, and would be easily crushed if it attempted to protect its citizens.
The Arab nations will only give out the routine slogans, condemnations, and
other worthless lip service. The rest of the Muslim world might engage in angry
demonstrations, but their leaders may be less responsive. The EU's and UN's
indifferent hands will remain tied by their superpower ally, which will dutifully
justify Israel s actions as self-defense against "Palestinian terrorism."
Therefore, the salvation of the Palestinian people and the region s stability
is in the hands of the Israeli public, conscientious activists and supporters
of the Palestinian cause worldwide, and NGO's.
First and foremost, the Israeli public should realize that by electing Sharon,
it is voting for a bloody war against the Palestinians, whose scars will take
generations to heal (if ever), and which guarantees that peace will not be
attainable within our lifetimes. Furthermore, the conflict could escalate throughout
the region and
result in unforeseeable ramifications. Destruction and mayhem may reach unprecedented
levels, and there will be losses on all sides. Needless to say, Sharon should
not be given that opportunity.
Activists and supporters of Palestine need to do the utmost to secure an international
peacekeeping force capable of protecting the Palestinians from the potential
carnage that Sharon can inflict. This may be achieved by massive demonstrations
in world capitals, intensive lobbying, greater media involvement, and any other
means. In addition, they need to provide the Palestinians in the occupied territories
with financial and moral support, to alleviate their suffering and enable them
to endure the escalated atrocities against them.
NGO's should prepare to redouble their efforts for humanitarian assistance,
medical supplies, food, shelter, blood banks, and campaigning for their governments
to take concrete action. They need to be on full alert for immediate aid in
a likely catastrophe, and to develop contingency plans for a potential Israeli
Enough Palestinian blood has been spilled in the past 4 months let us do everything
in our power to prevent a potential human tragedy that Sharon could create.
God help us all.