Sharon wins and Peres wants in
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Sharon wins and Peres wants in

February 6, 2001

ISRAEL'S NEW PM
Nicknames: "The BullDozer", "The Butcher", "Mr. Apartheid"

He may be a brutish thug, he may fit the definition of war criminal, he may be a Jewish racist -- but now he is also the Prime Minister-elect of Israel, overwhelmingly swept into power in a way few imagined possible just a year ago. And whatever else he is, he may also be the single Israeli who has had more ongoing influence on the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship than any other in the past few decades.

What Sharon did militarily in 1973 and 1982 changed the course of history.

What he did in subsequent years championing the building of Israeli settlements and the "autonomy" concept for Palestinians then lead to the apartheid-like situation and the Oslo "Peace Process" approach. What he has done in Jerusalem, establishing his own apartment flying the Israeli flag from the building top, right in the heart of the Muslim section of the old city -- and recently "visiting" the "Temple Mount" escorted by hundreds of police and army -- makes it clear to all what Israel really has in mind for this crucial historical city that should be and eventually must be shared rather than conquered.

Meanwhile Shimon Peres is living up to his reputation of being duplicitous and slippery. Even before the votes were counted Peres was manuevering even in public to be Sharon's Foreign Minister in a "national unity" government; at the same time attempting an end run around Barak who himself is known to have been in touch with Sharon about becoming his Defense Minister.

This video clip from ABC "Nightline" last evening helps explain what Sharon is all about: http://www.MiddleEast.Org/sharon.htm

And this article and Sharon bio information helps put things in perspective, both past and present:

PERES SAYS LABOR PARTY SHOULD CONSIDER JOINING SHARON IF HE WINS
By Dan Perry

JERUSALEM (AP - 5 February) Sounding resigned to electoral failure, Israeli elder statesman Shimon Peres said Monday that his Labor Party should consider joining forces with Ariel Sharon if the hawkish leader unseats Prime Minister Ehud Barak and proves open to compromise with the Palestinians.

"If there will be a chance for the continuation of the peace process, then I don't see any reason why not to have a national unity government," the former premier and Nobel laureate said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Peres added, however, that Sharon's previous positions and his reported plans to offer the Palestinians no land beyond what they now control - about 42 percent of the West Bank and most of the Gaza Strip - formed no basis for progress toward peace.

"I'm not sure he's prepared to offer the necessary compromises ... to reach peace," Peres said of Sharon, the Likud party leader who held a commanding lead over Labor's Barak in the polls ahead of Tuesday's election for prime minister. Peres predicted that if Sharon wins and then forms a narrow coalition that is based on right-wing and religious parties and does not include the peace camp, his government will be unstable.

"If there won't be a national unity government, I very much doubt that Sharon can survive any length of time," he said.

Barak has been plagued by a fractious parliament divided among small factions and split almost evenly between hawks and doves. Peres, a leading architect of the 1993 Oslo accords that began the peace process in earnest, criticized the Palestinian rejection of offers set out by Barak.

"I think it was a mistake on the part of the Palestinians, who were given a very generous offer," he said.

Barak offered the Palestinians an independent state in some 95 percent of the West Bank and Gaza, including a share of Jerusalem and the dismantling of many Jewish settlements. But the sides could not agree on how to share Jerusalem, and the Palestinians insisted on the right of millions of refugees to return to Israel.

ARIEL SHARON

Ariel Sharon, whose original name is Sheinerman, was born in Kfar Malal on a moshav (agrarian community) in 1928.

Very active in the Haganah (Jewish self-defence organization) in his early youth, he was a platoon commander during the first Arab-Israeli war. In 1952-53, he attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in History and Oriental studies. In 1953, he founded and led Unit 101, an Úlite unit dedicated to leading retaliatory strikes against the Palestinian fedayeen attacking Israel from Gaza and the West Bank.

During the 1956 war, he served as commander of a parachute brigade. His breach of discipline during this war angered the army command, and his advancement in the army ranks was suspended for years. In 1957-58, he studied at Camberley Staff College in the United Kingdom. During the years 1958-62, he i.a. served as commander of an infantry brigade and studied law at Tel-Aviv University. In 1962, he became Commander of the IDF armoured brigades. He was then appointed Head of Northern Command Staff in 1964 and Head of Southern Command Staff in 1969. Considering his chances slim of being appointed Chief of Staff, Sharon resigned from the army in June 1972 but was recalled to military service in the 1973 war.

In December 1973, he was elected to the Knesset on the Likud lists although he had no strong party affiliations. In 1974, he resigned his seat and left Likud to become, from 1975 to 1977, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's special security adviser.

In 1976, he formed a new party, Shlomzion, which gained two seats in the 1977 elections. This party disappeared shortly afterwards when Sharon joined Likud again and entered Menahem Begin's government as Minister of Agriculture and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Settlements until 1981. Although he has never been religious, he supported the Gush Emunim movement and was thus viewed as the patron of the messianic settlers movement. He used his position to encourage the establishment of a dense network of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories and contested the possibility of return of these territories under Arab sovereignty.

Minister of Defence in the second Begin government in 1981, he masterminded Israel's invasion of Lebanon in June 1982. Under the findings of an official Commission of Inquiry (the Kahan Commission), he was held responsible for the massacres perpetrated in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila in September 1982. He resigned from his post in 1983 but remained Minister without portofolio until 1984.

In the national unity government of 1984, Shimon Peres appointed him Minister of Trade and Industry. He served in this capacity until May 1990. He then became Minister of Construction and Housing until Likud's electoral defeat of 1992. In the Knesset, he was member of the Foreign Affairs and Defence committee from 1990 to 1992 and Chairman of the committee overseeing Jewish immigration from USSR.

In 1996, he was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure in Benjamin Netanyahu's government - a post especially created for him - and on October 9th 1998, Minister for Foreign Affairs. His appointment placated right-wingers crucial to Netanyahu's coalition (see Israel, Elections and Parliament). Sharon - known to be one of the more hawkish in his party - has always proposed radical schemes for "solving the Palestinian problem" like the annexation of most of the West Bank.

Sharon is seen, like Rabin and Ehud Barak, as a military hero. Over all his career, he has nurtured a large right-wing populist support base. He is considered as a man who has no limits and uses power ruthlessly. He occupies a property in Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter and is Israel's wealthiest cattle farmer.

Following the resignation of Bibi Netanyahu as leader of the Likud after his failure in the elections of 17 May 1999, Ariel Sharon was installed as its interim chairman. He was elected as chairmain on 2 September 1999 for a term of two years.

ARIEL SHARON: A MAN WITHOUT A CONSCIENCE
By Steven Katsineris

Ariel Sharon was born in Palestine in 1928, grandson of a Russian migrant family and the son of farmers. When he was 13, his father gave him a knife. Sharon remembers, "The knife was symbolic, to protect ourselves from our enemies. It was a lesson I have never forgotten."

His first military experience began when he fought in the underground Haganah, the largest of the Zionist groups that fought to seize Palestine in 1948, creating the state of Israel and dispossessing the native Palestinians.

At the age of 22, he led commando units that specialised in behind-the-lines raids and forcing Palestinians to flee their homes.

By the 1950s, he had become a major and formed an elite "anti-terrorist" group called Unit 101. Operating without uniforms, the group, nicknamed "the avengers", met Palestinian resistance attacks with institutional terror. The group carried out outrage after outrage, in terror raids across the Israeli borders, into refugee camps and villages.

In one notorious attack on Jordan in 1953, Unit 101, under Sharon's command, slaughtered 69 civilians, over half of them women and children, when they blew up their homes in Qibia village.

Two years later he was reprimanded for giving logistical support to four young Israelis who took random blood revenge on Bedouins for Arab attacks on Israeli settlements. By this time Sharon was a lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army.

The independence of Unit 101, its murderous methods and the free hand given to it by the political establishment led to strong resentment among other sections of the military leadership.

In the 1956 Suez war, Sharon disobeyed orders and sent his paratroopers into the Mitla Pass in the Sinai desert. In doing so, he deceived his superiors, sacrificed his men for no apparent military purpose and gained the displeasure of the Israeli chief of staff, Moshe Dayan. Four of his junior officers accused him of sending men to their deaths for his own glory.

Sharon's military career went into eclipse. But in 1964, the then chief of staff, Yitzhak Rabin, resurrected him. Sharon served Israel well again in the 1967 war and afterward was given the job of pacifying the Palestinian resistance in the occupied Gaza Strip. With a brutal policy of repression, of blowing up houses, bulldozing large tracts of refugee camps, imposing severe collective punishments and imprisoning hundreds of young Palestinians suspected of being fighters, he managed to decrease resistance activity dramatically.

In the 1973 war, as a reserve general, he was recalled to command a division. He led a strike across the Suez Canal, behind Egyptian lines, and this made him a national hero.

Like so many Israeli military men, he then went into politics and was elected a member of the Likud bloc in the Israeli parliament. In the first Begin Likud government, he was minister of agriculture and settlements. In politics he applied the same fanaticism and many of the same techniques he used to control the Gaza Strip. Sharon became the champion and architect of Israeli settlement in the West Bank, causing a settlement boom.

Sharon's settlement campaign was one of the keys to Likud's re-election in 1981, as he was credited with making swift and permanent progress in establishing a perpetual Israeli presence on the West Bank. After the election, Begin appointed Sharon defence minister.

It was said in Israel that Sharon was "a war looking for a place to happen". The war in Lebanon was planned and executed by Sharon.

In early 1982, he made a visit to the Phalange Party (Lebanese militia organisation) to coordinate long-held plans for the coming conflict. Israel was to support and supply the Phalangists, an authentic fascist party, formed in 1936 after the founder had returned from a visit to Hitler's Germany.

Sharon believed that the demoralisation of the Palestinians would be complete if he inflicted a crushing military defeat on the PLO in Lebanon.

As for Lebanon, Israeli's aim was to establish a Phalangist government which would then make a treaty with Israel. Phalange Party leader Bashir Gemayel said that his party wanted every Palestinian civilian out of Lebanon, and Israel wanted them scattered among the other Arab countries.

In order to rationalise the invasion and the bombing of civilians, Begin and Sharon went to great lengths to dehumanise the Palestinians. Begin declared emotively, "If Hitler was sitting in a house with 20 other people, would it be correct to blow up the house?". In a speech tot the Knesset, Begin described Palestinians as "beasts walking on two legs". Sharon described Palestinians as "bugs" while their refugee camps were"tourist camps".

On June 5, 1982, tens of thousands of Israeli troops poured across the border and fought their way up the Lebanese coast. Heavy Israeli sea, air and land bombardment had a devastating impact, laying waste to a substantial portion of southern Lebanon.

The cities of Sidon and Tyre were a scene of desolation, with much of the cities levelled by Israeli tank and artillery shells. Palestinian refugee camps around Tyre and Sidon bore the brunt of the colossal destruction.

Ain Hilweh (Sweet Spring), the largest Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon with 25,000 residents, was razed. Nearly half a million people were made homeless by the invasion.

One week later, Israeli forces laid siege to Beirut, shelling, bombing and trying to break stiff Palestinian and Lebanese resistance. By the end of July, the Lebanese government (as well as church and aid groups) stated that at least 14,000 people had been killed and twice that number seriously wounded. Over 90% of those killed were unarmed civilians.

After three months of war, an agreement was reached under the sponsorship of US envoy Philip Habib. The PLO pledged to withdraw its fighters from Beirut, after receiving US and Lebanese government promises that multinational forces would secure the safety of the Palestinian and Lebanese civilian population. And Israel would not enter Beirut.

The last contingent of defenders left the city on September 1, 1982. Two days later, the Israeli army occupied a new position at the southern entrance of the city and thus dominated the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila. The USA did nothing. On September 7, the Israeli army advanced again, and again the USA did not react. On September 15, the Israeli army entered Beirut, just after the departure of the US marines, who had stayed only 16 days.

Ariel Sharon declared that Israel had entered Beirut in order to dislodge 2000 Palestinian fighters who had remained in the city. The task of purging the camps Sharon had given to the Phalange.

The same day that Israel occupied Beirut, the chief of staff of the Israeli army, Raphael Eytan, quoted in the Israeli daily Ma'ariv, stated that only a handful of fedayeen fighters remained with their families, as well as a small staff of the PLO bureau. General Drori telephoned Ariel Sharon and told him, "Our friends are going to the camps. We have coordinated their entry." Sharon replied, "Congratulations, our friends' operation has been approved".

So the massacre of defenceless Palestinian and Lebanese civilians began. Whole families were murdered, many raped and tortured before being killed. Because many bodies were heaped into lorries and taken away, or buried in mass graves, the exact toll will never be known. It was estimated that at least 2000 people were killed.

After an international outcry, Israel established an inquiry headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Kahan. Despite its shortcomings, the commission's report was a damning indictment of Sharon and a number of his colleagues. The commission said that Sharon had received intelligence warnings that the Phalangists might go on the rampage if allowed into the camps. "In our view, even without such a warning, it is impossible to justify the minister of defence's [Sharon's] disregard of the danger of the massacre."

"... responsibility is to be imputed to the minister of defence, for having disregarded the danger of acts of revenge and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps and having failed to take this danger into account when deciding to have the Phalangists enter the camps.

"In addition responsibility is to be imputed to the minister of defence for not ordering appropriate measures for the prevention of the massacre." (Kahan Report)

The commission's conclusions constituted the minimum that could be deduced from the evidence. The facts warranted a finding of more than just indirect responsibility:

The Phalangists militia was "ordered" into the camps by Israeli chief of staff, Lieutenant General Raphael Eytan.

Phalangist commanders met with General Amir Drori, commander of Israeli troops in Lebanon, and General Amas Yaron, commander for West Beirut, to "coordinate the militia's entry into the camps and arrange communications".

The Phalange were given logistical support by the Israeli army during the massacre.

The Phalange took orders, salaries and training directly from Israel.

Sharon and the Israelis knew that the Phalange leaders planned to expel most of the Palestinians from Lebanon by committing some atrocity.

The Phalangists were at all times under Israeli army orders. "Only one element of Israeli Defence Forces will command all forces in the area", revealed the Kahan report. The Israeli head of intelligence quoted commented, "This means that all forces in the area, including the Phalangists, will be under IDF command and will act according to its instructions". [Green Left Weekly]


February 2001


Magazine



PERES UNMASKS AND JOINS SHARON
(February 27, 2001)
Was it the Likud Party, or the Labor Party, that authorized more illegal settlements in the occupied territories since the Gulf War and the Madrid Peace Conference?

PERES AND COLLEAGUES "SLITHER ON THEIR BELLIES"
(February 26, 2001)
For those who still needed proof of the cravenness and duplicity of Israel's Labor Party, the party that spawned "Peace Now" and "Oslo" among other gross deceptions, it came today.

Defectors say Iraq tested Nuclear Bomb
(February 25, 2001)
When Iraq was more overtly building nuclear weapons, the Israelis struck in 1981 destroying the Osirak reactor near Baghdad that could have provided the crucial processed uranium fuel.

"Go back, we don't want you"
(February 24, 2001)
General Colin Powell, now combining even more closely than usual the Pentagon with the State Department, was afraid to go to Gaza; and rightly so.

The Hebron MASSACRE - 7 long years ago
(February 24, 2001)
Abraham's dysfunctional family has had unbelieveable historical ramifications for which the focal point today is Hebron, site of Abraham's burial place, a religious site to both Jews and Muslim alike who are today quite literally at each other's throats.

Council on foreign relations help legitimize Sharon
(February 23, 2001)
The Council on Foreign Relations, New York-power elite-based but in recent years integrating more with the Washington government and corporate elite, has been for quite some time, to put it bluntly, a rather tricky and chicanery Israeli-oriented Zionist center when it comes to matters relevant to Israel.

Iraq - The great Cover-Up
(February 23, 2001)
As terrible as what the Israelis, with their superpower American ally (and European connivance), are doing to the Palestinians, what has been and is being done to the Iraqis and the Chechnyans is also truly appauling.

Arab expulsion admitted by Sharon Ally
(February 22, 2001)
One day maybe Israel -- like South Africa and Chile before it -- will have some kind of "truth finding" commission to try to purge itself of the past.

Protests in Jordan
(February 22, 2001)
If it weren't for the Hashemite Regime in today's Jordan, yesterday's Transjordan, and before that the East Bank of Palestine, the Israelis would never have been able to vanquish the Palestinian people in days past and would never be able to do to the remaining Palestinians what is happening today.

Powell and Sharon - Street protests?
(February 21, 2001)
Clearly, the US is rushing to court unpopularity across the world, contrary to expectations that the Bush national security establishment would conduct itself with a degree of sophistication.

"This is only the beginning"
(February 21, 2001)
The crippling is not just physical. Psychologically, culturally, economically, and even morally, the Palestinian people are being twisted and tortured beyond all recognition of their former selves.

Gaza Ghetto, Gaza Concentration Camp, Gaza Prison
(February 19, 2001)
For four months, the Gaza Strip has been effectively isolated from the world. Over 1 million Palestinians are caged in an area of not more than 365km2.

Locked in an Orwellian eternal war
(February 19, 2001)
President Bush Jr didn't seem so confident the other day as he told the world of the newly increased bombing of Iraq. But he made it clear that "until the world is told otherwise" the Americans are convinced they run the world and it is up to them to decide whom to bomb, whom to favor, whom to take out, whom to reward.

Arafat collapsing
(February 16, 2001)
The Arafat Regime is collapsing. Here are some of the details, twisted somewhat of course because the reports are from Israel's best newspaper, Ha'aretz, in view of the fact that Palestinian and Arab news sources are unable and unwilling to provide such insights.

The realization, "perhaps the dream"
(February 16, 2001)
Out of the cycle of violence the gradual, hesitant understanding - perhaps the dream - will grow, that the only way is through a struggle to create a land of Israel/Palestine that is undivided in both physical and human terms, pluralistic and open; a land in which civilized relations, human touch, intimate coexistence and a link to a common homeland would be stronger than militant tribalism and the separation into national ghettoes.

"Collective suicide" or Zionism united?
(February 15, 2001)
If there is a national unity government, it will be evident that the differences between Labour as the main branch of the left and the Likud as the main branch of the right are not that big.

Death and assissination
(February 14, 2001)
It didn't take long for the Israelis, now Sharon-led, to start creating the escalating provocations that will then bring about still more Palestinian rage which will then give the Israelis the excuse they seek to pulverize the Palestinians still harder, possibly destroying the regime they earlier created, and possibly leading to another Palestinian "nakbah" (disaster).

Israelis strike, Palestinians without strategy
(February 13, 2001)
The Israelis have had a long-term strategy for a very long time; and they have pursued it regardless of what party was in power and who happened to be Prime Minister of the moment.

Dozens of Palestinians wounded
(February 12, 2001)
Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians in the West Bank Monday as Israel's rightwing Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon sought to forge a unity government.

"Holy war" is forever
(February 12, 2001)
Fifty four years ago when an international commission of that day was hearing from Jews and Arabs about what the new U.N. should do about Palestine there was testimony from very credible and very establishment Jewish Zionist sources opposing creation of a "separatist Jewish State" precisely because it would bring about an unending conflict with the Palestinian Arab population.

War preparations continue
(February 11, 2001)
The Arafat Regime, the "Authority", is near collapse -- not just financially, but credibility wise as well. The Israeli government is near "unity" -- with General Sharon in charge.

The PA is about to collapse
(February 10, 2001)
How ironic history can be. After generations of struggle and such suffering the regime that rules the Palestinians is now in the hands of Ariel Sharon representing Israel, the U.S. Congress representing the financial levers of the American Empire, and the European governments which in this situation operate on the pretense that they are better than either of the above.

Rocking Israel to its Biblical core
(February 9, 2001)
Well if King David was a nebbish (modern translation might be "nerd"), one has to wonder how history will record Ariel Sharon, the man with such a past whom the Jews of Israel have just overwhelming elected their leader.

Sharon maneuvers for starting position
(February 9, 2001)
It's time for serious political confusion and disinformation now. As the armies prepare themselves for the clashes likely to come in one form or another, the politicians maneuver for new starting positions.

Clinton pardoned Mossad spy for Israelis
(February 9, 2001)
The Israelis adore Bill Clinton, as all the pollsters know. Deep down even the common everyday Israelis know he was their man in the White House.

The many crimes of Ariel Sharon
(February 8, 2001)
Some incorrigible optimists have suggested that only a right-wing extremist of the notoriety of Likud leader Ariel Sharon will have the credentials to broker any sort of lasting settlement with the Palestinians.

Sharon wastes no time - Arafat bows
(February 7, 2001)
We will give him the benefit of the doubt. If he comes with good ideas that will bring us closer to the peace process, why not? The world has seen many such situations before.

Holy war for Jerusalem
(February 7, 2001)
We're on the way now to a new and expanded struggle, maybe even a religious war, Jerusalem the focalpoint.

The cold logic of Sharon
(February 7, 2001)
Many Israelis just stayed home. Others cast a blank vote. But a considerable minority thrust Ariel Sharon into the greatest electoral landslide in that country's history -- obviously as well an overwhelming majority of those who did vote.

Sharon wins and Peres wants in
(February 6, 2001)
He may be a brutish thug, he may fit the definition of war criminal, he may be a Jewish racist -- but now he is also the Prime Minister-elect of Israel, overwhelmingly swept into power in a way few imagined possible just a year ago.

All sides now committed to escalation
(February 6, 2001)
Now the real craziness begins. The Palestinians are committed to heating things up to demonstrate their resolve and their capabilities. The Israelis are committed to "stopping the violence" which means clamping the boot down on the Palestinians even more harshly.

The legacy of Ariel Sharon
(February 5, 2001)
This is a place of filth and blood which will forever be associated with Ariel Sharon. In Israel today, he may well be elected prime minister.

BBC casts doubt of Pan AM convictions
(February 5, 2001)
In advance of whatever the Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi is going to produce as "evidence" of innocence today, the BBC has published the following story quoting the very Scottish law professor who arranged the trial in The Netherlands casting great doubt about the veracity of the verdict reached:

What's left of Israel's left
(February 5, 2001)
What's left of Israel's left is in a fractured and demoralized state of affairs. Not only is Ariel Sharon about to become Israel's Prime Minister, but in all likelihood he is to be swept into power tomorrow in a landslide unprecedented in Israel's history.

The Pan Am 103 Verdict
(February 3, 2001)
The papers are filled with pictures of happy relatives of the victims of the 1988 bombing of PanAm 103. A Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, was just found guilty of the bombing by a Scottish court in the Hague, his co-defendant, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, being acquitted... What's wrong is that the evidence against Megrahi is thin to the point of transparency.

Rivers of blood
(February 2, 2001)
The bloodiness and racism of Sharon's past is fact. And these two articles help bring that past forward to the present.

Waiting for Sharon
(February 2, 2001)
They believe a Sharon victory will be a boon for their cause. 'He will expose the true face of Israel,' says an activist in Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement in Nablus, 'and force the world, including the US, to address its real responsibilities to the peace process...

Israeli Arabs boycott Barak, await Sharon
(February 1, 2001)
As the extreme right-wing revolution in Israel nears, as Ariel Sharon and friends prepare to take over political power, the "Israeli Arab vote" will not be enough to save Ehud Barak, and in fact it will not even be mobilized on his behalf this time, though Yasser Arafat and his friends have surely tried.




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