On Saturday, January 11th, ex - Israeli PM, Ariel Sharon, died age 85. One does not have to do much digging behind the current media jargon surrounding Sharon to conclude that he clearly was a man who was far from committed to ensuring peace with the Palestinians. Hailed a “significant figure” and a “a great warrior” Sharon was far from what the media are portraying him to be. “His life was dedicated to defending Israel” commented current PM Netanyahu, but in reality, his life was dedicated to contributing to the eradication of Palestine and Palestinians off the face of the earth. He better fitted the title ‘“the Butcher of Beirut” than “one of the Middle East’s most formidable politicians”.
The massacres led by Sharon, such as Qibiya, Sabra and Shatila, amongst others, still horrify and resonate greatly with Palestinians, as well as those in the international community. The massacre at Qibiya in 1953 saw the brutal murder of 69 people, over half woman and children, who were gunned down whilst trying to escape from their homes. Worse still were the massacres of Sabra and Shatila in the Palestinan refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. The Kahan Commission found the tyrant, Sharon, to be responsible for the brutal killing of over 3,000 Palestinian refugees, yet nothing surmounted in a form of punishment. Despite committing and bearing personal responsibility for the atrocities, Sharon’s career in the public sphere continued with few alterations. Some years later, he was at the forefront of Israeli politics.
His highly controversial visit to Haram al - Sharif, the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem in 2000, accompanied by an armed guard, sparked much opposition on both sides and aided in flaming tensions to such an extent that various uprisings broke out, subsequently sparking the outbreak of the Second Intifada.Some of the policies exacted during his time as Prime Minister were illegal under international law. Israeli settlement expansion increased significantly under Sharon, as well as the destruction of Palestinian homes. Human Right Watch and Amnesty International condemned his policies, yet little, if anything, was done to punish Sharon or further prevent settlement expansion.The current portrayal of Sharon in the media serves as a specific reminder of its manipulative power. Malcom X once famously said “the media is the most powerful entity on Earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they
control the minds of the masses. ” His words hold great resonance in relation not only to Sharon, but to the wider Israel - Palestine conflict in general. Perhaps one of the most shocking and horrifying quotes to come from Sharon is as follows:
" I don’t know something called International Principles. I vow that I’ll burn every Palestinian child(that) will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child is more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian child’s existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger. I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him. With one hit I’ve killed 750 Palestinians(in Rafah in 1956). I wanted to encourage my soldiers by raping Arabic girls as the Palestinian women is a slave for Jews, and we do whatever we want to her and nobody tells us what we shall do but we tell others what they shall do. ” - Ariel Sharon, 1956.
Whilst the Western world commemorates the passing of, what they deem to be a leader of strong and noble charisma, others, particularly the Palestinians, mark the end of the life of a malicious and malignant manipulatively. Perhaps the biggest crime was, however, that he died with earthly impunity. Sharon’s life and the atrocities committed serve as a reminder to us all, that, ultimately, Zionists can exact as much terror as they want and they will receive little or no punishment for their actions.Sources: Al Jazeera, Mondoweiss, Reuters, RT, Electronic Intifada, Press TV, The Mirror.
[box type = " info " font = " arial " fontsize = " 8 " radius = " 10 "]Hinna Sheikh
is student of Arabic and International Relations at the University of Leeds. She has a keen interest in Middle East Politics, particularly the Palestine - Israel conflict. Her articles could be found on herblog
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