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
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 lives.
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
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 families (under 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
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, permanently traumatized.
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 watching.
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's Perspective
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's 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 security 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 confiscation in Jerusalem and land confiscation 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 is Palestine." 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
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 blockade of incoming aid.
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.