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Ariel Sharon: This man is the real terrorist

April 12, 2002 | Page 8

ISRAELI PRIME Minister Ariel Sharon claims that his war on Palestinians is aimed at destroying an "infrastructure of terror." "Giving in to terror will lead to it spreading to other places in the world," he said last week. "Thus it is necessary to act."

But the facts tell a different story. The state of Israel came into existence a half-century ago--and has maintained itself ever since--through terror, warfare and the illegal seizure of Palestinian lands. And Sharon has had blood on his hands from the very beginning.

LEE SUSTAR exposes the leading terrorist in the Middle East.

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ARIEL SHARON was a 20-year-old soldier in 1948, when the Zionist militia, called the Haganah, launched the war that expelled nearly 1 million Palestinians through mass killing and terror.

An Israeli Ph.D. student recently charged that Sharon's unit, the Alexandroni Brigade, was responsible for the massacre of 200 unarmed Arab fighters as they surrendered in the village of Tantura.

Sharon was soon rewarded by the new Israeli state, which in 1953 put him in charge of the commando Unit 101. According to his official government biography, the unit "carried out retaliatory operations."

That's doublespeak for its massacre of at least 69 innocent villagers in the West Bank town of Qibya, then ruled by Jordan. Sharon's troops blew up 42 houses and the local mosque, in what was claimed to be a response to the killing of a Jewish family.

Even Moshe Sharrett, the acting prime minister in Israel's Labor Party government at the time, was shocked. "[In the Israeli cabinet meeting], I condemned the Qibya affair that exposed us in front of the whole world as a gang of blood-suckers, capable of mass massacres, regardless, it seems, whether their actions may lead to war," Sharrett wrote in his diary.

The Qibya massacre once again exposed the nature of Israel as a colonial-settler state based on the violent displacement of the native population. And it showed that behind the progressive-sounding rhetoric of the Labor Party, Zionism depended on people like Ariel Sharon to do the dirty work.

Sharon gravitated to the Revisionist wing of Zionism, which had identified with the fascist movements in Europe and collaborated with the Nazis in an effort to secure Jewish immigration to Palestine.

The Revisionists' relationship with fascism exposed the reality at the core of Zionism--that the very existence of Israel depends on the sponsorship of imperialist powers. As the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz put it in 1951, "Israel is to become the watchdog. There is no fear that Israel will undertake any aggressive policy towards the Arab states when this would explicitly contradict the wishes of the U.S. and Britain. But if for any reasons the Western powers should sometimes prefer to close their eyes, Israel could be relied upon to punish one or several neighboring states whose discourtesy to the West went beyond the bounds of the permissible."

For example, when Egyptian leader Gamel Abdel Nasser went "beyond the bounds of the permissible" in 1956 by nationalizing the Suez Canal, Israel sent Ariel Sharon to help "punish" him.

Sharon's paratroopers were accused of executing prisoners of war--and he was disciplined for disobeying orders. But by 1967, Sharon had become a top general--and played the leading role in the Six Day War against surrounding Arab governments that led to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

During the war, Sharon was responsible for suppressing resistance in Gaza, where he presided over the mass arrest and torture of suspected militants and the bulldozing of large sections of the refugee camps.

In 1977, Sharon joined the right-wing Likud Party government of Menachem Begin as minister of agriculture. In this seemingly harmless role, Sharon set out to consolidate his battlefield victories, both economically and politically.

He announced "A Vision of Israel at Century's End," calling for the settlement of 2 million Jews in the Occupied Territories. "Sharon turned his ministry into the Ministry of Jewish Settlements in the Territories," a reporter for Ha'aretz recalled.

Then, as defense minister in 1981, Sharon traveled to South Africa to cement Israel's growing alliance with the racist apartheid state. The head of the South African arms industry said in 1982 that Israeli "technological assistance permits South Africa to evade the arms embargo imposed on it because of its racial policies."

Sharon also served the U.S. interests in Central America by providing military aid to Honduras, the base for Washington's dirty war on Nicaragua's Sandinista government and leftist insurgents throughout the region.

But it was Sharon's role as architect of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 that exposed him to the world as a war criminal. Israeli Prime Minister Begin called the invasion the "final solution" to the Palestinian problem--evoking the Nazi slogan for exterminating Jews.

Sharon's forces laid siege to Lebanon's capital of Beirut for six months, with at least 19,000 killed (not counting those buried in mass graves) and 30,000 wounded. In the most horrific episode of the war, Israel Defense Forces troops under Sharon sealed off Palestinian refugee camps in the towns of Sabra and Shatila--while Christian fascist Phalange militias slaughtered about 1,000 people over three days.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Israeli troops "stationed less than 100 yards away had not responded to the sound of constant gunfire or the sight of truckloads of bodies being taken away from the camps." An official Israeli inquiry later found Sharon to be "indirectly responsible" for the massacre.

The U.S. eventually complained about Israeli "excesses" in Lebanon--just as the Bush administration has done in recent days. But U.S. military supplies headed to Israel jumped 50 percent in the months before the invasion.

The outrage over Sharon's atrocities did force him to give up his post as defense minister. But he went on to serve in several Israeli governments over the next 17 years, as head of key ministries--trade and industry, housing and infrastructure.

"Whenever Mr. Sharon changed his government position, he kept Jewish settlements as one of his top priorities," the Washington Post reported last year. Thanks in large part to Sharon, the number of settlement housing units in the Occupied Territories has nearly doubled since the 1993 Oslo accords, the "peace" deal that was supposed to establish a Palestinian statelet in those territories.

Today, in Gaza, just 7,000 Israeli settlers control 20 percent of an area where 1.1 million Palestinians live. Sharon himself built a luxurious home in the heart of historically Arab East Jerusalem.

The settlements have become precisely what they were intended to be--an obstacle to the emergence of a genuine Palestinian state. "The Oslo II map…is almost a mirror image of Sharon's 'cantonization' plan, which envisages the creation of noncontiguous Palestinian cantons in the West Bank and Gaza Strip surrounded by Israeli settlements and roads," researcher Geoffery Aronson observed.

Israel's refusal to remove the settlements--and its opposition of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to "Israel proper"--led to the breakdown of the negotiations in the summer of 2000. And Sharon was waiting to provoke a new war with his march on Al-Aqsa Mosque--accompanied by 1,000 police--a few weeks later.

The resulting Palestinian Intifada and political crisis in Israel led to Sharon's election last year as prime minister--and to his latest bloodbath.

Liberal Zionists say they are embarrassed by his barbarism. And Washington may once again disown him if he goes "too far."

But monsters like Ariel Sharon are the inevitable result of the Zionist project--racist colonial domination in the service of imperialist power.

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