Re: Israeli PM suffers serious stroke *LINK*
Posted By: PatriotWarrior In Response To: Israeli PM suffers serious stroke *LINK* (Rootsie)
Date: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, at 7:20 p.m.
In Response To: Israeli PM suffers serious stroke *LINK* (Rootsie)
WHAT SHARON DID:THE BULLDOZER'S LONG, BRUTAL CAREER ENDED BETTER THAN ANYONE EXPECTED.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Thursday, Jan. 5, 2006, at 3:04 PM ET
On the day after Ariel Sharon's massive stroke, it's not difficult to remember a time when the news of his demise would have been, not to be too callous about it, something that would have been welcomed by all Palestinians, many Israelis, and many others with an interest in democracy and human rights. The best way of reminding oneself of this is to take a short refresher course in the 1983 Kahane Commission Report, which investigated the filthy pogrom at the Sabra and Shatila camps in Beirut and which recommended that the prime minister consider removing Sharon from office. (It is also worth looking up Noam Chomsky's mordantly brilliant critique of that report, in his book Fateful Triangle, which disputed the commission's finding of "indirect responsibility" and showed that Sharon had been the effective and conscious author of the massacre.) The events of 1982—the Israeli invasion of Lebanon being one of the most disastrous as well as the most gruesome operations in recent history—did not come as much of a surprise to those who had followed Sharon's career. A notorious unit under his command had been responsible for the mass slaughter of the inhabitants of Qibya, a village in the then-Jordanian West Bank, in 1953. He had gone on to be one of the most promiscuous participants in the lawless attack on Egypt, in collusion with the most reactionary circles in Britain and France, in October of 1956. After 1967, he was a particularly brutal enforcer of the occupation in Gaza.
In politics as well as in the military field, he was a brutal, blustering demagogic opportunist. Very few people, however, noticed one element of that opportunism. For a very brief period after the 1973 War, he tried to start a party of his own, with a "peace" plank. The rough idea was that only someone like himself, with a record of ruthless unsentimentality toward the Palestinians, could make peace with them. This didn't last long, and he reverted to his natural home on the Likud/Herut right and became the patron of the messianic settler movement: that golem on the West Bank that is the source of so many of our current woes.
Bertrand Russell used to employ the method of "evidence against interest"; in other words of deciding that a critique of capital punishment, say, carried more weight if it came from a prison governor. (My friend John O'Sullivan puts it like this: If the pope says he believes in God, he's only doing his job; if he says he doesn't believe in God, he may be on to something.) Thus, when Ariel Sharon—the Arik who had been the hero of the settlers and of those who believed in "transfer" or expulsion—announced that "occupation" was the only word to describe the situation in the territories, the shock was quite something. When he added that the idea of Eretz Israel Ha'shlema*—the "complete" land of Israel—was in fact a demographic impossibility, the shock was even greater. Together with his colleague and possible successor, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, he publicly told the old Zionist hard-liners that the expansionist dream of Vladimir Jabotinsky was one that would have to be abandoned. He must have been aware of the ideological danger here, because he had always been the first to say that any challenge to the right of settlement anywhere was implicitly a challenge to the legitimacy of the state itself. It didn't cost him too much to let Sinai go—for some odd reason, the meeting place of Moses and his maker isn't included in the God-given territories—but any retreat on the West Bank or Gaza would have been a challenge to his core beliefs. …
THE BULLDOZER'S LONG, BRUTAL CAREER
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