By James Petras, 99GetSmart
Ariel Sharon was a serial mass murderer, engaged in massacres of unarmed victims in four countries, of all ages and conditions. He was a “hero” for hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews who settled on land and in houses seized from Palestinians in the West Bank. He was praised by Western leaders at his funeral for his violent, lifelong opposition to Arab nationalist movements throughout the Middle East. That he was a fanatical upholder of Jewish supremacist policies and practices did not go unnoticed by wealthy Zionist donors in the US. During his tenure as a senior official in numerous Israeli regimes, they contributed hundreds of millions of dollars for Greater Israel and extracted nearly a $100 billion more from the US Treasury.
Israeli leaders praise of Sharon as a valiant, brilliant and legendary military leader is echoed in the US mass media and repeated by most Western leaders. He was, in the view of his US adulators, a powerful leader who defied world public opinion in his defense of Israel, who seized Palestinian and Syrian territory and who was willing to strike an independent policy even against Israel’s main benefactors in Europe and North America.
This essay does not simply recount Sharon’s lifelong criminal record. The story we will relate has more to do with (1)the crimes that continue to live after him; (2) the political and military context which allowed him to butcher non-Jewish populations with impunity; (3)the psychological core of Sharonist impudence and arrogance which is so deeply etched in the political psyche of all of Israel’s contemporary leaders.
This paper will critically address several issues regarding the Sharon cult (in Israel and abroad) which presents him as a fearless and successful military leader; a formidable world political statesman, who successfully imposed Israel’s will throughout the Middle East and beyond.
Genocide at the Service of Nationhood
Sharon’s record as a serial genocider is beyond dispute. As early as the ‘founding years’ of Israel in 1947 – 1948 Sharon was commander of the murderous Alexandroni and then the Golani Brigade which murdered, uprooted and terrorized thousands of lifelong Palestinian residents. He later was the commander of Unit 101, an Orwellian Death Squad, which reduced villages to rubble, blowing up homes, where mostly women and children were hiding. In October 1953, Sharon assaulted the Jordanian village of Qibya blowing up forty-five houses and killing sixty-nine civilians, the vast majority women and children. In the early 1950’s Sharon ruled over Palestinian settlements with an iron fist, murdering dissidents, arresting and torturing protestors on a mass scale. On October 29, 1956 Israeli, British and French troops invaded Egypt to seize the Suez Canal and recolonize the country. Colonel Sharon led the 202th Paratroop Brigade which seized the Mitla Pass and covered himself with gore – murdering all the Egyptian military and civilian prisoners. The Israeli military advance was stopped cold despite its military alliance and supply from Britain and France. President Eisenhower told the Israelis and their French and English allies to end their aggression and proceeded to cut off all military and economic aid to Israel; shut off IMF funding for England and France’s post WW II bankrupt economies. US Zionists using their leverage in the Democratic party especially over Lyndon Johnson, House Minority Leader, to block Eisenhower’s economic sanctions and to support Israel’s invasion. Eisenhower rejected Zionist pressure and went to the UN Security Council where his armistice and withdrawal proposal was vetoed by France and Britain. Eisenhower then called a special session of the General Assembly where he triumphed by a 12 to 1 margin. France, Britain and Israel were defeated and forced to retreat. No other President before or since Eisenhower ever took a forthright stand against Israeli colonial wars and territorial seizures.
During the Egyptian invasion, Sharon’s military leadership was severely questioned by his Israeli superiors. His troops suffered the highest casualties of any unit because of his order to attack heavily fortified Egyptian emplacements when Israeli air power could have done more with less.