Palestine ~ Reply To Alan Howe’s Article Praising Ariel Sharon

A piece from Steven Katsineris, written a couple of years ago, but which he feels is still relevant in showing the attitudes and mentality of Sharon and other Israeli leaders and Israel’s history of atrocities against the Palestinians. Steven Katsineris is a Melbourne based writer and activist.

I have often been very shocked by what Alan Howe says, but I was utterly disgusted by his column in today’s Herald Sun. While the world condemns some with that mass murderers, Alan Howe writes glorifying and praising another mass murderer and war criminal Ariel Sharon. He neglected to mention of course the war record of this man without any semblance of a conscience, Sharon. So, here’s a brief summary. 

Among many similar bloody incidents, in one notorious attack on Jordan in 1953, Unit 101, under Sharon's command, slaughtered 69 civilians, over half of them women and children, when they blew up their homes in Qibia village. 

In early 1982, he made a visit to the Phalange Party (Lebanese militia organisation) in Lebanon to coordinate long-held plans for the coming invasion of Lebanon. Israel was to support and supply the Phalangists, an authentic fascist party, formed in 1936 after the founder had returned from a visit to Hitler's Germany. 

Israeli's aim in Lebanon was to establish a Phalangist government which would then make a treaty with Israel. Phalange Party leader Bashir Gemayel said that his party wanted every Palestinian civilian out of Lebanon, and Israel wanted them scattered among the other Arab countries. 

On June 5, 1982, tens of thousands of Israeli troops poured across the border and fought their way up the Lebanese coast. Heavy Israeli sea, air and land bombardment had a devastating impact, laying waste to a substantial portion of southern Lebanon. The cities of Sidon and Tyre were a scene of desolation, with much of the cities levelled by Israeli tank and artillery shells. Palestinian refugee camps around Tyre and Sidon bore the brunt of the colossal destruction.

Ain Hilweh (Sweet Spring), the largest Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon with 25,000 residents, was razed. Nearly half a million people were made homeless by the invasion.

 One week later, Israeli forces laid siege to Beirut, shelling, bombing and trying to break stiff Palestinian and Lebanese resistance. By the end of July, the Lebanese government (as well as church and aid groups) stated that at least 14,000 people had been killed and twice that number seriously wounded. Over 90% of those killed were unarmed civilians.

After three months of war, an agreement was reached under the sponsorship of US envoy Philip Habib. The PLO pledged to withdraw its fighters from Beirut, after receiving US and Lebanese government promises that multinational forces would secure the safety of the Palestinian and Lebanese civilian population. And Israel would not enter Beirut.

The last contingent of Palestinian defenders left the city on September 1, 1982. On September 15, the Israeli army entered Beirut, just after the departure of the US marines, who had stayed only 16 days. The task of purging the camps Sharon had given to the Phalange. 

So the massacre of defenceless Palestinian and Lebanese civilians began. Whole families were murdered, many raped and tortured before being killed. Because many bodies were heaped into lorries and taken away, or buried in mass graves, the exact toll will never be known. It was estimated that at least 2000 people were killed.

After an international outcry, Israel established an inquiry headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Kahan. Despite its shortcomings, the commission's report was a damning indictment of Sharon and a number of his colleagues. The commission said that Sharon had received intelligence warnings that the Phalangists might go on the rampage if allowed into the camps. "In our view, even without such a warning, it is impossible to justify the minister of defence's [Sharon's] disregard of the danger of the massacre." "... responsibility is to be imputed to the minister of defence, for having disregarded the danger of acts of revenge and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps and having failed to take this danger into account when deciding to have the Phalangists enter the camps." In addition responsibility is to be imputed to the minister of defence for not ordering appropriate measures for the prevention of the massacre." (Kahan Report)

The commission's conclusions constituted the minimum that could be deduced from the evidence. The facts warranted a finding of direct responsibility: The Phalangists militia was "ordered" into the camps by Israeli chief of staff, Lieutenant General Raphael Eytan. Phalangist commanders met with General Amir Drori, commander of Israeli troops in Lebanon, and General Amas Yaron, commander for West Beirut, to "coordinate the militia's entry into the camps and arrange communications". The Phalange was given logistical support by the Israeli army during the massacre.

The Phalange took orders, salaries and training directly from Israel. Sharon and the Israelis knew that the Phalange leaders planned to expel most of the Palestinians from Lebanon by committing some atrocity. The Phalangists were at all times under Israeli army orders. "Only one element of Israeli Defence Forces will command all forces in the area", revealed the Kahan report. The Israeli head of intelligence quoted commented, "This means that all forces in the area, including the Phalangists, will be under IDF command and will act according to its instructions". 

I think that’s more than enough to expose the real fascistic nature of war criminal Ariel Sharon.

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