The Whitewashing of Ariel Sharon

Ramzy Baroud, January 14, 2014

The death of former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon enlivened US media’s interest in the legacy of a man considered by many a war criminal, and by some a hero. In fact, the supposed heroism of Sharon was at the heart of CNN coverage of his death on January 11.

Sharon spent his last eight years in a coma, but apparently not long enough for US corporate media to wake up from its own moral coma. CNN online’s coverage presented Sharon as a man of heroic stature, who was forced to make tough choices for the sake of his own people. “Throughout, he was called "The Bulldozer," a fearless leader who got things done,” wrote Alan Duke.

In his article, “Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister, dead at 85″, Duke appeared to be confronting Sharon’s past head on. In reality, he cleverly whitewashed the man’s horrendous crimes, while finding every opportunity to recount his fictional virtue. “Many in the Arab world called Sharon ‘the Butcher of Beirut’ after he oversaw Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon while serving as defense minister,” Duke wrote.

Nevertheless, Sharon was not called the “The Bulldozer” for being “a fearless leader” nor do Arabs call him “the Butcher of Beirut” for simply “overseeing” the invasion of Lebanon. Duke is either ignorant or oblivious to the facts, but the blame is not his alone, since references to Sharon’s heroism was a staple in CNN’s coverage.

Sharon’s demise however, and the flood of robust eulogies will neither change the facts of his blood-socked history, nor erase the “facts on the ground” – as in the many illegal colonies that Sharon so dedicatedly erected on occupied Palestinian land.

Following the Israeli occupation of Gaza along with the rest of Palestine in 1967, Sharon was entrusted with the bloody task of “pacifying” the headstrong Strip as he was the head of the southern command of the Israel Defense Forces. Sharon was dubbed the “Bulldozer” for he understood that pacifying Gaza would require heavy armored vehicles, and Gaza’s crowded neighborhoods and alleyways weaving through its destitute refugee camps were not suited for heavy machinery.

Therefore, he resolved to bulldoze thousands of homes, preparing the way for tanks and bulldozers to move in and topple even more homes. Modest estimates put the number of homes destroyed in August 1970 alone at 2,000. Over 16,000 Palestinians were made homeless and thousands were forced to relocate from one refugee camp into another.

The Beach Refugee Camp near Gaza City sustained most of the damage. Many fled for their lives, taking refuge in mosques and UN schools and tents. Sharon’s declared objective was targeting the terrorist infrastructure. What he in fact meant was targeting the very population that resisted and aided the resistance, for they indeed were the very infrastructure he harshly pounded for many days and weeks.

Sharon’s bloody sweep also resulted in the execution of 104 resistance fighters and the deportation of hundreds of others. Some were sent to Jordan, others to Lebanon, and the rest were simply left to rot in the Sinai desert.

Sharon’s violence was part of an equally disturbing logic. He believed that any strategic long-term plan to secure Israel must have at its heart a violent campaign aimed at disorienting Palestinians. He was quick to capitalize on the Allon plan, named after Yigal Allon, a former general and minister in the Israeli government, who took on the task of drawing an Israeli vision for the newly conquered Palestinian territories.

Sharon recounted standing on a dune near Gaza with cabinet ministers, explaining that along with military measures to control the Strip he wanted “fingers” of settlements separating its cities, chopping the region in four. Another “finger” would thrust through the edge of Sinai, helping create a “Jewish buffer zone between Gaza and Sinai to cut off the flow of weapons” and divide the two regions in case the rest of Sinai was ever returned to Egypt. That legacy disfigured and isolated Gaza, even years after Sharon implemented his policy of unilateral “disengagement” in 2005. He relocated the settlers to other illegal colonies in the West Bank and imposed a hermetic siege on the Strip, the consequences of which remain suffocating and deadly.

Sharon was keen on espousing or exploiting the division of his enemies. He moved against Lebanon in 1982, when the country was at its weakest point, exhausted by civil war. And when Israeli forces finally occupied Lebanon in 1982, as Palestine Liberation Organization fighters were shipped by sea to many countries around the Middle East, a triumphant Sharon permitted his Christian Phalangist allies to enter the defenseless Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps.

In the days between September 16-18, 1982, as Israeli troops completely besieged the camps, the Phalangists entered the area and carried out a massacre that gruesomely defined both the Lebanese civil war and the Israeli invasion, killing thousands of Palestinian refugees, mostly butchered with knives, but also gunned down.

Although Sharon was partly discredited after his disastrous war in Lebanon, Israeli voters brought him back repeatedly, to lead the rightwing Likud party in May 1999 and as a prime minister of Israel in February 2001. The aim was to subdue rebelling Palestinians during the Second Intifada. In fact, it was Sharon’s provocative “visit” to one of Islam’s holiest shrines a few months earlier that sparked anger among Palestinians and, among other factors, started the uprising.

Sharon attempted to crush the uprising with the support and blessings of the US, but he failed. By the end of August 2001, 495 Palestinians and 154 Israelis were killed. International attempts at sending UN observer forces were thwarted by a US veto on March 27, thus paving the way for the Israeli army to thrash its way into Palestinian refugee camps and other areas formerly controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

In March and April 2002, Sharon ordered Operation “Defensive Wall”, which resulted in major military incursions into most West Bank cities, causing massive destruction and unprecedented bloodletting. The Israeli operation led to the killing of hundreds of Palestinians, the reoccupation of major Palestinian towns, the destruction of Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah, and the subsequent besiegement of the Palestinian leader in his barely standing office.

Sharon was no hero. It is time for US media to wake up from its own coma, and confront reality through commonsense and the most basic human rights values. It should not be looking through the prism of the most rightwing, if not fascist elements of Israeli society.

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is a media consultant, an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).




18 Responses to “The Whitewashing of Ariel Sharon”

  1. Thanks for this concise synopsis, sir.

  2. Ariel Sharon, we mourned for that information. The sadness and regret for one who is no more.

  3. to not create disinformation yourself, you should explain the context in which the massacre of Sabra and Shatila took place.

  4. the context ? The vengeance of the death of christian Lebanese leader in suicide bombing was carried out on innocent men , women and children in the refugee camp. Who perhaps had "nothing" to do with what has taken place.

  5. We are ALL in Israeli occupied territory NOW………. We will see how letting this clever and ruthless miniscule minority to wreck havoc with our country and lives…

  6. Sharon was a degenerate Zionist war criminal.

    Piss on him. Good riddance.

  7. […] […]

  8. actually U need to dig deeper and reflect why Sharon s actions have not brought you any shame.

  9. Jesus died for You You will go to Heaven

    WHAT IS PROPHECY?
    Prophecy is always a promise of God. God gives prophecy-promises of hope to His children. God also gives prophecy-promises of judgment to those who disagree wither are indifferent to Him. 

    CAN MEN GIVE PROPHECY?
    No! Genuine prophecy comes only from God. “No prophecy was ever an act of human will” (1 Peter 1:21)

    WHY IS PROPHECY (AGREAT GIFT FRM GOD), AVOIDED TODAY BY MANY? WHY DO LUTHERAN PASTORS OFTEN AVOID PREACHING ON PROPHECY?
    In recent years a small group of Baptist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Dispensationalist preachers have predominated television preaching. These preachers claim that the key prophecies of God deal with the state of Israel. These misguided preachers have twisted God’s prophecies and removed Christ from the center of prophetic preaching. By doing this, they replace Jesus Christ with the geographical state of Israel. This misuse of prophecy has cause many Lutheran pastors to avoid teaching about prophecy altogether, thereby leaving their people in the dark and without the hope that God desires to give His people through Christ-centered prophetic preaching. 

    If you were to make a tree diagram of all Old Testament prophecies–with a branch or twig representing each specific prophecy–why would Genesis 3:15 be the root of this big “tree” of many old testament prophecies?
    There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. Already in the third chapter of the first book, God gives His “root,” His “foundation block,” or His cornerstone prophecy. This cornerstone prophecy on which all other prophecies are built is Genesis 3:15. Every activity of the entire Old and New Testament is tied in some way to Genesis 3:15, just as every branch and smallest twig of a tree is in some way tied to the root. 

    WHY IS GOOD NEWS DEVOTING AN ENTIRE ISSUE TO PROPHECY?
    The primary purpose of GOOD NEWS is to give its readers hope. As You turn these pages and see specific prophecies explained, you will also experience the hope God desires to give you.

    HOW CAN YOU EASILY DETECT THE HERETICAL TEACHING OF TODAY’S TELEVISION PREACHERS AND DISTINGUISH IT FROM THE SOLID AND RELIABLE TEACHING THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH HAS ALWAYS USED REGARDING PROPHECY?
    Popular and heretical preachers of prophecy usually focus on the Bible books of Revelation, Daniel, and Ezekiel. These books are then used to explain current world politics, especially current events, and to guess when Jesus will return. The greatest condemnation of these charlatans is the clear teaching of Jesus: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36)

    WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR CHRISTIANS TO KNOW ABOUT THE TWISTED HERESY OF DISPENSATIONALISM?
    As already noted, the Dispensationalist teaching of prophecy takes Jesus from the center of all prophecy and replaces our blessed Lord with the state of Israel. In Luke 24:44, Jesus says, “All things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Dispensationalists, in effect, have recast this section of God’s Word to say, “All things written about the state of Israel in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Furthermore, as Luther points out, Israel, even in the Old Testament, has always referred to those who believed and followed God, not to a particular race of people or to a certain geographical area. 

    WHY IS IT ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL FOR CHRISTIANS TO KNOW WHAT THE WORD ‘ISRAEL” MEANS TODAY?
    Over the centuries, in its worship services, the Christian church has always used the Psalms. The Psalms regularly refer to Israel. When the Psalmist is referring to Israel, he is pointing to those whom God has promised to bless. In their false understanding of Scripture, the Dispensationalists have misled millions to believe that the Psalms are referring to God blessing the state of Israel, when, in fact, the Psalms refer to a blessing God wants to give to all who are worshiping him. In other words, the heretical Dispensationalist theology twists and redirects God’s promises of blessings from children who are His through Baptism to those they believe are His through geography.
    So, the bottom line is this. When people in your congregations are hoodwinked into believing Dispensationalist theology, they do not experience the blessings that God has to give them as His New Israel! (Romans 9:1-8)

    WHERE ARE THE CHIEF THEOLOGICAL SCHOOLS THAT TEACH DISPENSATIONALISM?
    Among themselves Dispensationalists would agree that the leading schools teaching their interpretation of the Scriptures would be Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, and Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas. One of the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary was also a major promoter of Dispensationalism.

    WHO HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE LEADING AND MOST POPULAR TEACHERS OF THE TWISTED THEOLOGY OF DISPENSATIONALISM?
    The most popular teacher of dispensationalism has been Hal Lindsey, the author of The Late Great Planet Earth which sold some 35 million copies and was translated into over 50 languages. In more recent years, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins authored the Left Behind series of books, which netted each author over fifty million dollars. These figures demonstrate how widely this 19th-century American heresy has been spread and the threat that it poses to Christ’s church. Jesus says, “Many will … mislead many” (Matthew 24:5). 

    WHY DO THESE RELIGIOUS FICTION BOOKS, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT DEAL WITH PROPHECY, SELL SO WELL?
    All people, even those committed to secularism, are interested in getting a peek into the future. Thus, when a charlatan comes along who claims to be interpreting present and future events ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE, there are many buyers! Even members of the U.S. Department of Defense were known to be reading The Late Great Planet Earth in the hope of seeing the future of world political and military movements. One author noted that reading The Late Great Planet Earth was like getting an advance copy of tomorrow’s newspaper!
    Finally, one could read many, many books explaining how the twisted theology of Dispensationalism has impacted politics in the United States and other parts of the world. But politics is not our mission at GOOD NEWS. While we have taken some space to point out the deadly menace of Dispensationalism, you can see that the greater percentage of this issue is devoted to the true and correct Biblical understanding of prophecy, a great blessing God wants you to have! 
    Dispensationalism is effectively exposed in volume XIII of Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics: Escatology by John R. Stephenson. p. 83-97, in the essay titled, “Fictitious Signs of His Coming: Sundry Dreams of the Dispensationalists” (Published by the Luther Academy, Fort Wayne, IN. 1993).

    For Bible Study questions about this page, turn to page 41 and use questions 43 through 45.

    43. The heresy of Dispensationalism has been promoted by many popular evangelical preachers on television and radio. Major schools of theology, such as the Moody Bible Institute, promote Dispeationalism. Bestselling books like The Late Great Planet Earth, and even the series, sow the tares of dispensational thinking in the minds of million of Christians (Matthew 13:24-30). Nevertheless, Dispensationalism is not a God-Pleasing doctrine. Jesus warns us: “Many will come in My name … and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:5).

    44. Jesus claims that the entire Old Testament speaks of Him (Luke 24:44). Dispensationalism removes Jesus from the center of Biblical prophecy and replaces Him with the modern state of Israel. Dispensationalists base their teaching on obscure passages while ignoring the Bible’s clear teachings, such as: “But of that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew 24:36). Finally, Dispensationalism robs God’s children of the comfort of their Baptism. By focus-ing on bringing back the political state of Israel, Dispensationalism denies God’s promise that, through Baptism, He has established the Christian church as His New Israel (Romans (:1-8)

    45. No matter how persuasive and exciting television preachers or popular books may be, always remember: Christ, not the state of Israel, is the center of all Scripture (Luke 18:31). When you hear novel interpretations drawn from books such as Revelation or Daniel, keep in mind: “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). Search the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11), and compare the claims of Dispensational teachers to God’s clear testimonies, such as Matthew 24:36 and Romans 9:1-8. Fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), knowing that the entire OLd Testament speaks of Him (Luke 24:44). And bear in mind that all prophecy springs from the root of Genesis 3:15. When you are armed with these clear Biblical teachings, and refreshed by God’s forgiveness in Word and Sacrament, you will be able to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

    (Good News Magazine Prophecy Issue 35, Concordia Mission Society, P.O. box 8555 St Louis MO 63126)

  10. OOOOOOOO…..OOOOOOOOO………Orville…………….

  11. Good riddance to Sharon. I can't wait till it's Nutty yahoo's turn.

  12. what is particularly galling

    is there is no dearth of intellect talent researchers and accomplished academics. Why then have the sociopath warcriminals hijacked the nation and put itself on this suicidal path. Why have the organ traffickers, human traffickers, military torturers and arms merchants allowed free reign

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