FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Sharon, With Eyes Wide Open

by GILA SVIRSKY

Jerusalem.

The other morning at 7 a.m., I joined Peace Now for an early morning demonstration to ‘wake up’ Ariel Sharon to the fact that his policy of assassinations only feeds the cycle of violence, and does not end terrorism.

“You’re making a terrible mistake!” said our signs, “Your decisions will only create further havoc!” And yet, it turned out that few of us actually think that this policy is a mistake at all. Questioning the 5 or 6 people standing near me, I discovered that all of us really believe that Sharon’s moves are the product of deliberate policy–that they are carried out in the full knowledge that further death and destruction in Israel would be an inevitable result.

Here is a partial list of Sharon’s decisions that are usually referred to by critics as policy blunders because of their unwelcome consequences:

* Targeted assassinations and attempted assassinations, even during the recent ceasefire, which provoke increased terrorist activity;

* Failure to support the moderate abu Mazen by meaningful confidence-building measures, thereby leading to his downfall;

* The decision to sideline and then ‘eliminate’ Arafat, whether by expelling or killing him, knowing that, dead or alive, chaos and instability would ensue, thereby delaying indefinitely any peace negotiation until the regime stabilizes and an alternative leader emerges;

* Rejection out of hand of the new ceasefire proposal; and

* Excessive force against the Palestinians at large–limiting access to health, education, and employment, ongoing house demolitions, curfews, harassment, etc.–all of which only serve to fan the flames of bitterness and hostility among the population.

The consequences of these acts seem so dire, commentators cannot believe that Sharon would deliberately pursue them. But analysts have begun to add things up, and some have even begun to alert the Israeli public to the deliberate nature of these moves. Writes Ze’ev Sternhell in Ha’aretz (12 Sept. 2003):

“There’s no reason to complain to the prime minister and the defense establishment. The present policy is exactly what Ariel Sharon, the chief of staff, the government, and the settlement leaders think is correct and desirable. They know this policy has a price and they are willing to pay it with eyes wide open.”

The price? More death and destruction inside Israel. Then why would the prime minister of Israel agree to this price?

Sharon rode into power on a double promise: security and peace. And yet Sharon has not made even one significant act of progress to achieve either. On the contrary, security and peace appear to be the victims of Sharon’s overriding agenda: maintaining the occupation. Although one can deliberate Sharon’s motivations for wanting to maintain the occupation–a commitment to a Greater-Land-of-Israel ideology? a belief that Israel is in even greater jeopardy without control over Palestinian lives? a hunger for power that feeds off fear of the other? Regardless of the reason, one thing is crystal clear: All the abovementioned, so-called ‘errors’ are blatant instances of making occupation the priority, placing it above security and peace.

If maintaining control over the territories is viewed as Sharon’s priority, then all his actions fall into place. Here are a few of Sharon’s impressive accomplishments after only two and a half years in office:

* He killed the Oslo Peace Process (a course begun by Netanyahu).

* He exponentially increased the fear and loathing of Palestinians among Israelis (which had declined during Oslo days).

* He brought the Palestinian economy to ruin.

* He resurrected Arafat’s power and influence among Palestinians by appearing to ostracize him.

* He continues to delay construction of a ‘Security Wall’, because it would de facto create a Palestinian state on the other side of it. And,

* He increased support for settlements by forming the most right-wing government in the history of Israel.

These ‘accomplishments’ all lead to the same conclusion: a dead end to all avenues leading to reconciliation. Sharon’s efforts have destabilized Palestinian society economically and politically, dehumanized Palestinians to an extent not seen even in pre-Oslo days, and destroyed or disrupted all infrastructure that would enable a properly functioning Palestinian society–roads, power and water supplies, health and education systems, even the records and databases. Sharon has sown chaos and misery, and, above all, has kept the Palestinian population in a constant state of turmoil. His scorched earth policy is not a mistake, but a deliberate strategy to grind the population into submission, to prevent the rise of a sovereign state, to allow Israel to continue its domination. And if these cruel measures give rise to belligerent, anti-Israeli activity, all the better. Palestinian terrorism is what gives legitimacy to Israel–both domestically and internationally–to maintain its brutal boot on the neck of ‘out-of-control Palestinians’.

A recent Ha’aretz editorial (14 Sept. 2003) called the resolve to eliminate Arafat “a stupid decision” and remarked, “Once again the government has failed to fathom a reality that any reasonable person readily grasps.”

Is Sharon really stupid, with no grasp of the consequences of his actions? Please. It is not time for Sharon to wake up, but for the rest of us to open our eyes. It is not Sharon who fails to grasp reality, but those of us who buy into his words and fail to account for his deeds. Sharon is deliberately leading the Palestinians into a state of chaos because it leaves Israel in control…and Sharon in power.

Twenty years ago, the prestigious Kahana Commission of Inquiry, empanelled by the government of Israel, found Ariel Sharon indirectly responsible for the massacre of Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila, forcing his resignation as defense minister, and urged that Sharon never serve a senior security function in Israel ever again.

The Kahana Commission was right. Wake up, everybody!

GILA SVIRSKY lives in Jerusalem and works with the Coalition of Women for Peace. She can be reached at: gsvirsky@netvision.net.il

 

February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail