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

 

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail