| #ziocolony: How Ariel Sharon shaped Israel’s destiny!

How Ariel Sharon Shaped Israel’s Destiny ~ Max Blumenthal, The Nation.

In a bloody career that spanned decades, he destroyed entire cities and presided over the killing of countless civilians.

Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon at a cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office in 2005. AP Photo/Oded Balilty.

A central player in Israeli affairs since the state’s inception, Ariel Sharon molded history according to his own stark vision. He won consent for his plans through ruthlessness and guile, and resorted to force when he could not find any. An accused war criminal who presided over the killing of thousands of civilians, his foes referred to him as “The Bulldozer.” To those who revered him as a strong-armed protector and patron saint of the settlements, he was “The King of Israel.” In a life acted out in three parts, Sharon destroyed entire cities, wasted countless lives and sabotaged careers to shape the reality on the ground.

The first act of Sharon’s career began after the 1948 war that established Israel at the expense of 750,000 Palestinians who were driven away in a campaign of mass expulsion. Badly wounded in the battle of Latrun, where the Israeli army suffered a bitter defeat at the hands of the Royal Jordanian Army, Sharon momentarily retired from army life. He looked back in anger at the failure to take Latrun, a strategic swath of land containing three Palestinian towns seemingly obstructing the new Jewish state’s demographic continuity. Spineless politicians and feckless commanders had tied the hands of Israel’s troops, he claimed, leaving the Jewish state exposed from within. Sharon yearned to finish 1948—to complete the expulsion project he viewed as deficient.

In 1953, Sharon was plucked out of retirement by Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and appointed the head of a secret commando unit tasked with carrying out brutal acts of reprisal and sabotage. Following a lethal Palestinian assault on an Israeli kibbutz, Sharon led his men into the West Bank town of Qibya with orders from Ben Gurion’s Central Command to “carry out destruction and cause maximum damage.” By the time they were done, sixty-nine civilians—mostly Palestinian women and children—lay dead.

In the years after that scandal, Sharon carried out bloody raids on Egyptian and Syrian territory that inflamed relations with Israel’s neighbors and led them to seek urgent military assistance from the Soviet Union. In the 1956 Sinai Campaign, Sharon was accused by one of his commanders, Arye Biro, of overseeing the massacre of forty-nine Egyptian quarry workers who had been taken prisoner and had no role in the fighting (official censorship kept the details from the public for decades). In the 1967 Six Day War, Sharon ran up the body count on encircled Egyptian tank units, converting unprecedented kill ratios into national fame. With the Gaza Strip now under Israeli control, Sharon orchestrated the razing of Palestinian citrus orchards to make way for Jewish colonization.

During the 1973 war, Sharon waged his own parallel war for personal glory. Determined to be the first Israeli commander to cross the Suez Canal, he sent his soldiers rushing into the teeth of the Egyptian army without sufficient artillery or air support. Scores of his men died in the blind thrust while entire brigades were left exposed. But Sharon salvaged his quest for fame when his tank brigades encircled the Egyptian Third Army. After the battle, photos of the general standing proudly in the Egyptian desert, bandaged from a superficial wound and surrounded by soldiers hailing him as “The King of Israel,” circulated in the Israeli and international media. The high-flying political career he had sought was now guaranteed. In short order, Sharon helped found the Likud Party, opening the second act of his storied career.

Though set on a rightward political trajectory, Sharon owed his fortunes to the icons of LaborZionism. His original patron, Ben Gurion, and the younger warrior-politician Moshe Dayan, constantly shuffled him up the ranks of the military hierarchy, despite a clear pattern of scandalously insubordinate behavior. His first cabinet-level post was an abbreviated stint in the 1970s government of Yitzhak Rabin, the quintessential Laborite, who imagined Sharon leading a reorganization of the army following the disaster of the 1973 war. But it was in the Likud-led 1977 coalition of Menachem Begin that Sharon was finally able to translate his influence into history-altering policies.

Appointed minister of agriculture, Sharon exploited his seemingly insignificant position to bring the messianic project of Greater Israel to fruition. With unbridled vigor, he expanded the settlement enterprise across the West Bank, boasting that he personally established sixty-four settlements during his first four years in government. He revealed his strategy in a private chat with Winston Churchill’s grandson: “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich out of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years’ time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”

Having established himself as the visionary behind the settlements, Sharon set his sights on the Ministry of Defense, actively intimidating Begin to fulfill his ambition. When Begin finally capitulated before Sharon’s bullying, he declared only half-jokingly that Sharon might have staged a military coup if he hadn’t been offered his desired sinecure.

Sharon entered the Defense Ministry consumed with dreams of an Israeli-friendly Christian puppet government in Beirut—the bulwark of a regional Israeli empire. Clamoring for an invasion of Lebanon, Sharon withheld his true intentions from everyone except perhaps Begin, claiming he merely aimed to drive the PLO out of southern Lebanon, where it had staged periodic raids on Israeli territory. When Begin green-lighted Operation Peace for Galilee in June 1982, Sharon sent Israeli tanks rumbling towards Beirut without the approval of the rest of the cabinet, whom Sharon had deliberately deceived. Many of them were outraged, but it was too late to turn back.

Against fierce Palestinian resistance, one of the Middle East’s most vital and cosmopolitan cities was laid to ruin. Sharon’s forces flattened West Beirut with indiscriminate shelling, leaving streets strewn with unburied corpses. With each passing day, disease and famine spread at epidemic levels. In August, the day after the Israeli cabinet accepted US special envoy Philip Habib’s proposal for the evacuation of the PLO, Sharon’s forces bombarded Beirut for seven hours straight, leaving 300 dead, most of them civilians. The Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling wrote that the raid “resembled the attack on Dresden by the Allies toward the end of World War II.” Sharon even requested an additional paratrooper brigade to obliterate the PLO forces besieged in the city, earning a rare rebuke from Begin, who worried that his defense minister would completely destroy Habib’s efforts to resolve the crisis.

PLO forces withdrew from Lebanon, according to Habib’s guidelines, but the worst was yet to come. Sharon had stymied a proposal for the introduction of multinational peacekeepers capable of preventing reprisals against the defenseless Palestinian refugees who had been left behind. Thus the stage was set for the most heinous massacre of the war. Following the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, the Christian warlord who was supposed to serve as Sharon’s handpicked puppet president, Israeli forces helped usher Christian Phalangist militias into the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila, then surrounded by the Israeli military, providing them with intelligence and operational support. Sharon and many of his officers were well aware of the Phalangists’ intention to murder as many women and children as they could. After days of slaughter, as many as 2,000 civilians were dead, with countless others raped and brutalized.

In February 1983, Israel’s Kahan Commission found Sharon “indirectly responsible” for the massacre, urging his dismissal as defense minister. With the Israeli body count was piling up in Lebanon, city squares in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were thronged with outraged mothers and a growing movement of service refuseniks. The antiwar demonstrations shook the confidence of the army’s high command. At the prime minister’s office, Sharon berated Begin and his ministers, warning them, “If we adopt this [Kahan] report, all our ill-wishers and naysayers will that what happened in the camp was genocide.” Calling the findings “a mark of Cain on all of us for generations,” Sharon adamantly refused to step down.

During the meeting, a right-wing Jewish terrorist lobbed a live grenade into a crowd of antiwar protesters right outside the prime minister’s office, killing the teacher and antiwar activist Emil Grunzweig. The incident was Sharon’s coup de grâce, prompting his resignation. Though he remained in government as a minister without portfolio, his dreams of serving as prime minister appeared to be dashed.

Sharon’s fear of prosecution did not end with his resignation. In July 2001, a Belgian court opened an inquiry into the Sabra and Shatila massacre when a group of survivors filed a complaint under the country’s “universal jurisdiction” guidelines. Elie Hobeika, the Phalangist commander directly responsible for the killings, was assassinated months later, after informing Belgian politicians that he would testify against Sharon. “Israel doesn’t want witnesses against it in this historic case in Belgium which will certainly convict Ariel Sharon,” the Lebanese Minister of Displaced People Marwan Hamadeh remarked at the time, echoing widespread speculation about Sharon’s involvement. In September 2003, with Belgian relations with Israel at an all-time low, the Belgian court threw out the case, citing Sharon’s diplomatic immunity.

By this time, Sharon had resuscitated his political career in dramatic fashion. On September 28, 2000, following the collapse of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority at Camp David that summer, Sharon toured the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, site of the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, accompanied by 1,000 armed police and security agents. It was a provocative stunt, staged to inflame rising tensions in the occupied territories. As expected, the appearance sparked widespread Palestinian rioting the next day, which was met with a draconian Israeli crackdown—Israeli forces fired 1.3 million bullets at mostly unarmed demonstrators in October 2000 alone—fueling what became known as the Al Aqsa Intifada. The following year Sharon was elected prime minister and Palestinian suicide bombings were battering the cafes and nightclubs of Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem. Channeling the mood of Israel’s “peace camp,” which had called for Sharon’s ouster during the invasion of Lebanon, the liberal newspaper Haaretz demanded “a war about the morning’s coffee and croissant.”

The beleaguered peace camp was shocked at the intifada, but also cynically misled by Sharon’s predecessor as prime minister, Ehud Barak, who declared after the collapse of the Camp David negotiations that there was “no Palestinian partner” for peace. Sapped of confidence, they became quiescent while the mainstream united behind Sharon, their vengeful protector. With a free hand to deploy tanks and combat jets against Palestinian population centers, Sharon oversaw a campaign of carefully calculated brutality, culminating, in 2002, in the comprehensive demolition of the Jenin refugee camp. Baruch Kimmerling termed Sharon’s strategy “politicide,” a “gradual but systematic attempt to cause [Palestine’s] annihilation as an independent political and social entity.” As in the beginning, Sharon’s unspoken goal was to finish the war of 1948.

While Israeli bulldozers trundled across Gaza and the West Bank, Sharon announced his intention to “make separation across the land.” Though initially resistant to the idea, he resolved to fulfill a plan first introduced in the 1990’s under Yitzhak Rabin: the construction of a vast wall that would drive a nail into the coffin of the Palestinian national movement. Cutting into the West Bank and Jordan Valley, the wall would effectively annex 80 percent of settlements into Israel proper, consolidating the country’s Jewish demographic majority while relegating Palestinians to a permanent regime of ghettoized exclusion.

Next, Sharon planned to pull Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip, setting the stage for a high-tech siege of that occupied coastal territory. Unlike in the past, Sharon sold his plans to the public with carefully calibrated, subtle rhetorical touches. Stunned by a new movement of mass refusal—a group of former and active Israeli air force pilots had issued a letter declaring their refusal to participate in operations in occupied territory—and by the furious opposition of the settlement movement to his plan, Sharon uncharacteristically proclaimed that the occupation was a “bad thing for Israel.” Next, he bolted from Likud, cobbling together a random assortment of politicians including his former aide, the telegenic, PR-friendly Tzipi Livni, to drive the separation plan forward under the banner of Kadima.

Sharon’s maneuvers earned him the political space he needed to fulfill his goals. Haaretz, the voice of Israeli liberalism, supported the vast separation wall as a “revolutionary” step towards two states. Endorsing the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza, The New York Times editorial boarddeclared that Sharon “should be cheered.” Back in Tel Aviv, the anti-settlement group Peace Now and the Labor Party organized a mass demonstration in support of the Gaza disengagement plan. Winning liberals to his side was Sharon’s final political coup, and probably his most consequential.

The true goal of Sharon’s separation regime was never to end the occupation but to reinforce it under new parameters that would prevent the collapse of Israel’s international image. A top aide to Sharon, Dov Weissglass, revealed the real logic behind Sharon’s plans: “The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.” Another close adviser, Arnon Sofer, was even more frank:

…when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.

Eight years after Sharon slipped into a coma, the real implications of separation stand exposed. Gaza suffers under a joint Israeli-Egyptian siege, while Israel shrugs off any responsibility for its inhabitants. Though Israel controls the entrances, exits, airspace and coast of Gaza, and effectively regulates the caloric intake of each resident of the coastal territory, the occupation is over as far as its government is concerned. Israeli settlements are firmly entrenched in the West Bank and encircle East Jerusalem, reducing Palestinian areas to the “pastrami sandwich” of non-contiguous bantustans that Sharon had originally envisioned. With the peace process effectively embalmed in political “formaldehyde,” right-wing elements have achieved unfettered dominance over the Jewish state’s key institutions. Typical of the new generation of Israeli rightists is Sharon’s corruption-stained son, Gilad, who has called Palestinian society a “predator,” an “animal” and “stabbers of babies.”

Now that Sharon’s unilateral vision appears to have been consolidated, Israel’s government must perpetually manage an occupation it has no intention of ending. It has no clear strategy to achieve international legitimacy and no endgame. Its direct line to Washington has become a life-support system for the status quo. Like Sharon, who spent his last years in a comatose state without any hope of regaining consciousness, Israel is only buying time.

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| #ziocolony: Real legacy of Ariel ‘the bulldozer’ Sharon

The legacy of Ariel ‘the bulldozer’ Sharon ~ , Al Jazeera.

Israel’s controversial former prime minister known for aggressive stances dies in hospital at age 85.

The former Israeli prime minister and military strategist had been in a coma since 2006 [GALLO/GETTY]
It is easy to forget, with eulogies casting him as the unexpected “peace-maker”, that for most of his long military and political career Ariel Sharon was known simply as The Bulldozer. That is certainly how he will be remembered by Palestinians.His death was announced on Israeli army radio on Saturday. He was 85 years old and had been comatose since 2006.Mikhael Warschawski, a founder of the joint Israeli-Palestinian advocacy group the Alternative Information Centre, describes Sharon as one of only two “political visionaries” in Israel’s history, along with the country’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.

“Yes, he was brutal, but he was more than that,” Warschawski said. “Like Ben Gurion, and unlike modern politicians such as current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he was uninterested in petty party politics. He had a project he would not be distracted from – a view of what Israel is and what it should be.”

That vision was ultimately forged by Sharon’s military and political experiences.

Military philosophy

According to Menachem Klein, a politics professor at Bar Ilan University, near Tel Aviv, Sharon created Israel’s modern “military norms” through his founding of a secretive “retribution squad”, named Unit 101, that operated through the 1950s and 1960s.

In Israel’s early years, Unit 101 carried out reprisals against Palestinian fighters across the armistice lines, in an attempt to deter future enemy raids into Israeli territory. In practice, however, the price was paid as much by civilians as fighters.

Later, as defence minister, Sharon would be the moving force behind the decision to invade Lebanon in 1982, as a bloody way to expel the Palestinians from their strongholds there and destabilise a northern neighbour.

Sharon’s vision was ultimately forged by his military and political experiences [GALLO/GETTY]

Along the way, and in the spirit of Unit 101, his commanders oversaw the horrific massacre of hundreds, and more likely thousands, of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila camps by Israel’s Phalangist allies – an event for which an Israeli inquiry found him “personally responsible”.

Today, Sharon’s military philosophy is reflected in the Israeli army’s Dahiya doctrine – its policy in recent confrontations to send Israel’s neighbours in Gaza and Lebanon “into the dark ages” through massive destruction of their physical infrastructure.

But his military thinking chiefly served political ends.

According to Warschawski, Sharon explicitly refused to accept that the 1948 war that established Israel was over. As a result, he rejected efforts to define the extent of Israel’s territorial ambitions.

Instead, says Warschawski, Sharon upheld a view that “the borders are wherever Israelis plant the last tree, or plough the last furrow”. It was a philosophy of creating change and new realities through bold action; in practice it involved taking as much as land from the Palestinians as possible.

The late Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling famously coined a term for Sharon’s policy: politicide. In this view, Sharon’s goal was to create conditions that “lower Palestinian expectations, crush their resistance, isolate them, make them submit to any arrangement suggested by the Israelis, and eventually cause their ‘voluntary’ mass emigration”.

But Sharon saw this as a long-term process. “He wanted to delay an agreement for at least 50 years,” says Warschawski. “In his view, Israel needed as much time as possible, time to implement his vision.”

‘Father of settlements

As US Secretary of State John Kerry recently headed back to the region to re-energise peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Israeli columnist Chemi Shalev observed that “Sharon’s spirit hovers” over the proceedings:

“Sharon, the ‘father of settlements’ had probably done more than anyone – certainly more than Netanyahu – to erase the 1967 borders, separating Israel and the occupied territories, from the map and to undermine the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

In his early political career, Sharon used various lowly goverment positions to work out his grand vision. In the early 1980s he established exclusive Jewish communities, known as the star points, along the Green Line to erase for Israelis the physical distinction between Israel and the West Bank and bring the settlements “back into Israel”.

Sharon defended Israel’s seperation barrier built on what the international community considers Palestinian land [GALLO/GETTY]

At the same time, inside Israel, he devised ever-more inventive land-grabbing schemes to ensure Israel’s own large Palestinian minority was barredfrom living in most areas of the country. Exclusive Jews-only communities became part of a renewed “Judaisation” programme in the Galilee and Negev, symbolised by the vast private ranch he built for himself in the Negev.

A proposal revealed by Sharon in 2003 to dispossess the Bedouin of their ancestral lands in the Negev was the genesis of the Prawer plan, adopted by Netanyahu – if, for now, temporarily on hold – to force tens of thousands of Bedouin from their homes.

After years of helping to establish settlements in the occupied territories, Sharon vigorously opposed the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993.

Five years later, as the final-status talks neared, he urged young settlers to “run and grab as many hilltops as they can” in an attempt to foil any hope of a Palestinian state being conceded.

His injunction spawned more than 100 so-called “outposts”, whose fanatical inhabitants – known in his honour as the hilltop youth – are today responsible for the campaign of terror, the so-called “price-tag attacks”, that are slowly driving Palestinians out of most of the West Bank, concentrating them into the cities.

Operation Defensive Shield

Later, as prime minister, Sharon more directly reversed Oslo by launching Operation Defensive Shield, a reinvasion of areas that were supposed to have been passed to the control of a Palestinian government-in-waiting, the Palestinian Authority.

He would finally pen the Palestinians into a series of enclaves by approving and starting construction of a 700km steel-and-concrete “separation barrier” across the West Bank.

The wall he began has dramatically expanded in subsequent years to become a series of fortifications – from new wall-building ventures such as the recent bid to separate Israel from Egypt to missile defence systems like Iron Dome – designed to turn Israel into an invulnerable “Jewish fortress”.

Yet, in the months before he fell into a long-term vegetative state in early 2006, many analysts were all too ready to revise their assessments of Sharon. In death, he is again being feted as the military hawk who ended his days a “man of peace”.

Nothing, however, could be further from the truth, according to Klein and Warschawski.

The reason cited for reassessing Sharon’s legacy is his decision to withdraw some 7,000 Jewish settlers, as well as the soldiers protecting them, from the Gaza Strip, in the so-called “disengagement” of 2005.

Sharon finally accepted that the Palestinians could not be made to disappear. He wanted a Greater Israel but understood that he could not expel the Palestinians to achieve it.Mikhael Warschawski, Alternative Information Centre.

This move was widely interpreted as Sharon’s first brave step in a process intended to end the occupation so that a Palestinian state could be born. In reality, however, it represented something equally dramatic but far more cynical.

Warschawski says the disengagement marked a strategic shift in Sharon’s thinking, one still influencing Israel’s approach to the occupied territories.

“Sharon finally accepted that the Palestinians could not be made to disappear. He wanted a Greater Israel but understood that he could not expel the Palestinians to achieve it.”

He also understood, adds Klein, that Israel could not afford to maintain, long term, a direct reoccupation of the West Bank – either in terms of the financial cost or the expected price in soldiers’ lives.

Instead, Sharon devised what Warschawski calls the “Swiss cheese model”. “He treated the region like a big block of Swiss cheese, with Israel as the cheese and the Palestinians as the holes. Any bits he did not care about could belong to the Palestinians. It was about creating cantons, and the largest was Gaza.”

Sharon appreciated, says Klein, that the disengagement was a boon to Israel’s image, looking, as it did to many outsiders, like an end to the occupation of Gaza and a prelude to similar moves in the West Bank.

Instead, the occupation of Gaza continued, but from arm’s length.

‘Sharon’s real enemy’

The reality, adds Klein, was that the disengagement set in motion two achievements that severely harmed Palestinian interests.

First, it helped to undermine Palestinian nationalism – the real enemy for Sharon.

By withdrawing from Gaza, observes Klein, Sharon entrenched its physical separation from the West Bank. Parallel moves, banning the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic movement Hamas from East Jerusalem, would further isolate the Palestinians into three disconnected territories.

Today, Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are increasingly losing a sense of an overarching national project, and are instead developing along different political trajectories.

The physical separation has usefully divided the Palestinian national movement, with the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority nominally in charge of the West Bank, Gaza run by Hamas, and an orphaned East Jerusalem struggling under hostile Israeli rule.

Ariel Sharon’s arch rival, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was replaced by Mahmoud Abbas, who was seen as a weaker leader by observers [EPA]

Second, Sharon was able to focus on the West Bank – the real prize – and his efforts to turn the Palestinian Authority from a government-in-waiting into a “sub-contractor” of the occupation. The key to this was manipulating the succession so that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would be followed by the weak Mahmoud Abbas.

“After he disengaged from Gaza, Sharon preferred that a strong group – Hamas – take control internally to prevent chaos,” says Klein. “But in the West Bank he did not want a strong leader. That was why he was so against Arafat, who he saw as a demon.

“Operation Defensive Shield [in 2002] was about crushing the Palestinan Authority. When he later succeeded in bringing Abbas to power, he knew he would co-operate on security matters, that he would serve as a sub-contractor. In that way, Israel got to control all of the West Bank.”

Warschawski, however, points out that Sharon fell into a coma too early to have forseen many of the events that now overshadow current peace efforts.

“The world has changed since then, as has this region. There has been the decline of US hegemony, and the return of Russia as a regional power. China and India are also waiting in the wings. And then the Arab revolts have to be accounted for. Sharon saw none of that coming.”

Click through for a slideshow of scenes from Sharon’s life.

From miles away, our dear Carlos shares the joy of the news ….

Death of Ariel Sharon

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The War Criminal dies unpunished

Death of Ariel Sharon 2

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The media whitewashes his crimes

Whitewashing Ariel Sharon

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| #ziocolony: Israel’s comatose #bulldozer Ariel Sharon dies aged 85!

Israel’s Ariel Sharon dies at 85 ~ Al Jazeera.

Former Israeli prime minister dies, local media reports, eight years after he went into coma following a stroke.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died, according to local media reports.

He was 85 years old and had been in a coma since 2006 when a stroke incapacitated him at the height of his political power.

Officials at Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, where Sharon was being treated for most of the past eight years, announced a week ago that Sharon’s health had deteriorated sharply and that he was in “grave condition” with his family at his bedside.

Sharon first had a small stroke in December 2005 and was put on blood thinners before experiencing a severe brain hemorrhage on January 4, 2006.

After spending months in the Jerusalem hospital where he was initially treated, Sharon was transferred to the long-term care facility at Tel Hashomer hospital.

He was taken home briefly at one point but returned to the hospital, where he has remained since.

In September, Sharon underwent surgery to insert a new feeding tube.

Sharon was one of Israel’s most iconic and controversial figures. As one of Israel’s most famous generals, he was known for bold tactics and an occasional refusal to obey orders. As a politician he became known as “the bulldozer”, a man contemptuous of his critics while also capable of getting things done.

A prominent hardline voice over the decades, he was elected prime minister in 2001.

In mid-2005, he directed a unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, ending a 38-year military control of the territory.

It was a shocking turnaround for a man who had been a leading player in building Jewish settlements in captured territories.

He later left his hardline Likud Party and established the centrist Kadima Party.

He appeared on his way to an easy re-election when he suffered a stroke in January 2006.

His deputy, Ehud Olmert, took over and was elected prime minister a few months later.

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| Britain’s Guardian newspaper laments Israeli war criminal Ariel Sharon!

Britain’s Guardian newspaper laments Israeli war criminal Ariel Sharon ~ Gilad Atzmon Redress Information & Analysis.

In a uniquely dishonest piece, the Guardian newspaper’s Jonathan Freedland paid a tribute today to Israel’s veteran prime minister, Ariel Sharon.

According to Freedland, Sharon, “as one of Israel’s founders… had the credibility to give up occupied territory – and even to face the demons of 1948”. Freedland speculates also that “Sharon’s final mission might well have been peace”. This is indeed a big statement, but how does Freedland support his creative historical account?

Jonathan Freedland

Jonathan Freedland, Guardian and Jewish Chronicle columnist and BBC presenter

“Sharon’s final act,” says Freedland, “was to dismantle some of the very settlements he had sponsored. In 2005 he ordered Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, seized in the 1967 war in which Sharon had been a crucial, if maverick, commander.”

Aside from the fact that Freedland falls short of reminding his readers about Sharon’s colossal war crimes, he actually completely distorts the political narrative that led Sharon to the 2005 unilateral disengagement from Gaza.

Did Sharon have a plan to reconcile with the Palestinians and to address their plight or their right to return to their land? Not at all. We do not have any evidence of Sharon’s remorse. The logic behind Sharon’s disengagement is simple and on the verge of banal. Sharon knew very well that if Israel insisted on maintaining itself as the “Jewish state”, it would have to rid itself immediately of Arabs. Sharon was becoming aware of the possible implications of the Palestinian “demographic bomb”. The Palestinians were becoming a majority in areas controlled by Israel.

Ridding Israel of the highly populated Gaza Strip was a perfect start. In a single political and territorial move, Sharon freed Israel of 1.5 million Palestinians and liberated Israel of increasingly complex security issues. Sharon was a pragmatic politician, he’s always been one and his disengagement wasn’t at all an attempt to “face the demons of 1948”, as Freedland suggests. It was a Judaeo-centric attempt to maintain the Jewishness of the Jewish state.

Freedland’s biased inclinations continue till the end of today’s piece: “an intriguing habit of Sharon’s was to refer to places in Israel by their original, Arabic names – thereby acknowledging the truth that usually lies buried beneath the soil”. Is this right? Did Sharon really pay tribute to the eradicated Palestinian civilization by uttering some words in Arabic? Not at all. Sharon was born in the British Mandate of Palestine. He was raised in a country scattered with Palestinian villages and cities. Sharon and Israelis of his generation tended to pepper their Hebrew with a few Arabic words because such an act filled their existence with an authentic sense of belonging and a bond to an imaginary soil. I hope in that context the laughable Freedland doesn’t also think when Israelis eat falafel they try to express empathy towards six million Palestinian refugees. After all, falafel also belongs to Palestine.

Freedland probably waited for Ariel Sharon to die in order to spread his preposterous reading of history, just to make sure that the “immortal Sharon” would not bounce back and dismiss this gross interpretation as complete nonsense.

The only remaining question is why the Guardian, once a respected paper, is publishing such low quality hasbara drivel? Is it really the Guardian of the truth or has it become the Guardian of Zion?

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| Comatose war criminal Ariel Sharon vegetates further!

Ariel Sharon’s ‘life in danger’ as condition deteriorates – doctor ~  in Jerusalem and agencies, theguardian.com.

Former Israeli PM – who has been in a coma since 2006 – in critical condition as vital organs suffer ‘critical malfunction.’

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for eight years, was in critical condition on Thursday, clinging to life after a decline in the functioning of various bodily organs, his doctors said.

Dr Zeev Rotstein, director of Tel Hashomer hospital, said Sharon’s condition had deteriorated over the past two days and that a number of vital organs, including his kidneys, were suffering from “critical malfunction”.

“He is in critical condition and his life is definitely in danger,” Rotstein told reporters. “The feeling of the doctors treating him and also that of the family with him is that there is a turn for the worse.”

He said Sharon’s family is at his bedside.

Sharon, 85, suffered a devastating stroke on 4 January 2006, five years after being elected prime minister. He spent months in hospital in Jerusalem before being transferred to a long-term care facility at Sheba medical centre near Tel Aviv.

Last January, doctors said the former prime minister had exhibited “robust activity” in his brain during tests. Scans showed Sharon responding to pictures of his family and recordings of his son’s voice. However, doctors said the chances of him regaining consciousness were almost zero.

Four months ago, Sharon underwent surgery to insert a new feeding tube, through which he receives fluids.

A former military general, Sharon was a hardline rightwinger in political office. But in 2005 he ordered the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, a move many considered a dramatic change in his political strategy. Within weeks of his stroke, Hamas won Palestinian elections.

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| Zionist chicken-sh*ts: Israel’s “self-boycott!”

Israel’s “self-boycott” ~ Uri Avnery, Redress Information & Analysis.

Can a country boycott itself? That may sound like a silly question. It is not.

At the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the “Giant of History”, as Barack Obama called him, Israel was not represented by any of its leaders.

The only dignitary who agreed to go was the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein… an immigrant from the Soviet Union and a settler, who is so anonymous that most Israelis would not recognize him. (“His own father would have trouble recognizing him in the street,” somebody joked.)

“An undignified show of personal cowardice”

Why? The president of the state, Shimon Peres, caught a malady that prevented him from going, but which did not prevent him from making a speech and receiving visitors on the same day. Well, there are all kinds of mysterious microbes.

The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had an even stranger reason. The journey, he claimed, was too expensive, what with all the accompanying security people and so on.

Not so long ago, Netanyahu caused a scandal when it transpired that for his journey to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, a five hour flight, he had a special double bed installed in the El Al plane at great expense. He and his much maligned wife, Sara’le, did not want to provoke another scandal so soon. Who’s Mandela, after all?

Altogether, it was an undignified show of personal cowardice by both Peres and Netanyahu.

 

…Israel sold Mandela’s jailers everything it could, from combat aircraft to military electronics, and shared with it its nuclear knowledge. Peres himself was deeply involved.

 

What were they afraid of?

Well, they could have been booed. Recently, many details of the Israeli-South African relationship have come to light. Apartheid South Africa, which was boycotted by the entire world, was the main customer of the Israeli military industry. It was a perfect match: Israel had a lot of weapon systems but no money to produce them, South Africa had lots of money but no one who would supply it with weapons.

So, Israel sold Mandela’s jailers everything it could, from combat aircraft to military electronics, and shared with it its nuclear knowledge. Peres himself was deeply involved.

The relationship was not merely commercial. Israeli officers and officials met with their South African counterparts, visits were exchanged, personal friendship fostered. While Israel never endorsed apartheid, our government certainly did not reject it.

Still, our leaders should have been there, together with the leaders of the whole world. Mandela was the Great Forgiver, and he forgave Israel, too. When the master of ceremonies in the stadium mistakenly announced that Peres and Netanyahu had arrived, just a few boos were heard. Far less than the boos for the current South African president.

In Israel, only one voice was openly raised against Mandela. Shlomo Avineri, a respected professor and former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, criticized him for having a “blind spot” – for taking the Palestinian side against Israel. He also mentioned that another moral authority, Mahatma Gandhi, had the same “blind spot”.

Strange. Two moral giants and the same blind spot? How could that be, one wonders.

 

By its voluntary no-representation or under-representation at the Mandela ceremony, it [the Israeli government] has declared that Israel is a pariah state.

 

The boycott movement against Israel is slowly gaining ground. It takes three main forms (and several in between).

The most focused form is the boycott of the products of the settlements, which was started by Gush Shalom 15 years ago. It is active now in many countries.

A more stringent form is the boycott of all institutes and corporations that are dealing with the settlements. This is now the official policy of the European Union. Just this week, Holland broke off relations with the monopolistic Israeli Water Corporation, Mekorot, which plays a part in the policy that deprives Palestinians of essential water supplies and transfers them to the settlements.

The third form is total: the boycott of everything and everyone Israeli (Including myself). This is also slowly advancing in many countries.

The Israeli government has now joined this form. By its voluntary no-representation or under-representation at the Mandela ceremony, it has declared that Israel is a pariah state. Strange.

Fake security excuses

Last week I wrote that if the Americans find a solution to Israel’s security concerns in the West Bank, other concerns would take their place. I did not expect that it would happen so quickly.

Binyamin Netanyahu declared this week that stationing Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley, as proposed by John Kerry, is not enough. Not by far.

Israel cannot give up the West Bank as long as Iran has nuclear capabilities, he declared. What’s the connection, one might well ask. Well, it’s obvious. A strong Iran will foster terrorism and threaten Israel in many other ways. So Israel must remain strong, and that includes holding on to the West Bank. Stands to reason.

So if Iran gives up all its nuclear capabilities, will that be enough? Not by a long shot. Iran must completely change its “genocidal” policies vis-à-vis Israel, it must stop all threats and utterances against us, it must adopt a friendly attitude towards us. However, Netanyahu did stop short of demanding that the Iranian leaders join the World Zionist Organization.

Before this happens, Israel cannot possibly make peace with the Palestinians. Sorry, Mister Kerry.

In the last article I also ridiculed the Allon Plan and other pretexts advanced by our rightists for holding on to the rich agricultural land of the Jordan Valley.

A friend of mine countered that indeed all the old reasons have become obsolete. The terrible danger of the combined might of Iraq, Syria and Jordan attacking us from the east does not exist anymore. But –

But the valley guardians are now advancing a new danger. If Israel gives back the West Bank without holding on to the Jordan Valley and the border crossings on the river, other terrible things will happen.

The day after the Palestinians take possession of the river crossing, missiles will be smuggled in. Missiles will rain down on Ben-Gurion international airport, the gateway to Israel, located just a few kilometers from the border. Tel Aviv, 25 km from the border, will be threatened, as will the Dimona nuclear installation.

Haven’t we seen this all before? When Israel voluntarily evacuated the whole Gaza Strip, didn’t the rockets start to rain down on the South of Israel?

We cannot possibly rely on the Palestinians. They hate us and will continue to fight us. If Mahmoud Abbas tries to stop it, he will be toppled. Hamas or worse, al-Qaeda, will come to power and unleash a terrorist campaign. Life in Israel will turn into hell.

Therefore it is evident that Israel must control the border between the Palestinian state and the Arab world, and especially the border crossings. As Netanyahu says over and over again, Israel cannot and will not entrust its security to others. Especially not to the Palestinians.

Fake anology

Well, first of all the Gaza Strip analogy does not hold. Ariel Sharon evacuated the Gaza settlements without any agreement or even consultation with the Palestinian Authority, which was still ruling the Strip at that time. Instead of an orderly transfer to the Palestinian security forces, he left behind a power vacuum which was later filled by Hamas.

Sharon also upheld the land and sea blockade that turned the Strip practically into a huge open-air prison.

In the West Bank there exists now a strong Palestinian government and robust security forces, trained by the Americans. A peace agreement will strengthen them immensely.

Abbas does not object to a foreign military presence throughout the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. On the contrary, he asks for it. He has proposed an international force, under American command. He just objects to the presence of the Israeli army – a situation that would amount to another kind of occupation.

The peace hangup

But the main point is something else, something that goes right to the root of the conflict.

Netanyahu’s arguments presuppose that there will be no peace, not now, not ever. The putative peace agreement – which Israelis call the “permanent status agreement” – will just open another phase of the generations-old war.

This is the main obstacle. Israelis – almost all Israelis – cannot imagine a situation of peace. Neither they, nor their parents and grandparents, have ever experienced a day of peace in this country. Peace is something like the coming of the Messiah, something that has to be wished for, prayed for, but is never really expected to happen.

But peace does not mean, to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, the continuation of war by other means. It does not mean a truce or even an armistice.

Peace means living side by side. Peace means reconciliation, a genuine willingness to understand the other side, the readiness to get over old grievances, the slow growth of a new relationship, economic, social, personal.

To endure, peace must satisfy all parties. It requires a situation which all sides can live with, because it fulfills their basic aspirations.

Is this possible? Knowing the other side as well as most, I answer with utmost assurance: Yes, indeed. But it is not an automatic process. One has to work for it, invest in it, wage peace as one wages war.

Nelson Mandela did. That’s why the entire world attended his funeral. That’s, perhaps, why our leaders chose to be absent.

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| Pirate Israel’s gains from the death of Arafat cannot be ignored!

Israel’s gains from the death of Arafat cannot be ignored ~

Jonathan CookThe National, Abu Dhabi.

It seems there are still plenty of parties who would prefer that the death of the long-time Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat continues to be treated as a mystery rather than as an assassination.

It is hard, however, to avoid drawing the logical conclusion from the finding last week by Swiss scientists that the Palestinian leader’s body contained high levels of a radioactive isotope, polonium-210. An inconclusive and much more limited study by a Russian team published shortly immediately after the Swiss announcement also suggests Arafat died from poisoning.

It is time to state the obvious: Arafat was killed. And suspicion falls squarely on Israel.

Israel alone had the means, track record, stated intention and motive. Without Israel’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, it may be impossible to secure a conviction in a court of law, but there should be evidence enough to convict Israel in the court of world opinion.

Israel had access to polonium from its nuclear reactor in Dimona, and has a long record of carrying out political assassinations, some ostentatious and others covert, often using hard-to-trace chemical agents. There is also plenty of evidence that Israel wanted Arafat “removed”. In January 2002, Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s military chief of staff, was caught on a microphone whispering to Israel’s then prime minister, Ariel Sharon, about Arafat: “We have to get rid of him.”

With the Palestinian leader holed up for more than two years in his battered compound in Ramallah, surrounded by Israeli tanks, the debate in the Israel government centred on whether he should be exiled or killed.

In September 2003, the cabinet even issued a warning that Israel would “remove this obstacle in a manner, and at a time, of its choosing”. The then-deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, clarified that killing Arafat was “one of the options”.

What stayed Israel’s hand – and fuelled its equivocal tone – was Washington’s adamant opposition. After these threats, Colin Powell, the US former secretary of state, warned that a move against Arafat would trigger “rage throughout the Arab world”.

By April 2004, however, Mr Sharon declared he was no longer obligated by his earlier commitment to George Bush not to “harm Arafat physically”. “I am released from that pledge,” he said. The White House too indicated a weakening of its stance: an unnamed spokesman responded feebly that the US “opposed any such action”.

So what about motive? How did Israel gain from “removing” Arafat? To understand Israel’s thinking, one needs to return to another debate raging at that time, among Palestinians.

The Palestinian leadership was split into two camps, centred on Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, then Arafat’s heir apparent. The pair had starkly divergent strategies for dealing with Israel.

In Arafat’s view, Israel had reneged on commitments it made in the Oslo accords. He was therefore loath to invest exclusively in the peace process. He wanted a twin strategy: keeping open channels for talks while maintaining the option of armed resistance to pressure Israel. For this reason, he kept a tight personal grip on the Palestinian security forces.

Mr Abbas, on the other hand, believed that armed resistance was a gift to Israel, delegitimising the Palestinian struggle. He wanted to focus exclusively on negotiations and state-building, hoping to exert indirect pressure on Israel by proving to the international community that the Palestinians could be trusted with statehood. His priority was cooperating closely with the US and Israel in security matters.

Israel and the US strongly preferred Mr Abbas’s approach, even forcing Arafat for a time to reduce his own influence by appointing Mr Abbas to a newly created post of prime minister.

Israel’s primary concern was that, however much of a prisoner they made Arafat, he would remain a unifying figure for Palestinians. By refusing to renounce armed struggle, Arafat managed to contain – if only just – the mounting tensions between his own Fatah movement and its chief rival, Hamas.

With Arafat gone, and the conciliatory Mr Abbas installed in his place, those tensions erupted violently into the open – as Israel surely knew they would. That culminated in a split that tore apart the Palestinian national movement and led to a territorial schism between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza.

In Israel’s oft-used terminology, Arafat was the head of the “infrastructure of terror”. But Israel’s preference for Mr Abbas derived not from respect for him or from a belief that he could persuade Palestinians to accept a peace deal. Mr Sharon famously declared that Mr Abbas was no more impressive than a “plucked chicken”.

Israel’s interests in killing Arafat were evident after his death. Not only did the Palestinian national movement collapse, but the Palestinian leadership got drawn back into a series of futile peace talks, leaving Israel clear to concentrate on land grabs and settlement building. Contemplating the matter of whether Israel benefited from the loss of Arafat, Palestinian analyst Mouin Rabbani observed: “Hasn’t Abu Mazen’s [Abbas] exemplary commitment to Oslo over the years, and maintenance of security cooperation with Israel through thick and thin, already settled this question?”

Mr Abbas’ strategy may be facing its ultimate test now, as the Palestinian negotiating team once again tries to coax out of Israel the barest concessions on statehood at the risk of being blamed for the talks’ inevitable failure. The effort already looks deeply misguided.

While the negotiations have secured for the Palestinians only a handful of ageing political prisoners, Israel has so far announced in return a massive expansion of the settlements and the threatened eviction of some 15,000 Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

It is doubtless a trade-off Arafat would have rued.

Jonathan Cook is an independent journalist based in Nazareth

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| Ziocolony Israel’s History of Assassinating Palestinian Leaders!

Israel’s History of Assassinating Palestinian Leaders ~ Institute for Middle East Understanding [IMEU].

On November 6, several news outlets reported that the widow of former Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat announced that the results of a Swiss investigation into her late husband’s death concluded he was poisoned with polonium, a radioactive substance.

In November 2012, Arafat’s body was exhumed in order for medical examiners to take samples of his remains to test for polonium, part of a murder investigation launched by French authorities at the request of Suha Arafat following the discovery last summer of traces of the highly toxic substance on some of his personal effects. In October 2004, after enduring a two-year siege by the Israeli military in his West Bank headquarters, Arafat fell seriously ill. Two weeks later he was transported to a French military hospital where he died. Doctors concluded he died from a stroke caused by a mysterious blood disorder.

At the time, many Palestinians suspected that Arafat was murdered. Over the years, he had survived numerous assassination attempts by Israel, and just six months before his death then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that an agreement he had made with US President George W. Bush promising that Israel wouldn’t kill Arafat was no longer valid, stating: “I released myself from the commitment in regard to Arafat.”

Two years prior to that statement, in an interview published in February 2002, Sharon told an Israeli journalist that he regretted not killing Arafat when he had the chance during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, stating: “I am sorry that we did not liquidate him.” In 2002, current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then in the opposition following his first term as prime minister (1996-1999), told the Likud party Central Committee: “We must completely and totally eradicate Arafat’s regime and remove him from the vicinity… This one thing must be understood: If we do not remove Arafat and his regime, the terror will return and increase. And only if we do remove them is there any chance of turning a new leaf in our relationship with the Palestinians.” When Arafat died, Netanyahu was serving as Minister of Finance in Sharon’s government.

PARTIAL LIST OF ISRAELI ASSASSINATIONS OF PALESTINIANS

2012 – On November 14, two days after Palestinian factions in Gaza agree to a truce following several days of violence, Israel assassinates the leader of Hamas’ military wing, Ahmed Jabari, threatening to escalate the violence once again after a week in which at least six Palestinian civilians are killed and dozens more wounded in Israeli attacks. Although Israeli officials know that Jabari is in the process of finalizing a long-term truce, and that he is one of the few people in Gaza who can enforce it, they kill him anyway, marking the start of a week-long assault on Gaza that kills more than 100 Palestinian civilians, including at least 33 children, and wounds more than 1000 others.

2012 – On March 9, Israel violates an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and assassinates the head of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhair al-Qaisi, sparking another round of violence in which at least two dozen Palestinians are killed, including at least four civilians, and scores more wounded. As it usually does, Israel claims it is acting in self-defense, against an imminent attack being planned by the PRC, while providing no evidence to substantiate the allegation.

Following the assassination, Israeli journalist Zvi Bar’el writes in the Haaretz newspaper:

“It is hard to understand what basis there is for the assertion that Israel is not striving to escalate the situation. One could assume that an armed response by the Popular Resistance Committees or Islamic Jihad to Israel’s targeted assassination was taken into account. But did anyone weigh the possibility that the violent reaction could lead to a greater number of Israeli casualties than any terrorist attack that Zuhair al-Qaisi, the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, could have carried out?

“In the absence of a clear answer to that question, one may assume that those who decided to assassinate al-Qaisi once again relied on the ‘measured response’ strategy, in which an Israeli strike draws a reaction, which draws an Israeli counter-reaction.”

2010 – In January, suspected Israeli assassins kill senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room. As in the past, the Israeli agents believed to have carried out the killing use forged and stolen foreign passports from western countries, including Britain, France, Ireland and Germany, causing an international uproar.

2009 – On January 15, an Israeli airstrike kills Said Seyam, Hamas’ Interior Minister and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

2009 – On January 1, an Israeli airstrike on the home of senior Hamas military commander Nizar Rayan kills him and 15 family members, including 11 of his children.

2006 – On June 8, Israel assassinates Jamal Abu Samhadana, founder of the Popular Resistance Committees and Interior Minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government, killing three other members of the PRC in the process.

2004 – On April 17, Israel assassinates Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a co-founder of Hamas and its leader since the assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin a month earlier. Rantisi is considered a moderate within Hamas.

2004 – On March 22, Israel assassinates the 67-year-old wheelchair-bound spiritual leader and co-founder of Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, as he leaves prayers at a mosque in Gaza, killing nine innocent bystanders in the process.

2003 – On March 8, Israel assassinates Ibrahim Maqadma, one of the founders of Hamas and one of its top military commanders.

2002 – On July 23, hours before a widely reported ceasefire declared by Hamas and other Palestinian groups is scheduled to come into effect, Israel bombs an apartment building in the middle of the night in the densely populated Gaza Strip in order to assassinate Hamas leader Salah Shehada. Fourteen civilians, including nine children, are also killed in the attack, and 50 others wounded, leading to a scuttling of the ceasefire and a continuation of violence.

2002 – On January 14, Israel assassinates Raed Karmi, a militant leader in the Fatah party, following a ceasefire agreed to by all Palestinian militant groups the previous month, leading to its cancellation. Later in January, the first suicide bombing by the Fatah linked Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade takes place.

2001 – On November 23, Israel assassinates senior Hamas militant, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud. At the time, Hamas was adhering to an agreement made with PLO head Yasser Arafat not to attack targets inside of Israel. Following the killing, Israeli military correspondent of the right-leaning Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Alex Fishman, writes in a front-page story:

“We again find ourselves preparing with dread for a new mass terrorist attack within the Green Line [Israel’s pre-1967 border]… Whoever gave a green light to this act of liquidation knew full well that he is thereby shattering in one blow the gentleman’s agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; under that agreement, Hamas was to avoid in the near future suicide bombings inside the Green Line…”

2001 – On August 27, Israel uses US-made Apache helicopter gunships to assassinate Abu Ali Mustafa, secretary general of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In response, PFLP members assassinate Israel’s Tourism Minister and notorious right-wing hardliner, Rehavam Ze’evi, who advocated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza.

2001 – On August 15, undercover Israeli soldiers assassinate Emad Abu Sneineh, a member of the Fatah linked Tanzim militia, opening fire on him at close range.

2001 – On August 5, Israeli forces assassinate Hamas member Amer Mansour Habiri in the West Bank city of Tulkarem, firing missiles at his car from helicopter gunships.

2001– On July 29, Israel assassinates Jamal Mansour, a senior member of Hamas’ political wing.

2001 – On July 25, as Israeli and Palestinian Authority security officials are scheduled to meet to shore up a six-week-old ceasefire amidst the violence of the Second Intifada, Israel assassinates a senior Islamic Jihad member, Salah Darwazeh in Nablus.

1997 – In September, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempts to assassinate Khaled Meshaal, the chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, in Amman, Jordan. Israeli agents using fake Canadian passports attempt to kill Meshaal by injecting poison into his ear. The would-be assassins are quickly captured and in the ensuing diplomatic uproar Jordan’s King Hussein threatens to cut off relations with Israel and publicly try and hang the Israeli agents unless Israel provides the antidote to the poison. The Netanyahu government turns over the antidote, saving Meshaal’s life. As part of the deal, Israel also releases Hamas spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin from prison.

1996 – On January 5, Israel assassinates Hamas military commander Yahya Ayash, known as “The Engineer,” detonating explosives in a cell phone he is using. Over the next two months, Hamas responds by launching four suicide bombings that kill more than 50 Israelis. Israeli intelligence later concludes: “the attacks were most probably a direct reaction to the assassination of Ayash.”

1995 – In October, Israeli gunmen assassinate Fathi Shiqaqi, a founder of Islamic Jihad, in Malta, as he leaves his hotel in Valletta.

1994 – On November 2, Israel assassinates journalist Hani Abed, who has ties to Islamic Jihad, using a bomb rigged to his car.

1988 – On April 16, Israel assassinates senior PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir in Tunisia, even as the Reagan administration is trying to organize an international conference to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The US State Department condemns the murder as an “act of political assassination.” In ensuing protests in the occupied territories, a further seven Palestinians are gunned down by Israeli forces.

1986 – On June 9, Khalid Nazzal, Secretary of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is shot dead by Israeli agents in Athens, Greece.

1983 – On August 21, senior PLO official and top aid to Yasser Arafat, Mamoun Meraish, is shot and killed by Israeli agents in Athens, Greece. According to later Israeli press reports, future Foreign Minister (currently Minister of Justice) Tzipi Livni  is involved in Meraish’s killing.

1978 – On March 28, Wadie Haddad, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, dies in East Germany from slow-acting poison ingested several months earlier. It is later revealed that Israeli agents were behind his murder.

1972 – On July 8, Palestinian author and intellectual Ghassan Kanafani and his 17-year-old niece are killed in Beirut by a car bomb, believed to have been planted by Israeli agents. A member of the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Kanafani was considered a major literary figure in the Arab world and beyond.

1972 – During the 1970s, Israel carries out a series of assassinations against Palestinians they accuse of being involved with the Black September militant organization, which is responsible for the hostage taking of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, resulting in the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes and officials. On October 16, 1972, Wael Zwaiter, a renowned Palestinian intellectual and the PLO representative to Italy, is shot and killed by Israeli agents in Rome. Israel accuses him of being involved with Black September, a charge strenuously denied by PLO officials and those who knew him, who pointed out that Zwaiter was a pacifist.

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| Israelis impose severe restrictions on Muslims entering Al-Aqsa Mosque!

Israelis impose severe restrictions on Muslims entering Al-Aqsa Mosque ~ MEMO.

Israeli Soldiers blockading Mosque gate

Israeli authorities have imposed severe restrictions on Muslim worshippers who want to perform their obligatory Friday prayer in the Noble Sanctuary.

After more than a week of enabling Jewish settlers to enter and desecrate Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Israeli authorities have imposed severe restrictions on Muslim worshippers who want to perform their obligatory Friday prayer in the Noble Sanctuary. According to Israeli media reports, the police are only allowing Palestinian men over 50 years old and carrying Israel identity documents to enter mosque along with women and children.

 

The reason given by the police is that they have “intelligence” which suggests that there are plans for a “riot” within the mosque. Eyewitnesses confirmed that there is a heavy police presence in and around Al-Aqsa.

These measures come after more than a week of disruption in the Noble Sanctuary by illegal Jewish settlers, backed by Israeli police, who have entered the mosque several times to perform Talmudic rituals therein. In response, a new Palestinian youth coalition has been formed which has called on all Palestinians to take part in popular activities in support of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem.

The coalition issued a statement expressing rage and anger over the continuous Israeli aggressions against Islam’s third holiest site. It criticised the Arab and Muslim states who allow this to happen. The actions of the Jewish extremists, claimed the coalition, are sanctioned by the Israeli authorities.

The youth group has called for a “popular revolution” to protect the mosque, to begin on September 29 which is the 13th anniversary of the start of Al-Aqsa Intifada. The uprising was sparked-off by the provocative visit of ex-prime minister Ariel Sharon to the Noble Sanctuary in 2000 supported by thousands or armed police officers.

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| REMEMBER Sabra & Shatila ~ Roots of Blood!

| REMEMBER Sabra & Shatila ~ Roots of Blood!

Sabra and Shatila are two Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon where nearly two thousand Palestinian refugees were massacred during three days from September 16 to September 18, 1982. The massacre was carried out by hundreds of Christian Lebanese Phalangists with the aid of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) surrounding the camp.

This was only possible because of the tacit approval and complicity of Israeli Defence Minister, butcher Ariel Sharon and his gang of zionist war criminals.
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“Thou shalt not be a Victim.
Thou shalt not be a Perpetrator.
Above all, thou shalt not be a Bystander” ~ Yahuda Bauer,
Inscription at the Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC

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“Remember the solidarity shown to Palestine here and everywhere … and remember also that there is a cause to which many people have committed themselves, difficulties and terrible obstacles notwithstanding.

Why?

Because it is a just cause, a noble ideal, a moral quest for equality and human rights.” ~ Edward Said

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*FURTHER READING:

| Sabra and Shatila Refugee Camps 1982 Massacre
| The Legacy of Ariel Sharon, by Robert FiskThe Independent, February 6, 2001
| The Massacre at the Sabra and Shatila Camps: 

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