Ariel Sharon and America’s duplicity on human rights abuse


THE death of Ariel Sharon has once again seen the West’s duplicity when it comes to dealing with their allies and their undemocratic activities and human rights abuses.
A rundown of the condolence messages by ‘our betters’ is very much telling and in case plays right into George Orwell’s assertions that; all animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
David Cameron paid tribute to Ariel Sharon hailing him as an ‘important’ figure who had taken ‘brave decisions’ to achieve peace.
“Ariel Sharon is one of the most significant figures in Israel history and as a Prime Minister he took brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace before he was tragically incapacitated.
“Israel has today lost an important leader.”
Barack Obama and his wife Michelle of course, had to use the occasion to again reaffirm their support to continue helping Israel.
In their condolence message the Obamas said Israel had lost a leader who had dedicated his life to the State of Israel.
“We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples.”
Bill and Hillary Clinton praised Sharon as a leader who gave his life to Israel. “Ariel Sharon gave his life to Israel – to bring it into being, to sustain and preserve it, and at the end of his long service to create a new political party committed to both peace and lasting security.”
John Kerry, the American Secretary of State said Sharon surprised many in his pursuit of peace.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon praised Sharon’s ‘political courage and determination’.
He said: “Ariel Sharon was a hero to his people, first as a soldier and then as a statesman.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she was mourning with the Israeli people.
Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, said Canada valued its long standing relationship with Israel and mourned the death of Sharon, ‘a renowned military leader’.
French President, Francis Hollande lauded Sharon as a man of peace saying after a long military and political career, “he made the choice to turn towards dialogue with Palestinians”.
I am yet to see a single Palestinian quoted in the media saying two kind words about Ariel Sharon
It is quite telling that even our media has sought to white-wash Ariel Sharon’s past, with some calling him a ‘controversial’ figure.
How does one move from calling a man who committed war crimes exactly what he is ‘a war criminal’ to controversial?
I guess the use of the same formula they have been using to call nationalists like Robert Mugabe, ‘terrorists’.
In all this praising, a fundamental question has to be asked.
What is Ariel Sharon’s real legacy?
While the eulogies have focused on his decision to pull Israeli settlers out of Gaza in 2005, his dark past cannot be wished away.
In an article published by CNN and written by Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa director, Sarah Leah Whiston that dark past is remembered.
One socialist commentator indicated that: “Sharon rose to become prime minister because his entire military and political career was devoted to pursuing the Zionist aim of a greater Israel at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population.”
Sharon’s first achieved notoriety when in 1953 he invaded Jordan and blew up at least 45 homes in the West Bank village of Qibya, then under Jordanian rule. His unit, Unit 101 killed 69 people, half of them women and children.
That same year Sharon’s unit attacked and killed 50 refugees in the El-Bureig refugee camp, south of Gaza, then under Egyptian rule.
While the Jordanian operation provoked an international outcry, within Israel it made Sharon a hero and the work of his Unit 101 was expanded.
He led other vicious attacks in Jordan, Gaza and Syria.
As far back as 1970 Ariel Sharon planned and helped establish West Bank settlements.
In fact he was nicknamed ‘the father of the settlements’.
It really mattered little to the Western world that Sharon’s establishment of these settlements was a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and a potential war crime.
The settlement regime and Israel’s military rule subjected Palestinians to severe discrimination and mountains of restrictions that continue to make their lives miserable.
Part of Sharon’s settlement plan included the construction of the separation barrier, which today stands as a monument to human rights abuses.
It was under Sharon’s government that the construction of the barrier was approved in 2002.
No one seems to be mentioning Sharon’s role in the massacre of civilians by Lebanese militias in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982.
Sharon as the Israeli Minister of Defence in 1982 had overall responsibility for the Israel Defence Forces which controlled the area of the camps.
The massacres constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In 2001, survivors from Sabra and Shatila brought a case in Belgium requesting Sharon be prosecuted under Belgium’s ‘universal jurisdiction’ law.
Political pressure from America and Israel led Belgium’s Parliament to amend the law in April 2003 and later to repeal it in August.
Belgium’s highest court dropped the case against Sharon that September.
Why has Sharon received international honours when many other leaders guilty of similar violations of international law have been shunned or even indicted at the International Criminal Court (ICC)?
President Obama specifically avoided visiting Kenya on his trip to Africa because President Uhuru Kenyatta has been indicted at the ICC.
Syria, for instance, is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, and if America has her way its President, Bashar al-Assad will most certainly have his day in court.


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