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Arik is gone

George Emile Irani is Associate Professor in International Relations at the American University of Kuwait.                            — Editor

By George Emile Irani

AFTER eight years in coma, Israel’s former prime minister and general died. Ariel Sharon known also by his nickname “Arik”, the “warrior” (as he defined himself in his autobiography) or the “Butcher of Beirut” for the Palestinians, leaves behind him a bitter legacy. Sharon belongs to the Revisionist branch of Zionism which believes in the Greater Land of Israel which includes the West Bank of the Jordan River and Jerusalem. Inspired and guided by Vladimir Jabotinski’s ideas the revisionists included famous Israeli politicians such as Menachem Begin, Yithak Shamir, Ariel Sharon and the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu.

Theirs is a vision of the Arabs and Palestinians that is very similar to the former champions of the apartheid white supremacist regime in South Africa. According to this group the only language Arabs understand is the language of brute force and repression. Ariel Sharon was known for his military prowess but foremostly he will be remembered as the engineer and main strategist for the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon known also as Operation Peace for Galilee (Shalom Le Galil).

“Arik” had a three-pronged strategy to bring back Lebanon under Israeli influence. First, his aim was to destroy Arafat and the PLO’s presence in Lebanon. He succeeded in forcing the Palestinian leader and his ragtag army to leave Lebanon and head out to Tunisia. Sharon’s second objective was to weaken and chase Syrian troops who had entered Lebanon with Israeli consent in 1976. Sharon was not too successful with this aim as the Assad’s occupying forces stayed in Lebanon till 2004. The third objective was to bring his Maronite Christian ally Bashir Gemayel as president of Lebanon. This was an old Zionist dream to find an officer or aMaronite Christian politician in Lebanon ready to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state. Sharon’s gambit failed dismally as Bashir Gemayel was blown up and killed in his offices in Beirut.

At a later stage, Lebanon was bound to haunt Ariel Sharon when he was accused of being indirectly responsible for the massacres in the two Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila (16-18 September 1982). On June 18 2001 relatives of the victims of the Sabra and Shatila massacres filed a lawsuit in a Belgian court. The Belgian parliament had approved a universal jurisdiction law under which the survivors filed their complaint. But unfortunately and behind US and Israeli pressures the case against Ariel Sharon was closed. Five centuries ago Thucydides the famous Greek historian wrote “the standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel... the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.”

By: George Emile Irani

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