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is the twice democratically elected leader of Israel. Sharon has shown a commitment to his nation’s
security and contributed to its defense during a long, distinguished
military career. He has also served in a number of capacities in government. Because of this commitment to Israel’s survival,
Sharon may be uniquely positioned to achieve a peace
agreement because he can negotiate the difficult and risky compromises
Israel will ultimately have to make, and the vast majority of Israelis
will be confident that he has protected their security. Caricatured in the press as “right-wing”
and a “hardliner,” Sharon has always been committed to peace
with Israel’s neighbors, but his views on how this can be achieved
have changed. Today, he is prepared to negotiate an agreement with the
Palestinians that would result in the creation of a Palestinian state.
He has taken this position in defiance of his own party. There is a historical precedent for Sharon choosing
a difficult sacrifice in the interests of peace. During the Camp
David negotiations, the signing of the Israel-Egypt
peace treaty came down to Egypt’s demand that Israel dismantle
its settlements in the Sinai and Prime Minister Begin
was reluctant to make such a sacrifice. He called Sharon for advice
and Sharon told Begin peace with Egypt was worth the sacrifice. After Israel agreed to dismantle the Sinai settlements,
one of the largest communities resisted the withdrawal order and it
was Ariel Sharon who literally dragged roughly 3,000 Jews from the town
of Yamit in 1982. Sharon has taken similarly tough measures against settlers
building unauthorized outposts in the West
Bank. Since agreeing to the road
map for peace, he has begun to dismantle the outposts, and Israeli
soldiers have been required in some instances to forcibly remove those
who resisted orders to leave. The Israeli government under Sharon has shown its commitment
to the road map in word and deed. Already, in the first few weeks after
accepting its terms, Israel has begun to fulfill its first phase commitments,
including withdrawing from areas in the territories where the Palestinians
have exerted authority. While Sharon does not foreswear Israel’s legitimate
claims to the disputed territories, he has made clear that he believes
Israel should not control the lives of the Palestinian people in the
West Bank and Gaza
Strip, and that Israel should withdraw to secure and defensible
borders in exchange for real peace with the Palestinians. Some people question Sharon’s sincerity about
peace. The only way to get an answer is to test him. No Israeli Prime
Minister would make concessions so long as terrorism
continues. If the terror stops, and Mahmoud
Abbas shows the same courage to make peace that Anwar
Sadat and King Hussein
displayed, then Sharon will be expected to negotiate an end to the conflict
based on a two-state solution. Sharon has made clear his willingness
to make the tough compromises for peace and the Israeli public will
demand no less.
Fact Sheets: Ariel Sharon
(July 24, 2003)
Ariel Sharon is the twice democratically elected leader of Israel.
Sharon has shown a commitment to his nation’s security and contributed to its defense during a long, distinguished military career. He has also served in a number of capacities in government.
Because of this commitment to Israel’s survival, Sharon may be uniquely positioned to achieve a peace agreement because he can negotiate the difficult and risky compromises Israel will ultimately have to make, and the vast majority of Israelis will be confident that he has protected their security.
Caricatured in the press as “right-wing” and a “hardliner,” Sharon has always been committed to peace with Israel’s neighbors, but his views on how this can be achieved have changed. Today, he is prepared to negotiate an agreement with the Palestinians that would result in the creation of a Palestinian state. He has taken this position in defiance of his own party.
There is a historical precedent for Sharon choosing a difficult sacrifice in the interests of peace. During the Camp David negotiations, the signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty came down to Egypt’s demand that Israel dismantle its settlements in the Sinai and Prime Minister Begin was reluctant to make such a sacrifice. He called Sharon for advice and Sharon told Begin peace with Egypt was worth the sacrifice.
After Israel agreed to dismantle the Sinai settlements, one of the largest communities resisted the withdrawal order and it was Ariel Sharon who literally dragged roughly 3,000 Jews from the town of Yamit in 1982.
Sharon has taken similarly tough measures against settlers building unauthorized outposts in the West Bank. Since agreeing to the road map for peace, he has begun to dismantle the outposts, and Israeli soldiers have been required in some instances to forcibly remove those who resisted orders to leave.
The Israeli government under Sharon has shown its commitment to the road map in word and deed. Already, in the first few weeks after accepting its terms, Israel has begun to fulfill its first phase commitments, including withdrawing from areas in the territories where the Palestinians have exerted authority.
While Sharon does not foreswear Israel’s legitimate claims to the disputed territories, he has made clear that he believes Israel should not control the lives of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and that Israel should withdraw to secure and defensible borders in exchange for real peace with the Palestinians.
Some people question Sharon’s sincerity about peace. The only way to get an answer is to test him. No Israeli Prime Minister would make concessions so long as terrorism continues. If the terror stops, and Mahmoud Abbas shows the same courage to make peace that Anwar Sadat and King Hussein displayed, then Sharon will be expected to negotiate an end to the conflict based on a two-state solution. Sharon has made clear his willingness to make the tough compromises for peace and the Israeli public will demand no less.
Demonization. The Unjutifed Blind Hate, the Scapegoat
UK cartoon: Naked Sharon eats babies
What are Sabra & Shatilla, and what happened there?
Sabra & Shatilla are Arab "refugee camps" located in Lebanon. It is in fact a town that was being used for terrorist training, and for targeting of Christian communities in Lebanon, and ultimately of Israel. A massacre was perpetrated on its residents in 1982, which, like Deir Yassin in Jerusalem, and Qana in southern Lebanon, is blamed on Israel by anti-Zionists, and held up as an example of Israel's "brutality". This is of course far from the truth.
Who killed the Arabs in the town?
The Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia, led by Elias Hobeika, was responsible for the massacres that occurred at the two Beirut-area refugee camps on September 16-17, 1982.
But didn't Israel knowingly allow the Christians into the town in order to perpetrate the massacre?
Israeli troops allowed the Phalangists to enter Sabra and Shatilla to root out terrorist cells believed to be located there (and which had a well established history of training there). It had been estimated that there may have been up to 200 armed men in the camps working out of the countless bunkers built by the PLO over the years, and stocked with generous reserves of ammunition.
Israel had allowed the Phalange to enter the camps as part of a plan to transfer authority to the Lebanese, and accepted responsibility for that decision.
How many were killed? Were women and children targeted?
When Israeli soldiers ordered the Phalangists out, they found hundreds dead (estimates range from 460 according to the Lebanese police, to 700-800 as calculated by Israeli intelligence). The dead, according to the Lebanese account, included 35 women and children. The rest were men, of various nationalities, including: Palestinians, Lebanese, Pakistanis, Iranians, Syrians and Algerians. The killings came on top of an estimated 95,000 deaths that had occurred during the civil war in Lebanon from 1975-1982.
Why did the Christians kill those Arabs?
The killings were perpetrated to avenge the murders of Lebanese President Bashir Gemayel and 25 of his followers, killed in a bomb attack earlier that week.
Doesn't Israel have any remorse or regrets over what happened?
The Kahan Commission of Inquiry, formed by the Israeli government in response to public outrage and grief, found that Israel was indirectly responsible for not anticipating the possibility of Phalangist violence. Israel instituted the panel's recommendations, including the dismissal of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and Gen. Raful Eitan, the Army Chief of Staff.
The Kahan Commission, declared former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, was "a great tribute to Israeli democracy....There are very few governments in the world that one can imagine making such a public investigation of such a difficult and shameful episode."
Ironically, while 300,000 Israelis demonstrated in Israel to protest the killings, little or no reaction occurred in the Arab world. Outside the Middle East, a major international outcry against Israel erupted over the massacres. The Phalangists, who perpetrated the crime, were spared the brunt of the condemnations for it.
By contrast, few voices were raised in May 1985, when Muslim militiamen (Nabi Berri's Amal militia) attacked the Shatilla and Burj-el Barajneh Palestinian refugee camps. According to UN officials, 635 were killed and 2,500 wounded. During a two-year battle between the Syrian-backed Shiite Amal militia and the PLO, more than 2,000, including many civilians, were reportedly killed. No outcry was directed at the PLO or the Syrians and their allies over the slaughter. International reaction was also muted in October 1990 when Syrian forces overran Christian-controlled areas of Lebanon. In the eight-hour clash, 700 Christians were killed--the worst single battle of Lebanon's Civil War.
Did Ariel Sharon allow the massacre to happen?
According to the Kahan Commission, who found Ariel Sharon to be indirectly responsible--he should have been able to predict that, given the circumstances of the preceding week in Lebanon, the Phalanges would be out for revenge. In no way did they find him directly responsible--he did not encourage this to happen, nor could he have prevented it from happening. At the worst, Ariel Sharon was guilty of incompetence, not malice.
Furthermore, Time Magazine at the time published an article implying that Ariel Sharon was guilty of this crime. Sharon sued the Magazine in an American court, and a jury--which we learned afterwards was admittedly predisposed to finding him guilty(!)--determined that the Time article was false and defamatory, and that "certain Time employees had acted negligently and carelessly".
Do the Lebanese hold Ariel Sharon responsible for the massacre?
An Open Letter to Human Rights Watch
From the Lebanese Foundation for Peace
"We Have Hundreds of Eye Witnesses to the Events at Sabra and Chatilla, Will You Call Them?"
Mr Hanny Megally
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, New York, 10118 USA
Telephone: (212) 216 1230
Facsimile: (212) 736 1300
June 28, 2001
Dear Mr Megally,
I feel it's my moral obligation to address your latest remarks on the Sabra & Chatilla affair asking President Bush to urge Prime Minister Sharon to cooperate with any investigation against him. I must take issue with your accusations that there is abundant evidence that war crimes and that crimes against humanity were committed at the Sabra and Chatilla Palestinian camps. You should know better, for as one of Egyptian origin who is expert in Arabic you realize the problem within the Islamic world of the problem in seeing events, truths, that have no significance to Islam and of the Islamic world ignoring other crimes of larger gravity that are not significant to the Muslim world.
Did you really assume that the Palestinians were attacked for no reason or that groups of civilian Christians suddenly developed a blood lust for Palestinians? Why did the Christians attack only Palestinians and not the Lebanese Muslims with whom they lived peaceably for centuries? The Christians have historically been a peaceful people who preferred to live in Lebanon in a historical balance with their Muslim neighbors, a friendly and respectable balance that existed until Yasir Arafat and his killers entered Lebanon.
Your myopic vision of the Sabra and Chatilla massacres ignores the massacres perpetrated by Yasser Arafat and his murderers against the Christian Lebanese. Let me remind you of some of Arafat's actions (I am an eye witness):
* The distribution of arms and money to the Islamists in Lebanon for the express purpose of subjecting the Christian Lebanese to ethnic cleansing.
* The massacre of the town of Chekka, in northern Lebanon, by Arafat forces, dozens of civilians, mostly Christians, were murdered and tortured by Arafat's hoodlums.
* In the massacre of the town of Damour, South of Beirut, dozens of Christians civilians were slaughtered, along with numerous rapes of young girls, were done by forces that came from those same Palestinian camps that you are defending.
* The massacre of the towns of Aintoura and Mtein, where groups of Palestinians murdered innocent Christian civilians solely because they were Christians .
* The daily assaults by the PLO forces against the Christian towns of Hadath, Ain-el Remmaneh, Jisr el Bacha, Dekaouneh, Beirut, and the Southern Metn, that resulted in hundred of Christian casualties murdered for defending their hometowns and existence. This was at a time when the Lebanese Government was paralyzed and could not send the Lebanese Army to halt the Palestinian atrocities due to Arab intervention in internal Lebanese affairs by the "Cairo" accords.
No, Mr Megally, Palestine's path to the submission of Lebanon does not begin at the Lebanese Christian Port of Junieh as stated in the famous phrase of Abu Ayad, Yasser Arafat second in command. There were no Israelis in Mount Lebanon to murder, they were all innocent Christian civilians massacred in hundreds of low intensity incidents (as in Israel today) just because they were Christians. The barbarism in Lebanon was an Arafat speciality. Christians were decapitated, girls were raped, parents and kids were murdered in the streets due to Palestinian military attacks against the Christians areas, as they refused to distinguish between adult men and women and children. All Christians, despite age or sex, were Palestinian targets. These were the same Palestinians we welcomed with open arms in 1948 with charity and our reward was death and torture.
Sabra and Chatilla was not a peaceful area where strangers entered for no reason and murdered innocent civilians. Sabra and Chatilla were one of the largest training centers for international terrorism. Most of the terrorists of the world visited the Sabra and Chatilla Camps in Beirut, received extensive training in terrorism, ranging from the use of plastic explosives to booby trapping cars, and special, assassination techniques given by well experienced followers of Yasser Arafat.
For example, the terrorist Red Brigades from Italy trained there, the terrorist Basque ETA movement, Carlos, Islamist mercenaries from Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, all came to those camps to be taught how to hijack planes, prepare bombs for use in Europe and elsewhere against US and Israeli embassies and missions. Sabra and Chatilla became known as the terror center in Beirut, whose mission was to export terror and subversion to the world. Many Lebanese were kidnaped to these camps and never returned alive.
The Christian Kataeb militias are no murderers Mr. Megally. They realized that the destruction of Lebanon by Palestinian hands could not continue and Lebanon could not be a training ground for international terror and murder. There was no proportionality in the two events as Sabra & Chatilla experienced about 800 executions, yet the Palestinians murdered 200,000 Lebanese on different occasions and places. Could you help open an investigation into the matter? Lebanese families, eye witnesses, will thank you and are eager to get their rights back in court from Arafat murderers if they have the chance. Can you arrange in the interests of justice to hear in the court in Belgium from hundreds of cases of Lebanese victims of Palestinian terrorism? Will you call as a witness Elias Hobeika a known Lebanese traitor and Syrian operative who incited the event without the knowledge or consent of Ariel Sharon in order to embarrass and blacken Ariel's Sharon's name?
Additional information you should be aware of is that sensitive information from Lebanese intelligence army sources show that Brigadier General Ghazi Kanaan, head of the Syrian Secret Service in Lebanon, is now pursuing a path of intimidation and threats through many channels against former Lebanese forces leaders to force them to testify in Lebanese courts against Ariel Sharon so as to relieve the pressure on Elias Hobeika.
No Christian Lebanese will apologize for the deaths of assassins and murders as their continued existence was at stake, and the Palestinian executions occurred with a deep revulsion for the taking of lives; however, these Palestinians were the victims of Yasir Arafat who precipitated the killings by supporting an existential evil that threatened the world. No Palestinian ever apologized for the destruction of Lebanon a country that hosted them with a friendly and open hands.
Sabra and Chatilla was no mistake, it was the Christian Community's inability to continue to suffer their extinction and their planned genocide that forced them to decide to halt once and for all Palestinian terrorism in Lebanon, a country that has suffered terribly from PLO terror while the world ignored us, making them willing accomplices. Don't blame the Christians or General Sharon. The Palestinians under Yasir Arafat and Elias Hobeika are responsible as well as a world that doesn't care.
Sabra and Chatilla is a nothing more than a political attempt by Yasser Arafat, backed by Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Arabia, to undermine and weaken Israel's Prime Minister Sharon. By doing so, they hope to force Israel to return to the concessions given by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, an inexperienced, political player as compared to Prime Minister Sharon. This is a failed tactic that will lead nowhere as Sharon's political position is to encourage a meaningful peace in the Middle East and is much stronger than these failed maneuvers and lost attempts.
Mr Megally, your call to President Bush was inappropriate, as you failed to present the full picture of the past events by inappropriately judging one side and disregarding the offenses of the other party involved in the events, not to mention that Arafat who succeeded through the weakness of the Israeli left to import the chaos and revolution from his Tunisian exile to the heart of Israel.
Nagi N. Najjar
Director of the Lebanon Foundation for Peace
General Sharon is completely innocent
Lebanon: The Mystery Of The Unknown
This book “From Israel to Damascus” has been written by Robert Maroun Hatem, Known as "Cobra". Cobra currently resides in France as a political refugee. In pursuit of honor, justice and free morale, Robert Maroun Hatem, broke the code of silence about the unacceptable, the world of tragedy, corruption, crime and darkness under which Lebanon exists today.
Cobra Writes his story about the part played with Elie Hobeika, known as "H.K." and his rise to power in the Lebanese government. Cobra's story depicts how Hobeika planned to destroy Lebanon, so he could rise to power and how he became a minister in the current Pro-Syrian Lebanese structure, and what part Cobra played in assisting Hobeika in his rise to power.
Cobra describes in detail the tragedy of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres, the Syrian responsibility for the deaths, and the innocence of General Ariel Sharon and the Christians of the South Lebanese Army.
From Israel to Damascus
CHAPTER 7: The Massacres at Sabra and Shatilla
On the morning of Wednesday, September 15, 1982, the Lebanese forces met at the Gemayel house in Bickfaya. The house was crammed with mourners, and the attendees decided to run Amin, Bashir’s brother, for the president. While all of Lebanon’s religious, political, military and civilian leaders and Minister Sharon and the Head of the Mossad passed through the room where condolences were extended, an invasion of West Beirut was being planned. It went off 12 hours later.
In the afternoon of Wednesday September 15, 1982, Bashir’s military and Intelligence lieutenants met with the Israeli chief of Staff Lieutenant General Rafael Eitan, and Major General Amir Drori, in charge of the Lebanese operation.
I was later told by Hobeika that there were about 2,000 PLO terrorists still hiding in the Sabra and Shatilla camps. Hobeika advised me that he was in charge of the organization of an operation to clear them out. He also disclosed that the Israeli forces had taken up positions in West Beirut and expected us to supervise the evacuation of the Palestinians from the camp. We were to sort out the armed terrorists and hand them over to the Israeli troops at the Cite Sportive, Al Madina Al Ryadieh, cleaned up and fixed to serve as a rally point. Meanwhile, the whole country stood breathless and at a standstill, half of it drowned in deep despair, and the other half paralyzed with fear. So ominous was the tragedy.
Hobeika had 24 hours to prepare his elite key force composed of 200 men. The men were allotted in several units respectively under the command of Joseph Asmar, Michel Zouein, G. Melco, and Maroun Mashaalani. General Sharon besieged the camps and the Cite Sportive.
By noon on Thursday, September 16, 1982, the Shababs started advancing through the Beirut Airport Road. By 4:30 p.m., the Lebanese Forces had crossed the Israeli lines surrounding the camps. Sharon had given strict orders to Hobeika to guard against any desperate move, should his men run amuck. They were to behave like a real dignified, regular army not like "chocolate soldiers" and coordinate with the Israeli command. Their mission was to exert pressure an the Palestinians to drive them all out of the camp, and pick out the PLO agents left behind after the evacuation of the Palestinians in August, 1982. They were rallied at the Cite Sportive and held prisoners. After inspection the civilians would be sent back to their homes. However, Hobeika gave his own instructions to his men: "Total extermination ... camps wiped out."
It was Maroun Mashaalani’s men, undaunted by their regular and immoderate use of heroine and cocaine who perpetrated the most ghastly slaughters in the camp bordering Ghaza Hospital at the entrance of Sabra. That is where foreign nurses and doctors were shot down in cold blood. The minute General Ariel Sharon had been informed that something odd and unwanted was going on, he summoned his commanding officers and Hobeika.
At 7:30 p.m. on September 16, 1982, Hobeika and I arrived at General Ariel
Sharon’s Headquarters. We climbed up to the terrace of the tall building
next to the Kuwaiti Embassy. From there we could plunge right into the
camp and have an overhead view. Besides the Israeli officers, Assad Shaftari,
Michel Zouein, Elie Hobeika and myself were poised and ready.
The Israeli officers were jealous and filled with rage, blaming Hobeika for actually ordering the massacre of Palestinian civilians. Hobeika coldly retorted that it was because of the darkness he could not tell who they were. General Sharon, being too fat to climb up the flight of stairs, waited on the second floor to see Hobeika and have it out with him personally. The minute he saw him he roared out: "You were not supposed to do this. I didn’t ask you to commit massacres. If I wanted, I would have done so with my tanks. You’ll pay dearly for this blunder!" Hobeika replied that he would handle it with his men. Hobeika and I went back on the terrace. Hobeika got a walkie talkie message from a guy called Paul saying, "There are women and children, what should we do?" Hobeika answered, "It’s your lookout and don’t call me back again, you shit."
Hobeika, Zouein, Shaftari and I ran back down to the second story where an Israeli officer drew a map of the site with a piece of chalk on the floor, pointing to where the massacres were taking place. That is when we had confirmation that it was Maroun Machaalani’s unit which was involved at the entrance of Sabra Camp.
Hobeika went back to report to General Sharon his account of events. General Sharon ordered his men to fire flares from that moment on until 4:00 a.m. to avoid a further blunder. It was too late. The harm was done. All the victims were civilians killed with grenades, hatchets, assault rifles, knives. Some of the corpses were even boobie-trapped.
At around 6:00 a.m., the Lebanese Forces, arrived to inspect the butchery. Fadi Frem, Fuad Abou Nader, Steve Nakkour, Elie Hobeika and I inspected the premises. Hobeika instructed Nakkour, who was in charge of Logistics, to send tractors to clean up the camps and leave no traces of the massacres, wiping out incriminating evidence.
The Israeli officers prevented the Lebanese Forces from getting into the camps with their chiefs. At 9:00 a.m., artillery fighting broke out between Maroun Mashaalani’s men and gunmen from Moslem Shia Mekdad family members. The Mekdad families came to inquire about their relatives who were among the camp inhabitants. A Lebanese army officer ordered Mashaalani to get off to stop the skirmish. He complied.
By now, news accounts of the massacres had leaked out. The reports became amplified, confused, and mixed-up. Some witnesses claimed that it was actually Major Saad Haddad’s men who had perpetrated the slaughter because of the South Lebanon accent. Not one single man from Saad Haddad’s Free Lebanon Army took part in the operation. The Christian militia was unchained and blinded by rage after the assassination of their Chief, President and martyr.
Once again, the mastermind, Hobeika had toyed with the lives of young patriots, committing them to carry out reprehensible actions which could serve only Syria’s interests! It was the Syrians, not the PLO who had never accepted Bashir’s election. It was later discovered and proven that Bashir’s actual assassin, Habib Tanios Shartuni, was a secret member of the pro-Syrian, anti-Kataeb Party, Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SNSP). The SNSP was represented by Assaad Hardane via Nabil Al Allam Chief of Intelligence and Security of the SNSP. Syrian Army Intelligence conducted by Ali Douba assisted Shartuni in providing and stashing the bomb. How could Hobeika claim that he had received orders to massacre the Palestinians from the Israelis? I did not know where his two ultra secret meetings with Abdul Halim Khaddam during the first half of 1982 fit in.
I was Hobeika’s field man always present on the premises with my chief wherever he went. I can state under oath, that General Sharon would never have lit up the area the way he did had he planned for any butchery. He would not have cleaned up the Cite Sportive to house all the Palestinians pending their return to their homes after verification. He would not have placed his tanks and armored cars all around the camps to capture the remaining armed Palestinian agents. One thing was certain, the Syrians had their men within the ranks of Lebanese Forces leaders.
Reflecting back on the events of my life, all the facts led me to believe that Hobeika was the man, who in 1982, provoked the Sabra and Chatilla massacres. This is my own assumption of what was behind it because there are no real facts to support my claim. After killing Bashir Gemayel, in secret coordination with the SNSP and Syria, I also suspected Hobeika was instrumental in the fall of the Likoud Government. Prime Minister Begin and General Sharon resigned, allowing the Labor Party in Israel to come to power. This rise reversed the process and destroyed everything the Likud Government had worked to establish with the Lebanese Christians.
Bashir’s death and the massacres were pivotal in the fall of the Likoud Government. It is alleged that Hobeika contributed to the destruction of the Likoud Government plan for Israel and Lebanon because of his participation in the events. While Syria was working for a new consensus with the United States, Hobeika became a pro-Syrian and a Hafez Assad hero. Hafez Assad personally placed a protective umbrella over Hobeika’s head to avert any assassination attempts on Hobeika’s life following the massacres of the Sabra and Shatilla camps.
The assassination of Bashir and the attacks on Sabra and Shatilla also led to the fall of power for General Sharon and Prime Minister Begin. Hobeika’s actions changed the course of events. Israel lost power and Syria gained it. It was the same mechanism that destroyed the courageous Israeli Government’s plan to save Lebanon and restore peace through a solid and strong Christian state. Following Bashir’s death and the failed Likud/Israeli plan, the United States then entered the Middle-East conflict with a new consensus and perspective different from the original Israeli perspective. The Labor Party took control of the Israel government and compromised the Lebanese Christians with Syria. Rabin stated many times, he would not mind for Syria to stay in Lebanon should Syria sign the peace treaty with Israel. When Netanyahu took office, the whole middle eastern peace plan changed.
Five years after Hafez Assad kidnapped the American and western hostages through the Hizballah in Beirut, and released them later in Damascus. He did so to gain the blessings of the United States political power. The United States attempted to a deal with the Labor Party, headed by Rabin in Israel, Assad released 5,000 Syrians Jews from Damascus and authorized them to leave Syria and travel to the United States. The United States was blessing a naive peace between Rabin’s Israel and Syria. The Labor Party leaders believed this naive peace with Syria. Rabin backed by United States support sought a peaceful resolution to the Middle-East conflicts. What Hafez Assad and Syria wanted was the return of the Golan and Lebanon and to be in a position of strength in the balance of power in the Middle East.
Assad was loosing time. The United States Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, traveled numerous times to the bargaining table to resolve the terms of the agreement, but was unsuccessful in his diplomatic attempts. He failed because Syria never believed in Israel. Assad was counting on a change that might occur with the New World Order, perhaps a new revolution with Russia that would topple the pro-United States regime and establish the Old Soviet Union, thus returning to the Cold War. Assad could then take a power position in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This never happened. The Labor Party failed to understand the ideology that prevailed in Damascus, a denial of Israel to «exist» as a Nation in the Middle-East. Therefore, the only peace that could dominate in the region was the peace through strength. Hobeika succeeded in playing Syria’s political game and Syria was fooling the United States of signing a peace treaty with Israel. The political perception of President Reagan for the Middle East was the best. Peace through strength. What Syria really wanted to do was waste time and swallow Lebanon for its own. By doing so, Syria gained economic and political strength in the region.
On October 2, 1982, 17 days after the assassination of President Bashir Gemayel, the Kataeb Party Radio Voice of Lebanon announced that the man who perpetrated the outrage, the assassin, Habib Tanios Shartuni, age 26, was captured. Strange coincidence indeed, Shartuni, his sister and grandparents occupied the top floor of the small three-story building which accommodated the Kataeb Party’s Ashrafieh headquarters. A friend of mine, then in West Beirut, overheard two SNSP party leaders commenting that one of the greatest assets Hobeika gave to the Syrians was the Bashir story. One can only infer that Hobeika was behind Bashir’s assassination.
Speculation of Hobeika’s participation in Bashir’s assassination was wide spread. Hobeika had been Syria’s man inside the Lebanese Forces. Hobeika had travel numerous times with Bashir. Hobeika made many contacts there, but it was speculated that he was secretly working for the Syrian interests. The last trip Bashir made to discuss the treaty, Bashir got into a verbal conflict with Prime Minister Begin. What followed was the Syrian leader’s plan to assassinate Bashir with the help of the SNSP. After the success of the operation, the leaders then devised a cover for the operation. It is reported that the Syrian Moukhabarat began circulating news that the Israelis had killed Bashir because he had gotten into a conflict with the Prime Minister Begin during their last visit in Naharia. The plan was to remove suspicion from the Syrians and color the Israelis with the crime.
Many in Lebanon do not understand why Israel would kill a man they had devoted and invested so much time and energy into gaining peace for their country. The whole Israeli project was built on Bashir. When Syria succeeded in eliminating Bashir, the whole Israel plan for Lebanon was lost. There was no leader to fill Bashir’s place. Hobeika took advantage of the situation by averting the attention from the Bashir assassination to the massacres at Sabra and Shatilla. Everyone forgot the crime against Bashir and focused their attention on the camp massacres. It was well planned and successfully carried out. Following these events, the Likud Government collapsed, Prime Minister Begin and General Sharon resigned. Alexander Haig, now the United States Secretary of State, was the man who gave his blessing to the Peace Accord, who went home without any success. Everything in Israel collapsed and Syria was getting out of the game victorious following Bashir’s death.
If Bashir had continued forward with his plans in Israel, Lebanon would have been the second State in the Middle East to sign the peace treaty with Israel after Egypt. This move would have ensured a friendly government to Israel in Lebanon. The Lebanese Forces were considered the Israeli mechanism in Lebanon, with the tripartite agreement and the Intifadas, Hobeika sliced the Lebanese Forces into two pieces and took the half of it to the Syrian side when he went to Zahleh. He converted them working for the Moukhabarat Sourieh sending car bombs and executing assassinations in the Christian enclave for Syria’s interest. Assad himself placed a protective umbrella over Hobeika because the Palestinians wanted to kill him and gave him a residence in Damascus and protection for the "favors" he did for Syria.
Let us start with a story told to me by a knowing friend: A woman had a lover. Her husband knew she did but he didn’t stop her. She wanted to see her lover. He told her to come to his home. "But, you live in a dangerous neighborhood." "If you want to see me, come anyway." Her husband knew she was going but didn’t stop her. She went to his dangerous neighborhood and she was murdered. The question is: "Whose fault was it that she was murdered." [Answer at the end of this article.]
The Media both in Israel and in the U.S., following the State Department lead, are already smearing Ariel Sharon with the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla, that the "Peace for Galilee War in Lebanon in 1982 was ‘unnecessary’, and that Arik Sharon’s visit to the Jewish Temple Mount caused what the Media now calls the ‘Al Aksa Intifada’. These 3 myths appear in every article about the Likud candidate for Prime Minister in Israel’s February 6th snap elections. However, there are a few facts which have been conveniently discarded by perennial Israel bashers.
First, there was an intense vicious war going on in Lebanon that had nothing to do with Israel. Between the Lebanese Muslims and the Lebanese Christians there were so many factions killing each other in horrible ways, it was almost impossible to keep track. The total number of Muslims and Christians who killed each other added up to 100,000 in the 12 year Civil War that really began in earnest when Arafat entered in 1970.
Arafat’s PLO established his own mini-state of terrorism in Lebanon. These were the Palestinians who escaped from Jordan after what the PLO calls Black September when King Hussein massacred more than 10,000 Palestinians who were trying to overthrow his kingdom. There were 26 agreements that Arafat had agreed to in controlling his PLO within Jordan - all of which Arafat broke. It was forgotten that it was the Jews who rescued thousands of Palestinians from the Jordan River as they were escaping from King Hussein’s Bedouin warriors. Arafat’s Palestinians turned Lebanon into a jungle of warfare as they stirred up hatred between Lebanese Christians and Lebanese Muslims. The Civil War in Lebanon lasted in Lebanon lasted for 12 years - from the time Arafat came in with his Palestinians in 1970 (Black September) until Israel came in 1982. The Lebanese greeted the Israeli soldiers with flowers of happiness and hope that the Israelis would rescue them from the bloody wars of PLO between the Christians and Muslims. From his base of operations in Lebanon Arafat launched innumerable terrorist attacks against Israel.
Prime Minister Menachem Begin always denied that then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon had "dragged" him and Israel into an "unnecessary" war in Lebanon. Israeli intelligence knew that Arafat was poised and armed for a major war against Israel. Under Gen. Sharon the Israelis successfully pushed the PLO terrorist army all the way to the outskirts of Beirut. The Israelis discovered that Arafat had built huge tunnels throughout the areas they controlled. These tunnels were loaded with tons of weapons and Arafat’s "secret" plans to invade Israel very soon. But, of course, that isn’t ever reported or remembered when each article lambasting Sharon accuses him of leading Israel into an unnecessary war. The fact that Arafat and his PLO were actively planning a war and had the weapons to commit major atrocities was keep as a secret closely held by the professional journalists. That War in Lebanon was justified as self-defense and inevitable because Jews were again being killed by cross-border terrorist raids and plans imminent war.
What makes professional journalists keep such secrets in order to smear a man for all his life and to skew an election where he is 20 points ahead in the polls 13 days before the vote?
The Media has blown up the concept that Gen. Arik Sharon brought Israel into Lebanon, that it was his fault Israel couldn’t finish their victory; and that it was his fault that Israel had to stay in her self-declared security zone and that many, too many Jewish soldiers were killed. Of course, the Media tars and feathers Sharon with Sabra and Shatilla - and that the Kahan Commission accused him of (not causing but) failing to stop the Sabra and Shatilla massacre.
Their complete blacklisting of Sharon was enabled and assisted by the famous "secret " section of the Kahan committee. The Hebrew newspaper MA’ARIV on its internet site, claims that because it was kept secret it was always viewed as trying to "hide" something terrible about Arik Sharon. However, a recent book by Attorney Yosef Dar who worked for the Shin Bet security service for a few years, maintains that the Kahan Commission did Sharon a serious injustice. Most interestingly, Tom Segev, well-known as extreme left wing revisionist historian did an excellent review in HA’ARETZ despite a long history of openly hating Sharon. (1)
To remind you of the events: In September 1982 Christian Phalange units entered the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut under the auspice of the IDF and murder about 800 people in revenge for the assassination of Lebanon’s president-elect, Bashir Jemayel.
A key fact about why the Israelis still near enough to have heard a possible massacre and did not stop it was revealed in a tenth anniversary broadcast by NPR, National Public Radio. The massacre was called the "Night of the Long Knives" because that those were the weapons the Christian Phalangist murderers chose because they could not be heard. (No shots were fired.)
The Kahan Commission of Inquiry, headed by the president of the Supreme Court at that time, Justice Yitzhak Kahan, which was appointed to investigate, effectively removed Ariel Sharon from his post as Defense Minister.
However, Yosef Dar’s explosive book "Phalange Justice" exposes the "secret" annex which entirely exonerates Arik Sharon of any culpability for this massacre and condemns others of malfeasance of office, conflict of interest, not taking responsibility, etc. (but that isn’t important to this story). Sharon was NOT culpable.
The fact that he won his libel suit against TIME Magazine should have proven to the media that Arik Sharon was not to be and could not be smeared ever again over Sabra and Shatilla. Unfortunately, the truths revealed were not sustained. The media continues to blacken Sharon’s name. He is such a colorful target.
Another book: "From Israel to Damascus: Lebanon, the Mystery of the Unknown" by Robert Maroun Hatem, known as Cobra, he describes how Elie Hobeika, known as H.K. planned to destroy Lebanon so he could become a minister in the current Pro-Syrian Lebanese structure. Bashir Gemayel who was the popular Lebanese Christian slated to be President of the new Lebanon, now that Israel had freed it of the PLO terrorists. Hobeika was responsible for killing Gemayel, ordering his men to "totally annihilate" everyone in the camps, and was instrumental in the fall of the Likud Government. He was protected from revenge reprisals by Hafez Assad.
Cobra describes in detail the tragedy of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres and the Syrian responsibility for the deaths - as well as the innocence of Gen. Ariel Sharon and the Christians of the South Lebanese Army. Hobeika said there were about 2000 terrorists still hiding in Sabra and Shatilla. Hobeika had a key elite force of 200 men high on regular and immoderate use of heroine and cocaine. Sharon ordered him to behave like a regular army, round up the terrorists left behind after the Israelis forced the evacuation of the PLO in August, 1982 to Tunisia. This book is a complete eye-witness testimony and description of exactly what happened. Syria was behind it. It was discovered later and proven that Bashir Gemayel’s actual assassin, Habib Tanios Shartuni was a secret member of the pro-Syrian anti-Kataeb Party. (2)
The third major myth that Arik Sharon caused what the Arabs and the world Media call the "Al Aksa Intifada" has been disproved by the facts. There were several attacks by PLO Palestinian Police against Israelis prior to the start of what should be called the Rosh Hashanah War 2000 on September 23rd. One Palestinian Policeman point-blank killed the Israeli with whom he was on joint patrol 2 days before Sharon went to the Temple Mount. there were several other egregious incidents preceeding Rosh Hashanah. The Muslims will never tolerate Jews visiting their most Holy Site, the Temple Mount. Israeli intelligence presented voluminous information to the U.S. that Arafat was planning a major assault against Israel and that Sharon’s visit was merely used as an excuse. But, this smear was readily accepted by the Media and the World.
Arik Sharon is the only man in Israel now for whom the Arabs feel fear and respect. It is only he for whom they will make peace because they know they cannot best him in war or in political negotiations. And the Arabs know that Sharon cannot be pushed around by America, by any presidential administration nor any State Department career Arabists. They will have no power over him and that is why they are using every dirty trick they can imagine.
Israel will be strong again. Jews the world over will experience a re-born pride in their Jewish identity. The Arabs within Israel, in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Jerusalem will fear Sharon sufficiently to respect the Jews again.
All of the Labor Left’s concessions offered to date to Arafat have merely engendered a furious contempt for Israel, for the Jews within Israel and an Arab chutzpah to take more and much more of Israel - as Arafat shows on his maps, army badges, stationary, etc. the new State of Palestine covers over all of Israel. And as Arafat has proclaimed since signing Oslo in 1993,
"The war of the stones will not stop until the Palestinian flags fly over all of Jerusalem’s mosques and churches and is the capital of the new state of Palestine and only that state - and whoever doesn’t like it can drink Gaza sea water."
I challenge the Media and the Ministry of Education to enter into these historical issues to investigate the truths of these myths. If these myths are exposed and the truth is taught to our kids, we have a chance for peace in the next generation. Myths are very difficult to shatter and destroy unless you can teach a new and true myth.
Is the Media mounting a smear campaign against Sharon using these 3 myths? To wit: The LONDON SUNDAY TIMES, January 21st in a photo caption under a picture of Arik Sharon: "On the warpath: Sharon, left, campaigning last week, has a long history of being uncompromising in his readiness to use troops against Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors." (3)
If there are any honest and true investigative journalists in the field today, they could do a great service and win a Pulitzer Prize for daring to debunk the myths which are undermining our Jewish and our Israeli identities.
1. "Study finds Aharon Barak’s Conflict of Interest Biased Kahan Commission against Sharon n Investigation of Sabra & Shatilla Investigation" by Yosef Dar (reviewed by Tom Segev Ha’aretz 12/29/2000)
2. "From Israel to Damascus - Lebanon: The Mystery of the Unknown" by Robert Maroun Hatem Chapter 8
3. Photo caption under picture of Arik Sharon London Sunday Times Jan. 21, 2001
Answer to the question "Who was at fault for the woman being murdered?" If you answered anyone but the murderer, you don’t understand the Middle East or Sabra and Shatilla.