By NATHAN J FREEMAN
AFTER spending eight years in a coma, Israeli general and former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died on January 11, 2014. The very large numbers of people who suffered greatly under his aegis recall his brutal legacy with continued demands for justice. Meanwhile the world of darkest reaction has invented the term “warrior-statesman” to praise the man who will, in fact, go down in history as the murderer he was. Besides other crimes, Sharon is best known to the world’s people as the Butcher of Beirut for his role in enabling the slaughter of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp during September 16 to 18, 1982.
The two positions are not a mere difference of opinion attached to opposing class interests. It is a preoccupation of the ruling classes to both downplay and/or even deny, as well as promote to a level of acceptance, Sharon’s essential significance in this era as the world’s most notorious practitioner of state-organized genocide as official policy. Since the death of Adolf Hitler, in the middle of the 20th century, the Nazi policy of sacrificing entire peoples in the name of creating and ensuring eternal lebensraum (living-space), for a master race, was supposed to remain buried, once and for all time. Its continuation or repetition – even disguised as “security for the world’s only Jewish state – is and remains something the world’s people are profoundly committed to end once and for all.
Map shows the Zionist campaign to completely dispossess the Palestinian people,
Scenes from the Sabra and Shatila Massacre, April 1982.
Stephen Harper was one of a number of current and past Western politicians – including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and current U.S. President Obama and his predecessor George W Bush – to memorialize Sharon’s passing. Harper’s statement reasserted allegedly “common values” shared by Tel Aviv and Ottawa. In the 21st century, when Canadians have joined millions around the world to declare “a better world is possible” and Canada’s indigenous peoples are standing up for their hereditary rights against dispossession and abuse, the urgent question Harper must answer is: What “common values”?!?
So lengthy is the litany of Sharon’s war crimes against the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon that it is easy to make the crimes themselves the centre of the discussion. But the fact is that Sharon committed these acts with a constant aim from which he never departed. His aim was that the State of Israel’s right and means to dictate the primacy of its own interests ahead of and against all other claims would be further secured and entrenched decades into the future, regardless of whatever became of its neighbours or even its major benefactors such as the United States. That is why Sharon spent hours with George W. Bush and Tony Blair from 2002 through 2006 concocting one so-called road map after another. The constant feature was to entrench and ensure the presence in coming generations of the State of Israel, both as a rogue state (from its inception) and as a military occupier of Arab lands.
Particularly while Sharon headed the Israeli military establishment and later served as Prime Minister, an ongoing instrumentality of this aim was provided by the policies of Israeli governments “from above,” combined with the pressure of settler-colonizers “from below,” which sought to annex militarily occupied Palestinian territory de facto to the State of Israel. To this day, many remain somewhat confused about this critical distinction. Thus for example most commentaries on Sharon’s death in Arab-language media throughout the Middle East have either mistaken the instrumentality for the real aim itself, or conflated the two.
The most outstanding example of the distinction to be recognized between what is widely described as Israeli governments’ “settlements enterprise” and the ostensible aim of proliferating such colonizing activity can be seen in what eventuated during what was probably the single most controversial moment of Sharon’s prime-ministership. That was the moment in August 2005 – five months before the stroke that incapacitated him – in which Sharon ordered the more than 5,000 Israeli “settlers” to leave the Gaza Strip and re-establish themselves either inside the boundaries of 1948-Israel or in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. On the occasion of Sharon’s death, media discussions of his career recall this event as a sign of how Sharon could allegedly reverse gear and “cancel” settler-colonization of Arab lands. This lauding of Sharon’s so-called flexibility profoundly misses the point. Even Sharon’s armed forces could not hope to continue to police, suppress or exterminate the collective identity of the Palestinians bottled up inside the Gaza Strip; Sharon was only recognizing reality in not committing the government to have to coddle settlers and kill Palestinians in the same breath.
In much the same way that Adolf Hitler deployed “diplomatic initiatives” during the 1930s so as to catch his opposition off-guard while dividing their ranks and continuing further to secure his main strategic aim, Sharon as a military leader and prime minister routinely and repeatedly deployed brute force against Palestinian civilian populations as first principle. Of course, public attention tended to become riveted on the brutality of these “excesses” with almost no consideration being given to what deeper constant aim might be served by such brutality. This discloses Sharon’s especially profound debt to the extreme opportunism that characterized the tactical line of the late Nazi dictator.
The Apartheid or Separation Wall, the construction of which began in earnest after Sharon became Prime Minister. Click on map to enlarge.
Whatever the cunning of history may yet disclose regarding the State of Israel’s future, the window of time needed to ensure and secure Sharon’s aim began to close at a moment coinciding almost exactly with the close of the 20th century. This was the moment in 2001, in which he promenaded on the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque with hundreds of government officials in tow, triggering the Palestinians’ launch of the Second Intifada. The ebb of revolution, meanwhile, which continues on the world scale, also veils the future awaiting the Zionist entity. Nevertheless, since the launch of the Second Intifada, the actual unfolding of events within that entity has stood increasingly at odds with Sharon’s aim. Even after he became Prime Minister, Sharon was unable to reverse the expulsion of Israeli forces of military occupation from southern Lebanon by Hezbollah – the first armed struggle against the Israeli military occupation to inflict a clear and unambiguous defeat on Tel Aviv. Sharon’s aims without Sharon enjoyed no success whatsoever. Thus for example, seven months after Sharon’s stroke, the slaughter spearheaded against thousands of Lebanese by six uninterrupted weeks of Israeli Air Force raids utterly failed to dislodge Hezbollah forces from the Lebanese border with Israel. Indeed, only a Security Council-backed “ceasefire” orchestrated by the Bush administration saved Israel’s face, averting a completely undisguised defeat.
Tel Aviv’s prospects for continued unlimited rescue from abroad have narrowed as the American empire finds itself increasingly compelled to accomplish certain reckonings using the Saudis as its terrorist agency of choice, rather than or in conjunction with Mossad. The hysterical response of Tel Aviv over the last several months against even the hint of any démarche which includes Iran, based on Tehran and Washington working together to secure Iran’s “volatile regional environment,” has betrayed as completely as could be the same paralysis at the level of state-to-state relations as the physical paralysis that finally ended Sharon’s physical existence.
The stand of the Harper government’s pathetic hosannas to such a fascist murderer, along with that of the Official Opposition, once again betrays Canada’s role in the imperialist system of states and the need to step up support for the Palestinian people’s just cause.
1. Sharon repeated on a number of occasions his admiration of Hitler’s success in single-minded pursuit of his main aims and that his own sole objection to Hitler was the Nazis’ targeting of Jews! Thus did Sharon acknowledge implicitly that he held the same mission of lebensraum as the Nazi dictator, including extermination of all civilian populations standing in the way of the larger overall strategic aim.
2. Until the 1938 Anschlüss that would annex Austria to the territory of the Third Reich, Hitler did not dare resort to open use of organized military force (as distinct from the police, Brownshirts and local Nazi party goon squads)
TML Weekly Information Project, January 18, 2014, No. 3