Archive through January 2, 2001
ez informer - ez
no such thing as hanging out. it's all to do with ur political views.
u want me to scroll up & read ur messages??? LOL...
I only do that when im looking for a laugh -
""there are ways and there are ways"
Israelis to Elect Sharon, Despite His Bloody History
Foreign Affairs News
Published: 1/30/01 Author: Suzanne Goldenberg
Posted on 01/30/2001 07:32:00 PST by Antiwar Republican
'He destroyed my family. I can never forget'
Israelis are going to elect Ariel Sharon next week - despite his bloody history
Special report: Israel and the Middle East
Suzanne Goldenberg in Beirut
Tuesday January 30, 2001
Nawal Abu Rudeinah's childhood ended on Thursday September 16 1982 when she was seven years old and a minor war hero called Ariel Sharon was Israel's defence minister.
On that day the 24 members of Nawal's family had crammed into a room near the entrance of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, in the southern suburbs of Beirut. In the lanes outside Israel's Christian Lebanese allies - armed and trained by Israel and under Mr Sharon's command as minister - were slaughtering hundreds of people.
The following day Nawal's mother crammed a rag into her daughter's mouth to silence her. From the darkened shelter the girl heard the screams of her cousin as she was raped and killed by the Lebanese militiamen and the death rattle of her uncle who had tried to save her.
On Saturday the surviving family members were discovered. The men were taken off to be shot, and Nawal was marched away at gunpoint, stepping over the corpses in the doorway. One of the dead was her father, with the cleaver that killed him embedded in his skull. Another was her pregnant sister, Amal, whose belly was slit open.
"As we were walking, we kept looking around, and saying: 'Who is this? Oh look, this is Mohammed, and this is Ahmed'," Ms Abu Rudeinah says. At least 800 - and as many as 2,000 - people had been killed over three days.
For years it was unimaginable that Mr Sharon, who shares the blame for the deaths, could ever lead Israel. But time, and the four-month uprising in the West Bank and Gaza, have wiped out the stain of his bloody personal history, and next week, barring a miracle, Israelis will elect him their prime minister.
Visiting a West Bank outpost this month, Mr Sharon gazed out over the Jordan valley and beyond, to Iraq and Syria. "Israel is surrounded by enemies," he said. "The Jews have one tiny country where they have the right and the power to defend themselves."
The comment might have been true 20 years ago, but since that time it has signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and started negotiating with the Palestinians.
But after the intifada, which most Israelis see as a Palestinian betrayal, many Israelis are inclined to agree with him. People are yearning for an uncomplicated warrior who will promise them security, and nobody embodies that better than Mr Sharon.
"If I could get my hands on him, I would kill him," says Ms Abu Rudeinah. "He destroyed my family. I can never forget that, or anything that happened that day - the way I had to step over the bodies, and the bodies lying everywhere in the street. I hope God strikes down Sharon, and whoever had a hand in the massacre."
Many fear his election could intensify the violence in the West Bank and Gaza, which has killed nearly 400 people. It could also bury the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
"My great fear is that he has a lifelong penchant for grand strategic designs that go completely awry and that prove disastrous for Israel, says Joseph Alpher, a former director of the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.
"This is his record. I listen to his statements about wanting to bring peace, and being more capable than [the prime minister, Ehud] Barak to bring peace, but he presents no reasonable or logical plan for doing so."
The first time Mr Sharon put one of his "grand designs" into action was in 1953, when he commanded Unit 101, a force charged with retaliating against Palestinian raiders. After the brutal killing of a woman in central Israel, Mr Sharon and his men blew up at least 45 homes in the West Bank village of Kibya, then under Jordanian control. Sixty-nine people were killed, half of them women and children.
Abroad, the operation caused outrage; in Israel it made Mr Sharon into something of a hero. Unit 101 was expanded, and Mr Sharon led other reprisal attacks in Jordan, Egypt and Syria.
Mr Sharon left the army for politics in June 1973. He was recalled later that year to command the Israeli forces which eventually crossed the Suez canal, and helped turn around the 1973 war.
In the rightwing Likud party he became was a champion of the militant Jewish settlers. But in a sense he was marking time until his defining moment: Lebanon.
In October 1981, two months after becoming defence minister, he ordered the army to prepare a war plan and within months it was in Beirut. But the following year the massacre at Sabra and Shatila brought his career crashing down.
In 1983 an Israeli government investigation found him personally responsible for allowing the Lebanese Christian militias into the camps, ignoring the risk to the refugees, and taking no action to stop the massacre. It said he was unfit to be defence minister; he was forced to resign.
Mr Sharon remains defiant about the massacre. Last week he told the Tel Aviv chamber of commerce: "What happened in Lebanon, which we didn't have any connection to or anything, was that Christian Arabs killed Muslim Arabs and as a result of the atmosphere of hysteria in Israel I was forced to leave my post."
But he has faced such questions only once during this election campaign. The new Sharon, as constructed by his handlers, is a grandpa in blue jeans cuddling baby goats at a farm in the Negev desert.
The idea is to make him more palatable to centrist voters who feel betrayed by Mr Barak's failed efforts to bring peace. "Even those voting for Sharon do not trust him entirely," says Yossi Verter, a columnist for the liberal news paper Ha'aretz. "Deep down, they think he is an extreme rightwinger who never voted for any peace plan.
According to Mr Sharon, now is not the time to talk about peace. He proposes a series of interim accords that freeze the amount of territory under Palestinian control, and make no concessions on Jerusalem. He says he will not negotiate with the Palestinians until the intifada ends.
"Sharon is in effect killing the Israeli and Palestinian peace process not in terms of refusing to talk, but by refusing to offer anything," Mr Alpher says.
Others say Mr Sharon is more nuanced. Last week he sent his son and a lawyer to a secret meeting in Vienna with Mr Arafat's money man, Mohammed Rashid.
Mr Rashid controls the millions of dollars that flow in and out of the coffers of the Palestinian Authority, and is believed to be a principal stakeholder in its biggest earner, a glitzy casino in Jericho.
But in Beirut, and in the Arab world beyond, Mr Sharon can never be rehabilitated.
In Sabra and Shatila, a walled-off field heaped with rubbish serves as the mass grave of the militiamen's victims.
Yamama Abdullah's hus band and four of her children are buried there.
If you ask her or Ms Abu Rudeinah who was to blame for the massacre, they say "Sharon". Dozens of people claim to have seen Mr Sharon on the roof of a nearby block of flats, watching the killing through field glasses.
And the thought of Mr Sharon becoming Israel's prime minister brings the horror flooding back.
"Oh God, no, not Sharon," says Ms Abdullah. "If Sharon comes that means war - not only for the Palestinians but for all the Arabs."