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Sunday, July 16, 2006 

And that's why he's NOT suited to deal with the situation!

Daniel Freedman wrote in The New York Sun on July 13 about Ariel Sharon and what he wrought through retreat and weakness.
As the situation in Gaza deteriorates, Israeli troops enter Lebanon, and the Middle East teeters toward a wider war, the man best suited to deal with the situation lies in a coma. As one of Israel's greatest heroes, Ariel Sharon possesses the unique combination of experience and resolve that is needed. Mr. Sharon is also the architect of this situation.

This isn't to say that Mr. Sharon is even indirectly responsible for the kidnappings of the Israeli soldiers that have led to the current standoff. Israel's enemies alone are responsible for the death and destruction they cause. But Mr. Sharon was the architect of Israel's disengagement from Gaza. What followed that presumably well-calculated move is the situation that Israel now faces. Gaza is in anarchy. There's a civil war between Palestinian Arab terrorist groups. One terrorist group, Hamas, is actually ruling the Palestinian Arab Authority. Did Mr. Sharon foresee this chaos? And what would Mr. Sharon do next?

Many former allies of Mr. Sharon were confused by his disengagement plan. They questioned how an ideological follower of Vladimir Jabotinsky, a believer in Greater Israel, and a champion of the so-called settler movement, could surrender part of the land of Israel. While it's impossible to know Mr. Sharon's intentions, given his knowledge of the Palestinian Arab psyche and leadership it's hard to believe that he didn't foresee the current chaos.

If so, Mr. Sharon's intention in disengaging from Gaza was in all likelihood not to give the Palestinian Arabs a state in Gaza and then eventually in parts of Judea and Samaria as well. His intention was probably to show the world, through giving the Palestinian Arabs partial control in Gaza, the folly of giving them full control and statehood.

But even if this wasn't Mr. Sharon's intention, it still is the lesson of his disengagement. Not only is the danger posed to Israel by the terrorist-led government in Gaza evident to everyone but Israel's most hardened foes, the danger to the world and the Palestinian Arabs themselves become clearer by the day.

The anarchy in Gaza has reduced the Palestinian Arab economy to ruins. Ordinary Palestinian Arabs live in daily fear of the armed gangs that battle in the streets. The danger to the West is in the Islamist terrorist groups that freely operate in Gaza.

The terrorist group Hamas is in control of the Palestinian Arab government. Hamas is not just a threat to Israel. Israel is their first target, but they intend to follow up with a world wide Islamic state. As the Hamas terrorists stated in a recent video, which Palestinian Media Watch posted on its Web site, "We will rule the nations, by Allah's will, the USA will be conquered, Israel will be conquered, Rome and Britain will be conquered."

Other terrorist groups are likely to set up in Gaza — if they haven't already. It's a perfect base for the likes of Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Gaza provides an ideal base on the Mediterranean. One of the lessons of the September 11, 2001, attacks was that a terrorist sitting in a cave in Afghanistan can wreak havoc on our cities thousands of miles away. Terrorists with a base on the Mediterranean are an even greater threat.

The most important question for Israel's politicians to consider is what would be Mr. Sharon's next move? One option is for Israel to retake Gaza and fully destroy Hamas and the other terrorist groups there. Staying in Lebanon until Hezbollah's terrorist capabilities are eradicated makes sense too. And it's a perfect time to remind the world why Judea and Samaria are permanently off the negotiating table.

But to really stop Hamas, Hezbollah, and other similar Islamist terrorist groups, greater military action is needed. Syria hosts Hamas's leader and provides support for the group. The Baathist regime in Damascus also provides military and political support for Hezbollah. Iran's theocrats also provide the Islamic terrorist groups with aid and other support, links America recognizes.The White House spokesman said yesterday, "We also hold Syria and Iran, which have provided long-standing support for Hezbollah, responsible for today's violence."

The situation Israel faces is no different from the situation that led America into Afghanistan and Iraq: You fight the terrorists that threaten you, and their backers, on their home bases rather than waiting for them to come to you. As America and the rest of the world are also threatened by Islamist rule in Gaza, Israel has greater leeway and much more political capital at its disposal than usual. Yesterday's Hezbollah attack on Israel reminded the world of the threat the Jewish State faces — adding even more capital. The time to use it is now. Ariel Sharon probably would.
Or, maybe not. In 2001, when he became prime minister, he refused to take action after some bloody terrorist attacks, such as the one near the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv, and only after awhile was he willing to take action, unsatisfying as it was. But not before he made the Newspeak press statement that, "even restraint is strength."

IDF official Yaakov Amidror provided some info on why he did this, as I posted about in the earlier topic. Because he was so terrified, at his age, of being prosecuted for the corruption he and his son Omri, now rightfully jailed, were responsible for over many years. That aside, if Freedman doesn't know yet, he might be very surprised if he knew that Sharon, who began as a member of the Palmach, had been a most violent man years before, and at one point savagely assaulted Ben-Ami Zamir, a veteran Likud activist, during the time he himself was an Etzel member:
"Sharon would go around with his shovel-handle against us," says Ben-Ami Zamir, who says Sharon struck him in his head - putting in a different light Sharon's warnings about "civil war."

Just two months ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told NBC that Israel is on the brink of a civil-war disaster. "The tension here, the atmosphere here looks like the eve of the civil war," he said. "All my life I was defending the lives of Jews. Now, for the first time, security steps are taken to protect me from Jews."

Revelations by a former Etzel [nationalist army organization] member show that this is not quite true. Ben-Ami Zamir says that Sharon was involved in violence against nationalist Jews during pre-State days, and was forced to run away to protect himself.

The NBC interview promoted the perception that "Jewish settlers" are the main threat to stability in the Middle East. "Israelis are bracing for a violent summer," the narrator opened, "but it's not the Palestinians they are worried about - it’s the Jewish settlers."

Knesset Members from both left and right said that Sharon's remarks about a "civil war" atmosphere and his need for protection from Jews are incendiary and provocative.

Extreme left-wing MK Zahava Gal'on (Meretz/Yahad) accused Sharon of "making cheap and provocative use of threats of civil war." Former Justice Minister Tommy Lapid of the left-wing Shinui Party said, "Remarks like these by the Prime Minister cause more extremism and tension, instead of calming things down. I don't think that such dangers exist."

MK Tzvi Hendel (National Union), a resident of Gush Katif and one of Sharon's most bitter opponents, said, "Sharon is a liar. He knows that the only one who can lead to a civil war is he himself."

Hendel's words received strong backing this week - from a man who himself suffered from Sharon's ideological-based violence. It occurred during the period known as the Saison of the mid-1940's, when left-wing Haganah activists pursued and beat up nationalist Etzel and Lechi activists, and others even turned them over to the hated ruling British forces.

Speaking with Arutz-7's Shimon Cohen, Ben-Ami Zamir, who is today a member of the Likud Party Bureau, gave the following harrowing account:

"I was given the mission of establishing an Etzel cell in our moshavah [townlet] of Magdiel, and I did so. I gathered some youths in our cafe, and I would often give shelter to Etzel men who needed to hide from the British police. Everyone knew everyone, and it was known that I was an Etzel man, as were all my neighbors; residents of the surrounding moshavim were rival Haganah people."

One of these towns was Kfar Malal, home to young Ariel "Arik" Sharon. "One Motzaei Shabbat [Saturday night], a truck arrived at the cafe, and out of it jumped a group of uniformed Haganah men, led by Ariel Sharon holding a hoe-handle. We knew him in the area as someone who always holds a hoe-handle to catch Etzel and Lechi people. They tried to break into the cafe, which was still closed because of the Sabbath. I came close to him, and he said, 'Give me some soda,' and pointed to a box of drinks on the ground. I bent down to the bottles, and then he picked up his arm and smashed me with all his might with the hoe-handle. My head was covered in blood, which dripped down all over me."

Zamir said that a fight ensued, and "for ten minutes, they destroyed everything they could... The next morning, I went to the Sharon home... His mother came out, saw me all bandaged up and immediately realized what was going on. I asked where Arik was, and she said he wasn't home. I said that if I would see him, I would get him. Later people in Kfar Malal told me that he was afraid to go home. We didn't see him again in Magdiel."

Zamir said that this was not the only violent incident against Etzel people in which Sharon was involved. He noted specifically the case of someone named Hayuma, who died six months ago, whose arm was broken by Sharon's gang.

Zamir's story was publicized 15 years ago by Yediot Acharonot reporter Shlomo Nakdimon. That article also quoted similar testimony by Etzel member Daniel Basamnik. "Sharon threatened to sue [following Nakdimon's article]," Zamir told Arutz-7's Cohen, "but for his own reasons decided not to."

Not long ago, Zamir met Sharon at a Likud gathering at the party's headquarters in Metzudat Ze'ev. "Sharon passed me," Zamir said, "and I told him that he would be remembered in history as a traitor. I said that apparently only when a shell lands in his own farm, will he understand what he's doing."
I can only wonder if, had Sharon committed an act of rape against a woman, would he be in the position he was in 2001? But there you have it, Sharon, despite most claims to the contrary, was not a hero, but rather, a violent, bitter, and in the end, broken old man with little more on his mind than powermongering. And, if Freedman knew more about this, I think he too would have to say that Sharon was, contrary to what some have said, just a fraud. And, he ignored poll results.

In fact, here's something worth considering that took place at the time he was PM: Courtesy of EFSI, there's a report on a few 13-year-old girls from Hebron who were unjustly imprisoned for supposedly attacking police while trying to rebuild a shack, but a video recording taped on the area shows otherwise.

An important topic indeed, I must agree. Sharon was responsible for much of that kind of obnoxious behavior of the authorities, and worse.

Update: speaking of all this, here's an older item from 2005 worth pondering: On One Jerusalem's blog, the editors point out how outgoing IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon tried to warn that both Jewish villages and Jerusalem will come under serious attack after a withdrawal from Gaza. One of the respondents provided a link to the interview in the ultra-PC Haaretz, but, as he points out:
"Amazingly, however, in this 4600 word interview not once the word Islamist or Islam or Muslim or jihad is mentioned. In a world in which 99.68 percent of all terror attacks in the last 4 years had been perpetrated by radical Muslims, where in Israel in the last 4 years there had been 143 suicide bombers, all of whom were Muslim Palestinians and none of whom were Christian Palestinians, the Israeli political elite still considers the discussion on militant Islam a taboo topic. This has to stop. The Israeli electorate will only be able to persevere if it clearly understands where the threat is coming from."
Not just that, Sharon himself would not allow Yaalon to present his argument in the cabinet:
"This is the kind of expert testimony Sharon did not permit this effective soldier to annouce at Cabinet meetings. Is the reason why Sharon let him go?"
It most certainly is one of the reasons why some people understandably consider Sharon to be one of the most disrespectful of democratic values in Israel, that's for sure.

Some more stuff...

In this entry, one of the staff writers points out the concern over American government's stance upon Israel:
"There is also concern over changes in American policy. "Why is Bush doing this?" is a common question in conversations. Bush is seen as shifting from friend to task-master: lecturing Israel on what it can or cannot do in relation to the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Today I met with Benjamin Netanyahu, Natan Sharansky, and General Yaakov Armiadror. All expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation."
So is it any wonder that most Israelis don't support Bush?

And, in this entry, the subject of Jerusalem, Jerusalem Day, which is taking place tomorrow, and also how Jews never turned their backs on the great city.

And lastly, in this entry, a request to show support for the new PBS chairman, Ken Tomlinson, who's been trying to push for more balanced coverage of the middle east and Israel:
"Tomlinson's push for fairness is under attack. And emails supporting his effort to the Corporation for Broadcasting are needed if there is to be any hope to curb Israel bashing on PBS."
If you can write to them, do so ASAP, as this is very important also for advancing more balanced news coverage for the sake of the United States' own safety as well.

Update: another similar item: From Townhall.Com in 2005: on Ariel Sharon's volte-face:
But within a year of his landslide victory, Sharon turned 180 degrees. To the shock of friend and foe alike, he embraced Mitzna's plan for a unilateral withdrawal. There was no better option, he insisted. As painful as it might be to force 8,000 Jews out of the homes and communities they had built with the encouragement of successive Israeli governments, continuing the status quo would be even worse.

Sharon claims that a majority of Israelis agree with him, but it is impossible to know, since he has refused to put the issue to a popular vote. On Monday, Israel's parliament backed him up, voting down a proposal to hold a national referendum on what Sharon calls the Gaza ''disengagement." Barring the unexpected, then, the Jews of Gaza will be expelled this summer as Israel's prime minister carries out the very plan he was elected to prevent.
So here we have another example of Sharon's obscene disrespect for democracy. Also, just as important: as reported by Israel National News, police tried to suppress freedom of speech, by preventing members of Bnei Akiva from being able to distribute flyers against the disengagement scheme in Tel Aviv.

It's stuff like this that's led to loss of faith in the police by the Israeli public in the past years. Now they continue it again? What a shame.

Also available at Is it Just Me, The Mudville Gazette, Outside the Beltway, Point Five, Stop the ACLU, Third World County.

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