Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Israeli Coalition Is Dangerous

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Israeli Coalition Is Dangerous

Article excerpt

Sharon alliance with Labor could stall peace struggle

The fact that Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon were the only contenders in Israel's prime ministerial race is a sign of the country's moral bankruptcy. That Sharon won by a margin of 25 percent is an indication that many Israelis have forgotten the lessons of history.

Most people may still remember the Lebanon War, but do not know that its horrific consequences were a result of a Barak-Sharon alliance. The year was 1982, and Ehud Barak, a young general in charge of strategic development, prepared a detailed proposal for the invasion of Lebanon. He handed the plan to Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, who a few months later launched the attack. An estimated 20,000 Lebanese civilians died -- including hundreds of Palestinians massacred in Sabra and Shatila -- and hundreds of thousands were wounded and displaced. Israel's death toll was over 1,000.

Sharon's criminal record, however, did not begin with the Lebanon fiasco, but can be traced back to 1953 when the military unit he commanded attacked El-Bureig refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. An estimated 50 refugees were killed in that operation.

A few months later the same unit carried out a massacre in the Jordanian village of Qibya. U.N. observers who arrived at the scene stated that the "bullet-riddled bodies near the doorways, and multiple bullet hits on the doors of the demolished houses indicated that the inhabitants had been forced to remain inside until their homes were blown up over them." According to Ben-Gurion's biographer, "Seventy corpses were found in the rubble, including dozens of women and children."

As the military commander of Gaza during the 1970s he introduced new methods of brutal repression. Unfortunately, neither these atrocities nor the Sabra and Shatila debacle put an end to his career, so that today a war criminal is occupying Israel's highest office. …

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