Saturday, 11 January 2014

Ariel Sharon has died - he married two sisters from Brasov

After eight years in a coma (how time flies) Ariel Sharon has died. I did not know he married two sisters from Brasov. The story is here.
A young general in 1969, before he became obese.
The Daily Telegraph, as usual, has a peerless obituary. I was interested to learn that Menachem Begin said of Sharon: 
'He’s a brilliant general, but a vicious man.'
He will be remembered for three things. 

During the 1982 Lebanon War, while Sharon was Israeli Defence Minister, between 800 and 3,500 Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps were killed by the Lebanese Christian Phalange. An official Israeli government enquiry found that the entry of the Phalangists into the camps was personally approved by Sharon. 

After the huge bloodshed in Iraq and Syria, these massacres, alas, no longer cause much outrage even among Arabs. This is so obvious that, surprisingly, even an article in a Saudi newspaper makes the point. The article says,

"...we find that, despite the horrific acts of massacre he carried out against the Palestinians, the number of his Arab victims is nowhere near that of the number of Arabs who have been murdered by tyrannical Arab [rulers] or killed in suicide bombings carried out by Arab terrorist groups. This is the truth, whose shame will haunt us throughout history."

In 2000 Sharon's visit to the holy Muslim site in Jerusalem, the Temple Rock, is usually thought to have caused the Second Intifada, the second uprising by Palestinian Arabs. This however is disputed. It may well have been planned anyway.

In 2005 he pulled Israeli forces out of the Gaza Strip.

When I heard the news that Sharon had died, Belloc's lines ran through my mind,
'While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged.
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.'
But perhaps this is too harsh. Begin and Shamir really did deserve hanging for their terrorism under British rule, yet they signed the Camp David accord that made peace with Egypt and Jordan. Sharon did pull out of Gaza. Could he have achieved a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem had he not had his stroke shortly afterwards? Probably not but possibly - nobody knows.

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