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Former IDF General Ariel Sharon Dies at 85 - 8 yrs In Coma

by Oui Sat Jan 11th, 2014 at 08:41:15 AM EST

Ariel Sharon, former Israeli prime minister, dies at 85

(Haaretz) - Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died Saturday after a significant deterioration in his medical condition over the past two weeks. Sharon, who was 85, was comatose for past eight years.

On January 4, 2006, Ariel "Arik” Sharon was at the height of his political power: His newly founded Kadima party had just beat the rival parties to a pulp in pre-elections polls, which predicted it securing 40 Knesset seats in the approaching election.

Then in a single moment, the 78-year-old Sharon fell from the political stage, suffering his second serious stroke within two-and-half weeks and bringing his electoral blitz to a halt. Israel's prime minister was brought to Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem, and his illness soon became the focus of world attention in the frenzied 2006 Israeli elections campaign.

JPost - Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85

My most recent diary about Sharon - The Bulldozer at the Gates of Hell.
My diary about Sharon in 2006 - Ariel Sharon Suffered Cerebral Hemorrhage ¶ Rushed Into ER.
After Gaza withdrawal, an astute plan - Breaking: Sharon Readies Plan for Total West Bank Pullout by '08 ¶ Secret EU Report  Nov. 25, 2005

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is dead after 8 years in coma

(Gulf News) - While Israeli press carried articles praising the man who was the second in line of the founders of Israel, Palestinian media was not that interested.

"They [Palestinian media] is reporting the news, but not very interested because the man [Sharon] is finished long ago," said Palestinian analyst Hani Al Masri in reference to the political end of Sharon.

"But, surely he [Sharon] is an important figure because of the Palestinian blood on his hands and his aggressive colonisation policies," Al Masri told Gulf News.

"Definitely, if the Palestinians will remember him, they will do as a bad person."

Sharon had a "indelible stains on his record," wrote one of the western journalists, referring to many tasks Sharon led, including the "Unit 101", which was a special force in charge of retaliating for attacks on Israeli targets.

In late 1953, a mother and her two children were killed by Palestinian infiltrators at an Israel Kibbutz. Sharon responded with a raid on the Palestinian West Bank of Qibya, which was then under the Jordanian rule. Forty five houses were razed, sixty nine people were killed, most of them were women and children.

He also played an important role in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, when Israel occupied the West Bank from Jordan, Sinai from Egypt and Golan Heights from Syria. He was named in Israel as the "King of Israel". Sharon was also named "Bulldozer".

And when he was a defence minister, he masterminded the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and besieged late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Sharon's picture on a tank in one of Beirut's streets shocked Arabs. Arafat died in 2004 after Sharon besieged his compound in the west Bank for few years. When Sharon was in a coma with no change in his health conditions, many Arabs joked that "Sharon doesn't want to die to meet Arafat".

The massacres that followed the Israeli invasion of Lebanon were even more shocking. Hundreds of Palestinians in both Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in south Beirut -- their number ranged between 800 and 3,500 -- were massacred then by the Phalangist Party.

An official Israeli inquiry found that he carried "personal responsibility" for the massacre of the Palestinians, after the commission found out that Sharon knew about the massacre, which happened in an area under the de facto control of Israel forces.

Many Arabs dub Sharon as a "war criminal" and "terrorist".

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Jan 11th, 2014 at 09:50:38 AM EST
The Arab Onion covered it.
Following the death of former Israel prime minister Ariel Sharon - who has been in a coma since 2006 - plans for the 85-year-old's state funeral have now been released.

According to arrangements made by the Israeli government, Sharon's burial plot is set to displace over 15,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank. The plot, located on the outskirts of Hebron, will take over land lived and farmed by Arabs for at least four centuries and will be surrounded by a five-metre tall concrete wall with armed sentry posts on each corner. It will also be connected to Israel by a four-lane commemorative highway.

"It's what he would have wanted," said a source.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jan 11th, 2014 at 11:08:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Jan 11th, 2014 at 05:19:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Ben-Gurion Interview In Sinai - 1956

Interview with former Israel Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion with Edward R. Murrow completed on Feb 3, 1956 at Sde Boker kibbutz.

Ben Gurion Foresaw Palestinian Expulsion in 1937

(Tikun Olam) - There is much debate among historians and activists about the precise attitude of pre-state Israel's leadership toward the Palestinian minority.  Leading up the 1948 War, how far was David Ben Gurion prepared to go?  Was he an active proponent of the ethnic cleansing campaign that eventually drove nearly 1-million Palestinians from their ancestral homes?  Or was Nakba a combination of the exigencies of war along with an unstated policy adopted by some of its military commanders.

These questions are difficult to answer for two reasons: one, Ben Gurion must've realized if Israel was planning to expel such a large proportion of its non-Jewish population, it could not do so publicly.  For this reason, aside from documents vaguely alluding to the subject, there is no official smoking gun.

For this reason, it's fascinating to read this letter Ben Gurion wrote to his son, Amos in 1937.  In it, he deals with the prospect of partition raised by the British Peel Commission which was meeting at that time.  It would appear, from Ben Gurion's tone in the letter, that he's engaging his son, who's told him that of his emotional reaction to the prospect that the Jews may get less than the territorial mandate they hoped and expected.  Amos appears to be among those holding out for a more maximalist position that would tend to either reject compromise and hold out for more.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Jan 11th, 2014 at 01:33:56 PM EST
Correction: in sub-headline "Sinai" should read Southern Negev between Beersheba and Eilat.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Jan 11th, 2014 at 03:12:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, I may be vulnerable to criticism for the above. Ben-Gurion mentions the turf war between Irgun and Haganah and said Arabs should be considered equal citizens of Israel. He looked towards Asia and buddha for spirituality and moral standing, undoubtedly frustrated by the evil of Europe and war. In the meantime, the new state already was quilty of crimes against humanity due to ethnic cleansing. Ben-Gurion viewed the Palestinians and the 1948 refugees to be re-located in empty areas inside Syria and Iraq. Also Ben-Gurion permitted Ariel Sharon's "Unit 101" to operate with impunity in the Qibya massacre inside Jordanian territory. These terror acts laid the foundation of the state of Israel and the agony of the Palestinians. See link - Ariel Sharon in interview admits role in Qibya massacre. Israel already showed its intent towards neighbouring states in the Lavon affair [Operation Susannah] and in 1956 joined with the British and French in agression against Egypt in the Suez crisis.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Jan 12th, 2014 at 04:26:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By chance came across the reference in Jewish Virtual Library, for a moment my heart stopped beating ...
Reserve Police Battalion 101 was a unit of the German Order Police [Ordnungspolizei or Orpo] that during the Nazi occupation of Poland played a central role in the implementation of the Final Solution against the Jewish people and the repression of the Polish population. Members of the battalion participated in the round-up and expulsion of Jews, Poles and Gypsies, the guarding and liquidation of ghettos, the deportation to concentration camps and the mass shooting of tens of thousands of civilians.

Please tell me this was an unfortunate conjunction.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Jan 12th, 2014 at 05:20:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sharon: An Unfulfilled Dream  by Uri Avnery on January 7, 2006

He was an Israeli Napoleon.

From early youth, he was totally convinced that he was the only person in the world who could save the State of Israel. That was an absolute certainty, free of any doubt. He just knew that he must achieve supreme power, in order to fulfill the mission that fate had entrusted him with.

This belief led to a complete integration of personal egocentrism and national egocentrism. For a person who believes he has such a mission, there is no difference between the personal and the national interest. What is good for him automatically becomes good for the nation, and vice versa. This means that anyone who hinders him from attaining power is really committing a crime against the State. And anyone helping him to come to power, is really doing a patriotic deed.

On his long journey, Sharon easily overcame such hurdles. They did not divert him from his course. Personal tragedies and political defeats did not hold him up for a moment. The accidents that killed his first wife and his oldest son, his dismissal from office after being convicted by a board of inquiry of "indirect responsibility" for the Sabra and Shatila massacres, as well as the many other setbacks, failures and disappointments that struck him throughout the years did not deter him. They did not divert him for an instant from his endeavor to achieve supreme power.

And now it was all coming true. On Wednesday, January 4, 2006, he could be certain that in three months time he would become the sole leader of Israel. He had created a party that belonged to him alone and that was not only on track to occupy a central position in the next Knesset, but also to cut all other parties into pieces.

He was determined to use this power to change the political landscape of Israel altogether and introduce a presidential system, which would have given him an all-powerful position, like that enjoyed by Juan Peron in his heyday in Argentina. Then, at long last, he would be able to realize his historic mission of laying the tracks on which Israel would run for generations, as David Ben-Gurion had done before him.

And then, just when it seemed that nothing could stop him anymore, with cruel suddenness, his own body betrayed him.

What happened resembles a central motif of the Jewish myth: the fate of Moses, whom God punished for his pride by allowing him a glimpse of the Promised Land from afar, but having him die before he could set foot on its soil. On the threshold of absolute power, the stroke hit Ariel Sharon.

While he was still fighting for his life in hospital, the myth of "Sharon's Legacy" was already beginning to form.

As has happened with many leaders who did not leave a written testament, every individual is free to imagine a Sharon of his own. Leftists, who only yesterday had cursed Sharon as the murderer of Kibieh, the butcher of Sabra and Shatila and the man responsible for the plunder and slaughter in the occupied Palestinian territories, began to admire him as the "Man of Peace". Settlers, who had condemned him as a traitor, remembered that it was he who had created the settlements and kept on enlarging them to this day.

Only yesterday he was one of the most hated people in Israel and the world. Today, after the evacuation of Gush Katif, he has become the darling of the public, almost from wall to wall. The leaders of nations crowned him as the "great warrior who has turned into a hero of peace".

Everybody agrees that Sharon has changed completely, that he has gone from one extreme to the other, the proverbial Ethiopian who has changed his skin, the leopard who has changed his spots. All these analyses have only one thing in common: they have nothing to do with the real Ariel Sharon. They are based on ignorance, illusion and self-deception.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Jan 11th, 2014 at 03:55:38 PM EST
Israeli police to investigate `expressions of joy' at Sharon's death

(RT) - The Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch instructed police on Sunday to probe public placards that have appeared proclaiming satisfaction and even joy at the death on Saturday of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The notices were posted in several Yeshivas or religious academies after Sharon's death Saturday.

A message which appeared at the Torat HaChaim yeshiva in central Israel, which was evacuated from a Gaza settlement following Sharon's orders to pull out, read: "A hearty mazal tov to Ariel Sharon upon his demise," the Times of Israel reported. 'Mazal Tov' is a Jewish congratulation at birthdays and other significant events.

 « click for more
Arik Sharon as commander of rag-tag outfit "Unit 101" in revenge attacks (Al Jazeera/Getty Images)

MK Orit Struck from the nationalist-Orthodox Jewish Home Party symbolized the schism Sharon created in Jewish feeling with her comments on Facebook.

"The truth needs to be said," Struck wrote on her Facebook wall. "Sharon was one of the great builders of the land of Israel and one of its great destroyers. [It was] he who knew how to defeat terror and who turned all of southern Israel terror-stricken," she wrote in reference to the continuous rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israeli since the Israeli withdrawal.

"We must also thank God for the fact that Sharon was taken from our public lives before he was able to bring to residents of Judea and Samaria the tragedy he brought to the residents of Gush Katif and around Gaza," she added.

Struck's comments immediately provoked uproar, and she was forced later to issue an apology disguised as a clarification. "I didn't ask for him to get sick, I didn't hope his premiership would end that way and I have no happiness for the way his life ended." But she insisted that his death saved Israel from horrible decline.

The Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Struck's remarks were a "disgusting incitement and embarrass the Knesset. This displays her lack of intelligence. She isn't reflecting what [Sharon] did, it shows she's evil." Livni spoke to Army Radio.

Shaul Schwarz photography: Gaza pullout

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jan 13th, 2014 at 02:48:43 AM EST
His finest hours: On Sharon's murderous legacy

(+972) - From the Qibya massacre, to Sabra and Shatila, to the dirty tricks, lies and deceptions that made the West Bank settlements what they are today, Ariel Sharon has caused unimaginable damage to Israel, its army, morality, and political life.

This is Ariel Sharon as we must remember him: a killer from his youth. He served as the commander of Unit 101, which carried out a series of war crimes, as its members began to admit years later. One of the most well-known was the "reprisal operation" on the West Bank [Jordanian] village of Qibya. (Its official name was Operation Shoshana, named after Shoshana Kanias whose was murder alongside that of her children was the reason given for the operation.) The operation command, written by Sharon in advance of the raid , stated that its goal was to "attack and conquer the village of Qibya, and the achievement of maximal killing and damage to property." His order was carried out in full, and 69 Palestinian civilians were murdered in their homes.

 « click for more info
Inhabitants of Qibya coming back in their village after its attack by israeli forces, October 1953. (Photo: +972)

[In 1955,] Sharon sent some paratroopers to rough up Uri Avnery, editor of the oppositional newspaper Haolam Hazeh, which had raised the ire of the Ben-Gurion's corrupt regime. It isn't clear whether the latter was aware or unaware of Sharon's plans, or merely gave a wink and a nod for the attack.

Three years after Qibya, Sharon led the Paratroopers Brigade into an unnecessary battle at the Mitla Pass in the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula. He never received authorization to attack the narrow pass, so he persuaded the high command to allow him to send a "reconnaissance patrol" to the area. Instead, he sent a whole battalion. The result was a battle in which 38 paratroopers died in vain.

"Terrorism, the Infantile Disease of the Hebrew Revolution" (1945)

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Tue Jan 14th, 2014 at 03:55:42 AM EST
Led to quite a spat with the White House and US State Department:
My diary @BooMan - Israel's Yaalon Tongue Lashing at Kerry Nothing New.
Headlines in Israeli press ...

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Yediot headline: Yaalon says "Kerry is Messianic and Obsessive"

Late two-hour meeting between Ya'alon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the premier's residence in Jerusalem

(Haaretz) - Senior American officials said that the United States was not satisfied with the Israeli government's response to Ya'alon's remarks and expected Netanyahu to issue a public condemnation.

"We expect the Prime Minister to put this right by publicly expressing his disagreement with the statements against Secretary Kerry, the negotiations with the Palestinians and Kerry's commitment to Israel's security," said a senior U.S. official.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jan 15th, 2014 at 06:25:34 AM EST
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jan 16th, 2014 at 10:53:45 AM EST
YnetNews: Gag order lifted

The only senior police officer whose name is mentioned in a statement issued by the Justice Ministry regarding the investigation is officer Menashe Arviv.

The department of internal affairs with the Israel Police stated that "recently, a probe was launched regarding officer Menashe Arviv, following information handed several weeks ago to the attorney general and the state prosecutor, attributing felonies of bribe, from sources affiliated with Rabbi Pinto, to the officer. At this stage, Arviv has yet to be questioned."

FBI investigation

As part of a settlement with the FBI, a blackmail complaint filed by Pinto forced the rabbi to testify against Michael Grimm, a New York Republican Congressman and a former FBI agent. Pinto's agreement with the FBI required that the rabbi's phone be wiretapped and that he would divulge any information regarding financial transaction associated with the Hazon Yishaya organization.

In the last 24 hours, an FBI representative landed in Israel together with recordings, documents, e-mail copies, and other materials that allegedly confirm the claims of Rabbi Pinto in regards to his link to the senior police officers.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jan 16th, 2014 at 10:56:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Israeli Miracle Rabbi Turns State's Witness Against Both Rep. Grimm and Senior Israeli Police Commander  by Richard Silverstein

(Tikun Olam) - Yesterday, an Israeli judge acknowledged the charade that the gag order in the Miracle rabbi case had become.  Not only did I break the gag, but virtually all Israeli publications were nibbling at the edges of the story with tantalizing details leaking out.  Finally, the justice system decided to put a stake through the heart of the gag and it was lifted two hours ago.

Though the subsequent reports confirm much of what I published over the past few days, there is much new evidence, new crimes and, most of all, reams of unanswered questions.   Here is a rough summary of the reporting from the major Israeli dailies: the new character is Israeli police commander, Menashe Arviv [bio], who runs the national police unit for international and serious crimes ["Lahav 433"].  Some have called it the Israeli equivalent of the FBI.  In 2011, Arviv was an Israeli law enforcement liaison based in New York.  There he joined the circle of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, the Moroccan-Israeli "Wonder Rabbi."  Pinto maintains two major centers, one located in his hometown of Ashdod and the other in New York.

The FBI doesn't like putative members of the mob sitting in the halls of Congress.  They want Michael Grimm.  But Grimm is both smart and has powerful friends.  In Israel, he's made lots of friends, possibly even in the prime minister's residence.  Though I don't know yet whether these factors combined, around the time the FBI began pressuring Pinto to testify against Grimm, Israeli police announced charges against Pinto of bribery of an Israeli police officer.  This did not make the FBI happy.  They believed the Israelis were deliberately sabotaging the Grimm investigation.

Pinto agreed to become a prosecution witness against Grimm.  As part of this process, the FBI wiretapped the rabbi's phone and monitored his e-mail and telecommunications.  Though they hoped to catch Grimm in this web, instead they caught Israeli police, and even a cabinet minister I identified yesterday as Yaakov Neeman, the justice minister, threatening Pinto.  A Maariv reporter confirmed (Hebrew) today my suspicion on this count was correct.

Cross-posted from my diary @BooMan - Israel's Yaalon Tongue Lashing at Kerry Nothing New.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jan 16th, 2014 at 11:00:52 AM EST
It's Jew vs. Jew as Iran Sanctions Fight Gets Ugly  by J.J. Goldberg

(Forward) - The debate over the Menendez-Kirk Iran sanctions bill in the Senate just keeps getting uglier. And now the nastiness is seeping - make that pouring - right into the heart of the Jewish community, as liberals and conservatives trade accusations of bullying, maligning, smearing and even "destroying" opponents.

On January 9, the newly appointed executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Rabbi Jack Moline, accused two of the most influential national Jewish organizations, AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee, of pressuring senators to support the bill despite the strong objections of President Obama. Moline told JTA that the two agencies were using "strong-arm tactics, essentially threatening people that if they don't vote a particular way, that somehow that makes them anti-Israel or means the abandonment of the Jewish community."

 « click for story
AIPAC president Michael Kassen, left, and executive director Howard Kohr,
meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
(photo: Amos Ben Gershom)

On Tuesday Moline dialed the accusation back a step or two. He told me he'd subsequently had a conversation with David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, who assured him that AJC wasn't applying the sort of pressure he described. Moline said he hadn't heard directly from AIPAC, but he's taking Harris's denial as applying to both agencies, "and I take them at their word."

"The situation seems to be that citizen-advocates are using the organizations' names and initials without the encouragement of those organizations," Moline said. Unfortunately, the calls and emails from rank and file pro-Israel activists speaking in the name of the two organizations appear to have created an impression on Capitol Hill that these "strong-arm tactics" are at the behest of the agencies themselves.

AIPAC says it won't freeze Iran sanctions lobbying

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 05:06:15 AM EST
Letter t the Editor:

In "The Ticking Mideast Clock" (editorial, Jan. 4), you rightly praise the dedication of Secretary of State John Kerry in bringing an end to a conflict that has divided Palestinians and Israelis for more than 60 years. Where I take issue with your editorial is in the moral equivalence it implies between the Palestinian government's position and that of the Israeli government.

In 1988, Mahmoud Abbas, now the Palestinian president, and others, including me, played a critical role in the decision made by his predecessor, Yasir Arafat, to agree to a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. In stark contrast, the Israeli government continues actively to build settlements throughout the occupied West Bank, diminishing the chances for a two-state solution.

Moreover, your editorial implies a false symmetry between Israeli settlement expansion and Palestinian threats to take this issue to the World Court if negotiations fail. Both international law and longstanding United States policy consider settlement activity to be illegal. If the World Court is the only forum left to us, we will surely turn to the courts to prevent actions that undermine any hope for a peaceful solution to our conflict with the Israelis.

Nablus, West Bank, Jan. 8, 2014

The writer is a businessman and philanthropist.  

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 03:32:33 PM EST

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