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Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign

An obituary to Sharon - a mastermind of massacres and apartheid maps

Ariel Sharon - the ‘butcher of Sabra and Shatila’ - is dead. Unfortunately his legacy still lives on. While Israeli main media outlets unanimously praise the ‘national hero’, for the Palestinian and Arab people, it’s truly time for mourning. Hardly anyone in the Israeli leadership evokes so much pain in their collective memory.
 
Sharon’s life story as a military commander and politician is one of exceptional cruelty and the line of bloodshed he has created is too long to list it all. Already in the 1950 he was appointed head of Unit 101, the secretive battalion tasked with ‘operations of retaliation’. Commanding Unit 101 he was responsible for the Qibiya massacre, that left 69 civilians dead when they destroyed the village detonating houses with their inhabitants inside. He oversaw the the 1982 massacre of the Palestinian population in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in the South of Lebanon. A massacre that even by Israeli standards is beyond the norm: in a three day lasting slaughter some 3500 refugees were brutally assassinated. It was him as prime minister to lead the 2002 reinvasion of the West Bank, including the brutal massacre and destruction of the refugee camp in Jenin. No one better than Arial Sharon impersonates the brutality and inhumane racism that characterizes Israeli history.  
 
Beyond this, Ariel Sharon is a symbol of Israel’s impunity. He himself told BBC News in 2002 that "Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial". His believe in absolute impunity was not unfounded. He himself has evaded any trial for his crimes. When Belgium lawyers attempted to try him, Belgium changed its legislation to stop the case from proceeding. When Spanish and later UK lawyers tried to try Israeli war criminals, they changed the laws as well. When the Goldstone report accused Israel of war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity in the 2008/9 massacre against Gaza, it had no consequences. After the killings of the activists of the Freedom Flotilla, UN secretary-general killed the issue at the start appointing Colombia’s ex-president Alvaro Uribe, who himself has an impressive record of repression of human rights defenders, as vice-chair of the investigation committee.  
 
Finally, Ariel Sharon needs to be remembered for his longterm vision and capacity to implement it. He was a key executer in the Israeli illegal settlement enterprise encouraging and aiding anybody to ‘go and grab every hilltop’ to ensure a Palestinian state would never be possible. Sharon was housing minister during the early beginnings of the Oslo process and understood the essence of the agreements well: the map of areas A,B and C would be the blueprint for the full control of all of the Palestinian land by Israel. Sharon knew that ongoing occupation is economically and politically unsustainable and in 2003 he publicly announced that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza ‘is bad for Israel’. He had a better plan on how to control the entire territory of historic Palestine on the long term without having to worry about the 3.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza: the South African Bantustan model.  
 
In 2003 Ariel Sharon is quoted in Haaretz as presenting the Bantustan model as the ‘most appropriate solution to the conflict’. Sharon’s map at that time apparently presented already the idea of 10 tiny, overcrowded and tightly controlled Bantustans for Palestinians. This map was the map fo the apartheid Wall surrounding area A defined in the Oslo Agreement. Since 2002 the construction of the apartheid Wall, which is to literally cement the borders of these Bantustans in the West Bank, had started under his command. The first fully fledged piece of these Bantustans is Gaza, which after the Israeli settlers were re-deployed into the West Bank, turned into a cruel the laboratory for the West Bank.   
 
Ariel Sharon lay for eight years already in coma but his criminal legacy continues as an integral part of the overall Israeli strategy of colonization, expansionism, ethnic cleansing and military control of the remaining ‘unwanted’ population. Yet, no injustice will live forever.

Carlos Latuff
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