Ariel Sharon: Profile of an
Unrepentant War Criminal
by Jeffrey Steinberg
Editor's Note: This introductory article appeared in the May 17, 2002 issue of Executive Intelligence Review. The following supporting material is drawn from previously published reports:
Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, is currently facing possible war crime prosecutions for two massacres that occurred 20 years apart: the September 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, and the April 2002 Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) mass killings in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.
Sharon is, without doubt, guilty of these crimes against humanity, and others. He is also unrepentant. For him, these mass killings are merely necessary steps on the path toward his objective of a "Final Solution" to the "Palestinian problem," through the mass expulsion and/or extermination of the more than 3 million Palestinians and Arabs now living in Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. Under various labels, Sharon and a rogues gallery of collaborators inside Israel, Britain, and the United States, are now moving toward the final phase of their "mass transfer" plans for the Palestinians and Arabs.
EIR has "written the book" on Sharon's blood-soaked career for over 30 years. (See 1994 Profile.) As a service to the current worldwide debate on his government's fascist actions, we provide this summary dossier on the Israeli mass murderer. This summary is linked to a compendium of earlier exposés of Sharon and his partners in crime.
The Sharon File
Sharon was born in Kfar Malal in 1928. At the age of 14, he joined the Haganah, and at 20, headed an infantry company in the Alexandroni Brigade during the 1948 War of Independence, during which the Israeli forces drove an estimated 300,000 Palestinians from their land, using some of the same genocidal methods against unarmed civilian populations that were used in the recent IDF invasion of the Palestinian Authority's Area A territory.
In 1953, Sharon founded "Unit 101," a secret death squad within the IDF that committed several mass murders of civilians. In October 1953, Sharon's "Unit 101" massacred 66 innocent civilians during a cross-border raid into the Jordanian West Bank village of Qibya. Under intense machine-gun fire, local residents were driven into their homes, which were then blown up around them, killing the occupants by burying them alive in piles of rubble. The April 2002 IDF massacre at the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin was, in fact, modeled on Sharon's "Unit 101" operations at Qibya.
On Oct. 18, 1953, the U.S. State Department issued a bulletin denouncing the Qibya massacre, demanding that those responsible be "brought to account." Instead, Sharon was rewarded for his war crimes by having his "Unit 101" absorbed into the Israeli paratroop corps. By 1956, Sharon had been appointed paratroop brigade commander.
Between Feb. 28, 1955 and Oct. 10, 1956, a Sharon-led paratrooper brigade conducted similar cross-border invasions into Gaza, Egypt, and the West Bank in Jordan. At the West Bank village of Qalqilya, Sharon's death squad killed 83 people.
During the 1956 joint British, Israeli, and French invasion of the Suez Canal, Sharon and his lifelong collaborator in mass murder, Rafael Eytan, carried out another horrific war crime: In three separate incidents, Sharon- and Eytan-led units murdered Egyptian prisoners of war, as well as civilian Sudanese workers who had been captured. All told, 273 unarmed prisoners were executed and dumped into mass graves. When the story broke, nearly 40 years later, in the Aug. 16, 1995 London Daily Telegraph, it nearly ruptured Israeli-Egyptian relations. This was less than three months before Sharon would bloody his hands once again, by orchestrating the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin, in Sharon's eyes, had committed the mistake of signing a peace treaty with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
During the 1960s, Sharon's military career advanced. In 1964, he was appointed to head the IDF's Northern Command; in 1966, he took charge of the Army Training Department; in 1969, he was named commander of the IDF's Southern Command.
In 1972, at the urging of American organized crime figure and leading right-wing Zionist Meshulam Riklis, Sharon resigned from the IDF (he was recalled, briefly, to active duty during the 1973 Yom Kippur War) to run for the Knesset (parliament). Henceforth, Sharon would be wedded to leading international organized crime figures associated with the Meyer Lansky National Crime Syndicate in the United States, and allied Jewish mafia figures from Israel and Russia.
Even at the end of his career, Sharon was still running death squads. On Sept. 25, 1997, Israeli Television Channel One interviewed Benny Golan, a veteran of the Rimon Unit, which Sharon had created and deployed in the early 1970s in the Gaza Strip to carry out targetted assassinations of Palestinian "militants." Golan described the assassination program, and reported that members of the unit frequently "disguised themselves as Arabs" for "special operations." Other sources reported, at the time, that the "special operations" included terrorist attacks on Israeli Jewish targets to justify "retaliatory strikes" against pre-selected Palestinian and Arab targets.
Far from ending his career of mass butchery, Sharon's resignation from the IDF coincided with the launching of an even more ambitious criminal enterprise that would see thousands of Palestinians killed and wounded as part of the "Eretz Israel," or "Greater Israel" drive to permanently annex all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heightsand resettle these areas with Russian and other Jewish immigrants, after the Palestinians have been eliminated.
Sharon entered the Knesset in December 1973, at the very moment that the Israeli government lifted the ban on private sales of West Bank land to Israelis. The Knesset decision was brought about by a heavy lobbying effort by Sharon colleague and former Police Minister Yehezkel Sahar. The very first "private" purchase was for the construction of a residential community for retired IDF officers. The partners in the deal included Sahar, Gen. Reshavam Ze'evi, Sharon publicist Eli Landau, and Avraham Mintz, a founder of the fanatical settlers movement Gush Emunim.
In June 1974, Sharon personally led a group of settlers to establish an illegal outpost near the West Bank town of Nablus. It was the first of many such ventures that Sharon would sponsor, under the rhubric of the drive to "Judaize the territories."
Sharon's political career continued to advance. In 1975, Prime Minister Rabin appointed Sharon as his personal security adviser. Then, the Likud was swept into power in the 1977 elections, and Prime Minister Menachim Begin named Sharon as Minister of Agriculture. In that capacity, Sharon launched a massive expansion of Jewish "agricultural settlements" throughout the West Bank and Gaza. During 1977-81, more than 25,000 new settlersmostly members of the Gush Emunimmoved into the occupied territories. The Gush Emunim settlers formed into death squads explicitly modelled on Sharon's old "Unit 101." They would play a pivotal role in a filthy Anglo-American Zionist criminal enterprise known as "Landscam."
In 1979, the Israeli Supreme Court ratified the private land purchases in the occupied territories, and immediately, Sharon's mafia cronies set up several real estate ventures, under such names as Jumbo, Samarea and Judea, and Meteor. In 1980, Sharon and Yuval Ne'eman formed an organization, Prevention of Emergence of Another Arab Country in Eretz Israel (PEACE), to press the issue of permanent Israeli annexation of the occupied territories. The group included a number of notables from Israel and the United States, who would remain part of the extended Sharon mafia family for years to come: Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, Jewish Defense League (JDL) founder Joseph Churba, Young Israel director Harold Jacobs, Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith general counsel Arnold Forster, right-wing Knesset member and Rabbi Meir Kahane patron Geula Cohen, and Roni Milo.
Sharon toured the United States in 1980, lining up financing for a massive real estate grab. But first, Sharon launched a campaign of terror against the Palestinians in the West Bank, to literally scare them into leaving their land. In the Spring of 1982, Sharon hosted a planning meeting at his Negev desert ranch, which had been purchased for him by Riklis. Riklis, Henry Kissinger, Louis Mortimer Bloomfield, Rafi Eytan, General Ze'evi, Arieh Genger, Herbert Brin, and Eli Landau attended the session, according to an eyewitness account. Within days of the meeting, Gush Emunim and JDL terrorists began attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank. "Landscam" was under way.
"Landscam" coincided with Sharon's invasion of Lebanon, which began on June 4, 1982, and was aimed at wiping out the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had established its base in several camps near Beirut. Between June 4 and Aug. 31, 1982, the IDF, under Sharon's direction (Begin had named him Minister of Defense the previous year), killed a total of 19,025 Palestinians and wounded 30,032 in a military campaign that Sharon called "Operation Peace in Galilee." Under immense pressure from the Reagan Administration, Sharon abandoned plans to assassinate Arafat, and, on Aug. 21, 1982, he allowed the PLO to evacuate 15,600 fighters from Lebanon, under an American-brokered cease-fire.
On Sept. 15, Sharon broke the cease-fire agreement, and the next day, launched a "purification" campaign against the refugee camps of Sabra, Shatila, and Burj El Barajneh. Falangist death squadsprotected by the IDF, which encircled the campsmassacred unarmed women, children, and elderly.
On Sept. 19, 1982, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 521, harshly condemning the massacres at the camps. In a distant mirror of the current genocide in Jenin, Ramallah, and Bethlehem, Sharon ignored the international condemnations. Today, Sharon faces war crimes prosecution in court in Belgium for his role in the Sabra and Shatila massacres, as the result of a lawsuit filed on June 18, 2001 by 23 survivors of the attacks.
On Oct. 15, 1982, a month after the 1982 massacres, Sharon held meetingsin the Chouf Mountains of Lebanon and at his Negev ranchwith Falange leader Camille Chamoun, Uri Dan, Rupert Murdoch, Charles Douglas-Home, and others, to move the "Landscam" West Bank real estate grab forward. On Nov. 15, 1982, a final meeting took place on several real estate purchases, mostly through Arab middle-men, to push the massive expansion of Jewish settlements throughout the West Bankat a handsome profit. Attending the meeting at Sharon's ranch were: Kissinger, Lord Harlech (Sir David Ormsby-Gore), Johannes von Thurn und Taxis, Tory Parliamentarian Julian Amery, Sir Edmund Peck, and MI-6 Mideast mandarin Nicholas Elliot.
The Kahane Commission, an Israeli body convened to investigate the Sabra and Shatila mass murders, found Sharon to be complicit in the crimes, and he was fired by Prime Minister Begin as Defense Minister shortly after the report's release. But Sharon landed on his feet. In 1984, after the fall of the Begin government and the establishment of a Likud-Labor national unity government, Sharon was appointed Minister of Trade and Industry, a position he held until 1990, when he was named Minister of Construction and Housing, a post that enabled him to continue as the leading sponsor of the massive expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. During Sharon's tenure in various government ministries, the number of Jewish settlers soared to more than 110,000.
In January 1986, Edgar Bronfman, the Jewish mafia don and president of the World Jewish Congress, admitted, in a New York Post interview, that he was negotiating on behalf of the Israeli government with Moscow, to secure Soviet permission for 400,000 Jews to emigrate to Israelin return for massive shipments of grain to the Soviet Union. The deal was cynically dubbed "Jews for wheat," in recognition that this scheme was leading to the annexation of the occupied lands by Israel. A year earlier, in another sop to the American- and British-based Jewish criminal interests bankrolling Sharon's "Judiazation" scheme, the Knesset had passed laws dropping all restrictions on cash flows into Israeli banksso long as the money was invested in Israel.
Hamas: Another Sharon Asset
During his postings in the Likud governments during 1977-92, Sharon had not only been the "rabbi" of the Gush Emunim and Kach Movement/JDL Jewish underground terrorist organizations. He also played a pivotal role in the creation of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group, which was formally founded in 1988. Under the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, an estimated 800 "licenses" were handed out to Palestinians, to create schools, infirmaries, food kitchens, and other social service programs. Sharon made sure that all these licenses were given to Islamists, many of whom would be Hamas founders, as a way of creating a "countergang" ruling structure to eventually supplant the power of the PLO inside the occupied territories. Sharon's sponsorship of Hamas has become a public scandal in recent months, particularly since the publication of stories in EIR in the past year, exposing these links, and detailing Sharon's plans to use Hamas as part of his "Jordan is Palestine" drive for mass transfer.
Killing the 'Peace of the Brave'
When Rabin was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1992, the former Sharon ally in the war on the Palestinians had the courage to admit that his underlying assumptions were wrong, and would lead to the destruction of Israel. He entered into secret peace talks with Arafat, which culminated in the August 1993 signing of the Oslo Peace Accords, in the presence of U.S. President William Clinton at the White House.
Instantly, Sharon declared war on the Oslo Accords and on Prime Minister Rabin. The entire "Landscam" gang joined Sharon in assailing the peace initiative. On Sept. 11, 1993, Kissinger told CBS News interviewers that Oslo was "unworkable." Several weeks later, Kissinger told the Institute for Jewish Affairs in London that Jordan would soon fall into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists and Olso would be crusheda not-so-veiled reference to Sharon's Hamas assets, which would soon launch a terror wave against Oslo in tandem with Sharon's Jewish underground.
On Oct. 11, 1993, Bertram and Herbert Zweibon, co-founders of Americans for a Safe Israel, a Sharonist front, held a conference in Crystal City, Virginia to launch a campaign to destroy Osloand its sponsors. Five days later, Sharon delivered a speech calling for the settlers to launch a resistance to the sellout.
Sharon rushed to the United States and embarked on a nationwide tour on Nov. 14, 1993, in which he declared that the 150,000 Jewish settlers were the "only barrier to a Palestinian state." Sharon was accompanied, throughout the tour, by Yechial Leiter, a leader of the JDL in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. While in the United States, Sharon raised millions of dollars for the Kiryat Arba "resistance" from such right-wing Zionist patrons as Florida and California bingo parlor magnate Irving Moscowitz and former Reagan Administration Ambassador to Austria and perfume heir, Ronald Lauder.
Sharon's fundraising paid off. On Feb. 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an IDF reservist and leader of Kiryat Arba, massacred 50 Palestinian worshipers at the Cave of the Patriarch holy site. Goldstein had been Rabbi Meir Kahane's Knesset campaign manager at Kiryat Arba.
In March 1994, some 200 rabbis, led by Avraham Shapira, staged a rally at Kiryat Arba and issued a religious edict, ordering resistance against any attempt by the Rabin government to dismantle any settlements. On March 31, 1994, Sharon and Yitzhak Shamir, the former Likud Prime Minister and Stern Gang terrorist, led a rally of 10,000 people attacking Oslo. ADL National Chairman Abe Foxman told the Jerusalem Post on April 2, 1994 that Rabin was "undermining organized Jewish clout" in America, through his peace antics.
Rabin was assassinated on Nov. 4, 1995 by a West Bank settler, Yigal Amir, who came from Sharon's terror hub, Kiryat Arba.
On Jan. 26, 1997, Sharon returned, triumphal, to Kiryat Arba, to deliver new marching orders to the heirs of "Unit 101." If Arafat declared a unilateral Palestinian state in the territory of the West Bank and Gaza under Palestinian Authority control, the settlers should join in the drive to annex all of Judea and Samaria. At the time, Sharon was Minister of National Infrastructure, a super-ministerial post that had been created for him by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sharon's sometimes ally and sometimes rival for power in the Likud. During 1996-99, Sharon's tenure as Minister of National Infrastructure, the settlers population in the occupied territories soared to more than 200,000.
Netanyahu's fall from power in 1999, and his replacement by a Labor government headed by former IDF chief Ehud Barak, signalled that the Oslo peace process that Sharon was dedicated to destroying, was back on the table.
After the failure of the July 2000 Camp David II negotiations to reach a final settlement, more intense private negotiations between the Barak government and the Palestinian Authority began under a number of venues. Talks took place in New York City, and later, at the resort of Taba, Egypt, producing a final accord, in draft, that would have formed a just and viable basis for two sovereign states, Israel and Palestine. The thorny issues of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, the status of the holy sites in Jerusalem, and of creating two capitals within the extended city limits of Jerusalem, were, according to several Arab and Israeli diplomatic sources, worked out in principle by January 2001. These final points, memorialized in the talking points brought to the final sessions by President Clinton, could be revived today as a basis for reaching a just solution, in the view of many Mideast diplomats familiar with the document.
But Sharon and his backers would have nothing of this.
In September 2000, Sharon visited New York City, where he met with Lauder and other supporters and financiers. He returned to Israel, reportedly with a large amount of cash to be disbursed to settlers' terrorist cells. Sharon personally staged the decisive provocation, by visiting the Islamic holy sites on al-Haram al-Sharif, what the Israelis call the Temple Mount, on Sept. 26, 2000. Sharon was accompanied by more than 1,000 Israeli troops and paramilitary police. It was a flagrant provocation, an assertion of Israeli permanent control over the sacred sites of Islam, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
With that visit, Sharon provoked the "Al Aqsa Intifada," and within days, the entire Holy Land was again awash in the blood of Palestinian protesters. By January 2001, the Barak government would fall, and, on Feb. 6, 2001, Sharon, who had taken over the Likud party in September 1999, was elected Prime Minister of Israel, ready to launch his final drive for "Greater Israel." (See ``The Insanity of Bush and Sharon: The Bentham Syndrome,'' by Lyndon LaRouche.)