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The following article was posted on Kim Bullimore’s blog at

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Butcher of Beirut: On the death of Ariel Sharon – War Criminal, Ethnic Cleanser and Mass Murderer.

Time 

Dear friends, 
as you will no doubt be aware, Ariel Sharon – the Butcher of Beirut – has died.  In the wake of his death, we are now seeing widespread attempts both in Israel and internationally to rehabilitate and whitewash his actions and legacy.  Sharon has been described by various mainstream media outlets as “flawed”, “controversial”, “complicated” and even a “peacemaker” and “hero”.   Ariel Sharon, however, was none of these things. 

Ariel Sharon was a mass murder, who was responsible for the death of up to 3000 Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon in 1982. He was a mass murder, who was responsible for the death of 70 Palestinians in Qibya in 1953 and many more in Jenin and across the West Bank in 2002. Sharon was a mass murder who was responsible for the death of thousands of Palestinians over several decades. He was a racist, an ethnic cleanser, genocidist and war criminal. 

While Israeli politicians, mainstream media (both in Israel and internationally) attempt to whitewash his legacy, Human Rights Watch has correctly noted that:

Ariel Sharon died without facing justice for his role in the massacres of hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians by Lebanese militias in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. The killings constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity.

While Sharon’s human rights abuses and war crimes are legion, it is the massacre of unarmed Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camp which he is most infamous for.  In 1982, supposedly in retaliation for the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador in London, Israel invade Lebanon. The assassination attempt, however, was not carried out by Arafat’s PLO but by a rival militant group. Israel, who wanted to oust the PLO from Lebanon, used the attempted assassination to launch an invasion supposedly in the name of destroying the PLO. On 6 June 1982, under the direction Israel’s Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, the Zionist state began its invasion and occupation of Lebanon, sending in more than 60,000 troops. 

In the wake of the assassination of Lebanese President, Bashir Gemayel, who was killed by a member of the Syrian Nationalist Party, Israeli troops surrounded the twin refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila on September 15. Commanding officers from Israel’s Occupation Forces (IOF) were stationed in a number of highrise buildings, allowing them a panoramic view of the two camps for the next three days. From September 15 through to September 16, Israel carried out non-stop shelling of the two camps, which was home to 20,000 unarmed Palestinian refugees. On the afternoon of September 16, 150 Christian Phalangists, trained by and under the direction and control of the Israeli forces, entered the camps. The Israeli military cordoned off the camps ensuring no-one could escape. For the next 40 hours, with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Israel military, the Phalangist forces tortured, brutalised, raped and massacred the unarmed inhabitants of Sabra and Shatila.

On September 18, the first western journalists were able enter the camps. They saw first hand the tortured and mutilated bodies of the refugees. Robert Fisk, one of the first foreign journalists to enter Sabra and Shatila wrote that what he and his fellow journalists found what could only described as “a war crime”

In his book, Pity the Nation, Fisk recalled that:

“Jenkins and Tveit [fellow journalists] were so overwhelmed by what we found in Chatila that at first we were unable to register our own shock. Bill Foley of AP had come with us. All he could say as he walked round was “Jesus Christ” over and over again. We might have accepted evidence of a few murders; even dozens of bodies, killed in the heat of combat. But there were women lying in houses with their skirts torn up to their waists and their legs wide apart, children with their throats cut, rows of young men shot in the back after being lined up at an execution wall. There were babies – blackened babies because they had been slaughtered more than 24-hours earlier and their small bodies were already in a state of decomposition – tossed into rubbish heaps alongside discarded US army ration tins, Israeli army equipment and empty bottles of whiskey”.

Images of the Shatila and Sabra massacre

Images of the Shatila and Sabra massacre

ShatilaFisk went on to recounted how:

“Down a laneway to our right, no more than 50 yards from the entrance, there lay a pile of corpses. There were more than a dozen of them, young men whose arms and legs had been wrapped around each other in the agony of death. All had been shot point-blank range through the cheek, the bullet tearing away a line of flesh up to the ear and entering the brain. Some had vivid crimson or black scars down the left side of their throats. One had been castrated, his trousers torn open and a settlement of flies throbbing over his torn intestines”.

“The eyes of these young men were all open. The youngest was only 12 or 13 years old. They were dressed in jeans and coloured shirts, the material absurdly tight over their flesh now that their bodies had begun to bloat in the heat. They had not been robbed. On one blackened wrist a Swiss watch recorded the correct time, the second hand still ticking round uselessly, expending the last energies of its dead owner”.

“On the other side of the main road, up a track through the debris, we found the bodies of five women and several children. The women were middle-aged and their corpses lay draped over a pile of rubble. One lay on her back, her dress torn open and the head of a little girl emerging from behind her. The girl had short dark curly hair, her eyes were staring at us and there was a frown on her face. She was dead”.

“Another child lay on the roadway like a discarded doll, her white dress stained with mud and dust. She could have been no more than three years old. The back of her head had been blown away by a bullet fired into her brain. One of the women also held a tiny baby to her body. The bullet that had passed into her breast had killed the baby too. Someone had slit open the woman’s stomach, cutting sideways and then upwards, perhaps trying to kill her unborn child. Her eyes were wide open, her dark face frozen in horror”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pWwkVfbY10&feature=player_embedded

The massacre shocked the world. Israel’s Prime Minister Menachim Begin was forced to resign. In December 1982, the UN declared the massacre to be an act of genocide (despite the fact that all Western democracies abstained on the vote). An Israeli judicial commission found that the Israeli military had abandon its duty of care and that Ariel Sharon was “personally responsible” for the massacre. However, neither Sharon or any member of the Israeli military or the Christian Phalange were every punished for the war crimes they facilitated and carried out. In 2001, the Butcher of Sabra and Shatila, Ariel Sharon became the Prime Minister of Israel.

During his time as Prime Minister of Israel, Israel’s Occupation Forces killed more than 1,430 Palestinian civilians and illegally demolished.hundreds of Palestinian homes in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza.  Sharon’s decision to unilaterally “disengage” from Gaza was not an act of peace, as Israeli politicians and much of the mainstream media have argued. Instead, it was simply an attempt to sure up Israel’s control of the Occupied West Bank and facilitate Israel’s ongoing colonisation of the West Bank and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the region. 

As Human Rights Watch has noted:

In 2005 he ordered Israel’s withdrawal of nearly 8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of four West Bank settlements, but during his term as prime minister, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, increased from roughly 388,000 to 461,000. The transfer by an occupying power of its civilians into an occupied territory is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and a potential war crime.
Israel’s disengagement from Gaza did not end the occupation of Gaza, it just changed how Israel facilitated the occupation.  Rather than carrying out an occupation by stationing troops on the ground inside Gaza, Sharon withdraw Israeli troops and turned Gaza into an open air prison controlled by Israel from the outside.

As Robert Fisk has noted in the wake of Sharon’s death that the main stream toadying journalists have rushed to “remake history” and whitewash Sharon’s image, actions and legacy (to read Fisk’s full article, please click here  and to read his 30th anniversary report on the massacre, click here

Sharon’s brutality, cruelty and legacy, however, can not be whitewashed no matter how much Israel’s apologist try.   

In the wake of Sharon’s death, it is important that we remember and mourn  Sabra, Shatila and Qibya and the thousands of others of who died at Sharon’s hands.  However, even more importantly, in the wake of Sharon’s death, our resolve should be to take a stand and organise against Netanyahu and all those who continue Sharon’s legacy today.  One way we can do this is by joining and actively getting involved in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. 

Demand justice, human rights and self-determination for the people of Palestine and boycott Israel.

In solidarity, Kim

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Zionist Double Speak

According to Benjamin Netanyahu, everyone knows that the pre-Six Day War borders between Israel and the West Bank are militarily indefensible for Israel. How one comes to such a conclusion is beyond me. If the pre-67 borders are indefensible then how is it that Israel managed to exist with those borders from 1949 to 1967 without being destroyed? How is it that Israel was even able to not only defend itself in the Six Day War when those borders were in place, but managed to defeat the Arab armies and actually increase its territory?

Apparently if Israel goes back to the borders it had with the West Bank in 1967, the Israeli military, the best equipped and trained defense force in the region by a mile, will suddenly not be able to defend the citizens of Israel from attack. Its 200 nuclear missiles will disarm themselves and the billions of dollars of military hardware paid for by the U.S. will become inoperable. If Israel goes back to the 67 borders then the international community, including the U.S., will not be able to stop the Arab nations from attacking the Zionist state. Despite the fact that both Hamas and Fatah (as well as all 21 Arab nations) have agreed to a full peace treaty and recognition of Israel if they go back to the pre-67 borders, the Zionist belief that all Arabs will attack Israel must be accepted by everyone.How is it that maintaining the occupations will deter Arab violence, when the Israelis maintain that they have been the victims of Arab violence and hatred while the occupation has been in place? How would ending the occupation act to inflame the Arabs even more? Is Netanyahu crazy?

Netanyahu must decide whether Israel means to permanently occupy the West Bank or not. His complaint that going back to the 67 borders will cut off the settlements from Israel is totally offensive. Did Israel not realize that from day one of the occupation? The words of Ariel Sharon in 1973 should clearly reveal Zionist duplicity on this matter:

“We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement in between Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody will be able to tear it apart.”

The illegal settlements created by Israel since 1967 were made to end any chance of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu’s words only add further confirmation (as if any were needed) of the reality of  Zionist lies and duplicity. The statements by Netanyahu that Israel is ready to make generous concessions to the Palestinians is as offensive as it is false. Netanyahu needs to be reminded that allowing Palestinian rights to equality and self determination are not  generous gifts from Israel, but is what Israel is mandated to do by international law and the very word of God.

The real reason that Israel does not want to go back to the pre-67 borders is simply that it will have to give back part of what it has stolen. I have never come across a thief to this day that was happy to give back what they had taken so much trouble to steal. All thieves need to arm themselves against their enemies, their acts only create enemies and their “friends” (often just more thieves) desert them when trouble comes.

Zionist greed for Palestine knows no sense or reason. The 1947 partition plan was a “great deal” for them at the time. They were given 55% of the land when they consisted of only 30% of the population and over 80% of them had arrived in the last 25 years. But this was not enough for them. David Ben Gurion stated in his diaries:

“The Jewish State now being offered to us is not the Zionist objective. Within this area it is not possible to solve the Jewish question. But it can serve as a decisive stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation. It will consolidate in Palestine, within the shortest possible time, the real Jewish force which will lead us to our historic goal.”

After the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homes in 1948, Israel was granted another 23% of Palestine even though this land had been obtained during the course of a war and hence was illegally acquired. Israel should have never been given this territory. Once again the Zionists were given preferential treatment.  But this was still not enough for them. The Zionist goal that Ben Gurion hinted at was the creation of a Zionist state that encompasses all of historic Palestine, has a population of Arabs that can never be more than 20% of the population (not the 45%to 50% that existed in 1947 and needed to be ethnically cleansed by the Zionists at that time) and was legally owned by Jewish people in a way that could never be achieved by non-Arabs in Israel no matter how long they have lived there.

Netanyahu’s claim that the Jewish people will not get a second chance, portray his utter rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Israel is no-one’s saviour. It is and never has been the key to the Jewish people’s survival. Fortunately for the Jewish people God will not reject them, but He will not indulge them in their colonialist program for ever. God’s desire for justice and equality for the Arabs of Palestine will be the undoing of the Zionist state unless they repent.

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Christian Zionist Ethics

The ethical stance taken by advocates of Christian Zionism, with regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict, although somewhat convoluted and contradictory at best, can be summed up by the following: Unconditional support for the State of Israel is the duty of all Christians.

For Christian Zionists, the Israelis have a license to do as they wish in the land of Israel with possibly the only exception being that they must not give in to the cries of injustice made by the Palestinian people and allow any of Greater Israel to come under non-Jewish rule. Hence Christian Zionists never criticise Israel for any atrocities they commit against Palestinian Arabs, be they Christian, Muslim, secular or even other Jews, but they would, for example, criticise Israeli leaders like Ariel Sharon, for the withdrawal of Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005. In the eyes of the Christian Zionists, the only mandate for Jews in Israel is to conquer all the land at any cost.

The ethical and religious traditions of Judaism, with regards to the covenant of the land, made by God and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, are basically irrelevant according to Christian Zionist teaching. The fact that the State of Israel is a Zionist Secular State is of no consequence to them regardless of the fact that scripture plainly teaches that God is intimately concerned with the ethical behaviour of His people while living in the land of Israel. In fact, occupation of the land by the Jews is completely conditional upon their adherence to the ethical and religious traditions of the Torah. As the Chosen people of God, they are unique in that they alone have a specific covenant, recorded in detail in scripture, regarding their occupation of the land.

A secular state ideology that repudiates the Torah clearly stands outside the conditions of the covenant of the land God made with the Hebrews at Sinai. It doesn’t take a prophet sent by God like Jeremiah or Isaiah to see that secular Zionism is a rebellion against the open worship of God. Christian Zionist silence on this matter puts them in a position of complicity with the Zionist rebellion against the Torah and hence against God. God calls all people, not just specially designated prophets, to speak out against injustice and rebellion in the land of Israel. Why? Because God cares about injustice against the vulnerable in the land as mentioned in scripture too many times to enumerate here.

Christian Zionist apathy towards the breaking of the covenant of the land by the Zionist State is achieved by an argument that over-emphasises the concept of the Sovereignty of God in the history of the world and a virtual complete dismissal of the responsibility of Jewish people with regard to their ethical behaviour on a day to day basis in Israel. In Christian Zionist theology, the Sovereignty of God not only trumps the responsibility of Jews in Israel, it annuls it.

The Christian Zionist demand that the State of Israel is the “apple of God’s eye” and that the hand of God is upon them means that no criticism of Israel is allowed. God’s overall plan repudiates the need for Israel to be challenged about its rebellious behaviour against the Torah of God. Whereas the prophets of old challenged Israel with great force, no such criticism is allowed today.

The Zionist rebellion against God is of no consequence since we are told that God’s hand is on the land and that He has brought the Jews back to the land as He said He would. Israel has a blank cheque, a license to do as it pleases in the eyes of Christian Zionism. The responsibility of Jews in Israel, as clearly stated in the Torah, is suddenly drowned out by hysterical appeals to the sovereignty of God and claims of fulfilled prophecy. The disappearance of the moral and ethical demands of God regarding the Jewish people in Israel, has been justified in Christian Zionist dogma.

All Christians must endorse the state of Israel and not criticise it, regardless of the fact that it has violated its covenantal responsibilities with regard to the land from the very outset. Anyone reading the curses that Jews must face if they disobey God while in the land, would be forgiven for thinking that God is deadly serious about whether or not Israel obeys Him while occupying the land, but the Christian Zionists inform us that this would be a mistake.

While God was really concerned about this in the past, it matters to Him no more and so it should not matter to us either. God’s plan to restore the nation of Israel can only apply to the Zionist state as it is today and hence all will be put right by God in the near future. No need for crying out about the rebellious Zionists and the atrocities they have committed in the recent past. Since God is going to restore Israel any moment, there is no need to worry about whether or not Israel fulfils its covenantal responsibility. In other words, the end justifies the means! Because God knows (and so would we if we would only listen to the wisdom of the Bible as revealed by Christian Zionists) that He has plans to make all things right in Israel, we should not criticise Israel for the sins that it commits today. Injustices committed today and in the making of the Zionist State should be ignored. God is using all things to bring about His plans for Israel and so nothing should be challenged.

Perhaps Jeremiah should have responded to the word that God gave Him regarding Israel as follows;

Hmmm…Israel is the “apple of God’s eye” and His hand is upon them and He has a wonderful plan for them. He has everything in control! No need to worry about the sins of Israel…God is Sovereign. He is allowing them to do these sinful acts for a reason! I should just shut up and remember that God will curse me if I criticise His people.

The Christians Zionists attitude to the state of Israel verges on idolatry. Israel can do no wrong, it can never be challenged. To criticise or challenge the State of Israel when they break their covenantal responsibilities will invoke a curse from God, while blessing it in its rebellion will ensure a blessing from same. Such interpretations of God’s promises to Abraham are unknown to Judaism. In effect these interpretations are invoked when Christian Zionist interpretations are challenged by students of scripture.

The ethical stand of Christian Zionism towards the state of Israel is contradictory in the extreme. The legitimacy of the state of Israel in the land is not decided on by whether or not is in rebellion against the covenant of the land God made with it at Sinai, but simply by the Christian Zionist pronouncement that the current State of Israel, regardless of its attitude now, will be restored in the future. It’s what happens in the future, according to their reading of scripture, which decides what is acceptable today. This ethical stance is fundamentally repudiated by scripture.

The contradictory nature of Christian Zionist logic is clearly evident when we give it even the smallest amount of scrutiny. Since the creation of the State of Israel, as it is today, is by the Sovereign plan of God and part of His plan to restore the nation of Israel and the return of Christ, we should not be concerned about Israel’s legitimacy in the land because of its breaking of the covenant that it made with God at Sinai. That is irrelevant. God doesn’t care about such things these days. We should endorse anything that brings about the creation of the State of Israel and its project to take control of all of Greater Israel because this is the Sovereign plan of God. God can use any means to bring about His plans, even if they might seem unfair at first.

By this logic, all Christians should endorse the Holocaust. It is universally recognised that the Holocaust was a major factor in the minds of the members of the United Nations when deciding on whether or not to create an Israeli state in Palestine. Jewish migration to Palestine, something applauded by Christian Zionists, took a major move upward during the reign of the Nazis. God clearly used the Holocaust to bring about the state of Israel so we must endorse the destruction of six million Jews! Any other attitude to the Holocaust shows Christian Zionist hypocrisy.

Christian theologians of all descriptions have agreed that God sovereignly allows evil to occur for purposes that may seem obvious sometimes and completely inscrutable at others. Regardless of how we do or do not interpret the reasons that God allows evil, we are called by God to resist that evil ,even if it appears to be facilitating prophetic fulfilment or not. The act of God in allowing evil in no way implies God’s endorsement of that very same evil. What God does not endorse according to His own morality, should not be endorsed by us regardless of the fact that God has chosen to allow it to happen. The end justifies the means is a fatalistic statement not found or endorsed in any way in scripture. The details of God’s plan to fulfil His predestined decrees are His business. Our business is to resist the evil that God allows to occur in this world regardless of whether or not we think we understand why it has occurred according to our own understandings of eschatology. The breaking of the Mosaic covenant of the land by the Zionist State is a breaking of God’s covenant and is not endorsed by God regardless of how in the end God uses that rebellion to fulfil His plan. Since God does not endorse such behaviour then neither should we and silence on such a matter, when the possible consequences are so grave, is not justifiable. The future is for God to decide. The responsibility to our fellow human beings, as outlined by the merciful actions of God who hears the voice of the poor and oppressed and advocates for them, is just that…our responsibility. Our ethics are derived from the Sermon on the Mount and God’s universal concern for all people’s rights as revealed in God’s word.

The ethics of Christianity are Christalogically based. They are not centred on doctrines of eschatology. Ethics based on eschatology are presumptive upon alleged knowledge of future events and inevitably lead to an “end justifies the means” mentality. This type of arrogant use of God’s word betrays itself as bad theology by its outcome. The priority of caring for one’s neighbour regardless of colour or creed is abandoned for an ethic that discriminates against those who are alleged not to be in God’s books according to sectarian doctrines of the end times. Christ calls us to see each other first as human beings rather than those who are on the right track of God’s end times plan and those who are not.

CRAIG NIELSEN

Action for Palestine.

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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