Sharon the ethnic cleanser
by William James Martin
International Socialist Review,
In 1978, on the occasion of president
Jimmy Carter's presiding over a meeting of the Israeli Cabinet-the
only non-Jew to have ever chaired such a meeting-Carter was told
by then minister of agriculture, Ariel Sharon, that there already
was a Palestinian state, that it was Jordan, and that Carter could
take for granted that within the next few years there would be
2 to 3 million Jews living in the occupied territories. Sharon
added that "even as we speak, Jewish families are migrating
into Judea and Samaria."
This statement echoes an earlier one of
David Ben-Gurion, who later became Israel's first prime minister.
In a 1937 letter to his son he writes:
"A partial Jewish stare is not the
end, bur only the beginning. The establishment of such a Jewish
state will serve as a means in our historical effort to redeem
the country in its entirety.... We shall organize a modern defense
force... and then I am certain that we will not be prevented from
settling in other parts of the country, either by mutual agreement
with our Arab neighbors or by some other means.... We will expel
the Arabs and take their place...with the force at our disposal."
A few years later Ben-Gurion told a Zionist
"I favor partition of the country
because when ~j we become a strong power after the establishment
of the state, we will abolish partition and spread throughout
all of Palestine."
As the leader of Israel, it is likely
that Sharon's relentless destruction of the Palestinian Authority,
the social institutions under Palestinian control, and his persistent
subjugation of the Palestinians have less to do with self defense
and more to do with the Zionist program of establishing a purely
Jewish state in all of Palestine.
On July 8, 2001, Brigadier-General Shaul
Mofaz presented to the Israeli government a document tided, "The
destruction of the Palestinian forces," which proposed launching
an attack intended to smash the Palestinian Authority, force out
Yasser Arafat, and kill or detain its security forces. The assault
would be timed after the next big suicide bomb attack in Israel
that caused widespread deaths and injuries with Israel citing
the bloodshed as the justification. The report said "a suicide
bomb attack would provide the necessary motive for Israeli troops
as well as enabling Israeli ambassadors and other officials to
tell concerned countries that military action was a justified
The significance of the suicide bombings
inside Israel, of which there have been about 60, is that they
are an opportunity for Sharon and the Israel Defense Forces to
respond by destroying more of the PA and to confiscate more territory.
With every suicide bombing, Sharon can blame Arafat, gain support
from George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, increase the
economic strangle hold of the Palestinians, and destroy more of
the underpinnings of a viable Palestinian society, while keeping
the focus on Arafat rather than on Israel's disregard for international
The relentless establishment of settlements
in the West Bank and in Gaza have nothing to do with Israeli security.
Israel has populated the Palestinian areas occupied in 1967 with
about 400,000 mostly fanatical settlers whose presence in the
midst of Palestinian populations enhances Israeli security not
one iota. Nor do the 300 miles of bypass highways, on which only
Israelis and Jewish settlers can travel, enhance Israeli security.
These settlements and bypass highways, which exclude Palestinians,
partition the West Bank into approximately 200 disjointed segments,
making travel and commerce between them virtually impossible for
Palestinians. For their construction, they require the confiscation
of Palestinian agricultural land and the demolition of Palestinian
residences. There have been about 9,000 Palestinian homes demolished
by the Israelis since the beginning of occupation in 1967.
Nor did the recent invasion of Palestinian
cities and towns have anything to do with self defense. Operation
Defensive Shield featured the destruction and the theft of documents,
computer hard drives, and laptops from the Ministry of Education,
which housed records of over a million students. They wrecked
the Palestinian Cultural Center, the Ministry of Deeds and Records,
the International Bank of Palestine, and the numerous non-governmental
institutions engaged in human rights, the promotion of health
care, environmental protection, and water conservation. This destruction
had a purpose, but it was not self-defense. Records of land transactions,
years of intellectual effort captured and recorded in files or
on computer hard drives-all were carted away by the Israeli army.
The destruction and vandalism of infirmaries, libraries, and nurseries
cannot be justified as legitimate self-defense.
Every aggression on the part of Israel
is advertised as "defensive," but it was not in this
case and it has never been in the entire history of Israel's existence.
Every Israeli aggression has been launched to destroy the basis
of Palestinian society, to erase from memory the Palestinian presence
One should not be fooled by Sharon's multiple
uses of the word "terror" or "terrorists"
in his every speech to Israeli and American audiences, nor by
his constant effort to link the September 11 attack on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon with a parallel threat from Arafat
and the Palestinians.
Sharon knows what he is doing, he always
has. He wants to make his statement to President Carter into a
William Martin is a mathematics instructor
at North Carolina State University