Ariel Sharon, the "Butcher of Beirut," is Dead

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Palestinians burn posters of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to celebrate news of the "butcher's" death, on January 11, 2014 in a street of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis. (Photo: AFP - Sa'id Khatib)

By: Marc Abizeid

Published Saturday, January 11, 2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, whose legacy includes the killing of tens of thousands of Arabs over his six-decade military and political career, is dead. He took his final breath on Saturday afternoon at the age of 85 after lying comatose for eight years following a stroke on January 4, 2006.

His death marks the end of a bullish Israeli leader who commanded the respect of his subordinates, amassed loyal partisans, and struck fear in the hearts of his enemies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli people will "forever" cherish the memory of the former premier.

"His memory will forever be held in the heart of the nation," he said, expressing "deep sorrow" at Sharon's death, calling him "a central part in Israel's struggle for security."

"He was first and foremost a brave warrior and a great military leader, one of the greatest in the Israel [Occupying] Forces," Netanyahu said.

President Shimon Peres also expressed his grief.

"Arik (Ariel) was a brave soldier and a daring leader who loved his nation and his nation loved him. He was one of Israel's great protectors and most important architects, who knew no fear and certainly never feared vision," he said in a statement. "He will be greatly missed."

Palestinian officials reacted to news of the Israeli leader's death, calling him a war criminal who evaded justice in his lifetime.

"Sharon was a criminal, responsible for the assassination of (Palestinian president Yasser) Arafat, and we would have hoped to see him appear before the International Criminal Court as a war criminal," said Jibril Rajub, a senior official of the Fatah party.

Hamas, the Islamist party ruling the Gaza Strip, said Sharon's death was a "historic moment," marking the "disappearance of a criminal whose hands were covered with Palestinian blood."

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, also regretted that Sharon never faced justice.

"His passing is another grim reminder that years of virtual impunity for rights abuses have done nothing to bring Israeli-Palestinian peace any closer. For the thousands of victims of abuses, Sharon's passing without facing justice magnifies their tragedy," she said.

Social media users in the Middle East and across the world reacted to the news of the death of the once terrorizing and widely abhorred figure.

Natural Born Killer

Sharon began his military training in 1942 at the age of 14 before joining the British Mandate’s Jewish police force in Palestine three years later.

Simultaneously he partook in covert operations with the Haganah – the British-allied Jewish militia behind killings, massacres, and acts of sabotage against Palestinian targets that eventually led to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and the Nakba.

In 1953 Sharon was chosen to head a new Israeli military formation they called Unit 101. Under his command Israeli soldiers committed what would become known as the Qibya massacre with the killing of dozens of Palestinians, mostly women and children according to Israel’s own historians.

That bloodbath, which saw families shot dead on their doorsteps as they tried to flee the invading forces who besieged their small West Bank village, was internationally condemned, drawing rebukes from the United States and the UN Security Council.

But Sharon’s merciless behavior was rewarded by his Zionist chieftains. He quickly rose from the ranks, serving as a commander or regime official in nearly every Israeli war and act of aggression until the stroke that would eventually lead to his death.

He will forever be remembered in Lebanon as the “Butcher of Beirut” for his role as defense minister in the 1982 invasion which killed an estimated 20,000 people that year alone, the overwhelming majority of them civilians.

Orchestrating the Sabra-Shatila Massacre

His most notorious crime during the 1982 siege of Beirut was the Sabra-Shatila massacre, which left about 2,000 civilians dead. Human rights activists and families of the victims have long called for Sharon to face war crimes charges.

The three-day massacre was carried out from September 16 to 18 by Phalangist militiamen who were ushered into the Palestinian refugee camps by Israeli forces shortly after the expulsion of Palestinian fighters from the Lebanese capital.

Footage and pictures from the massacre revealed the extent of the slaughter, with corpses of entire families horrifically strewn across streets and alleyways of the camps.

At the time, an internal Israeli investigation into the massacre concluded that Sharon bore personal “responsibility for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge when he approved the entry of the Phalangists into the camps.” He was forced to resign over the killings, which drew global outrage. Even the reactionary regime of then-US President Ronald Reagan expressed its “revulsion over the murders.”

Sharon denied any wrongdoing in the slaughter, claiming he was unaware that an extremist, sectarian Christian militia would harm residents of the camps. But evidence has mounted since the initial Israeli probe of the massacre, showing that Sharon, who was salivating over the prospect of war prior to the 1982 invasion, had a plan to “cleanse” West Beirut, which encompasses the camps.

Israeli transcripts of official meetings obtained by the New York Times last year quoted Sharon as telling US envoy Morris Draper on the first day of the massacre that thousands of “terrorists” had occupied the area.

Word quickly spread that the Phalangists were slaughtering camp residents under Israel’s cover. When Draper demanded Israel remove its forces, Sharon lashed out, insisting that the terrorists needed “mopping up,” and advised the US diplomat to deny any involvement in the crimes should they become public.

Provoking the Second Intifada

Sharon’s killing sprees in occupied Palestine were no more restrained. He was universally acknowledged for having provoked the second Palestinian intifada after visiting the site of Jerusalem’s sacrosanct al-Aqsa Mosque in September 2000 under the protection of hundreds of police.

Defiantly ignoring warnings that such a move would cause an uproar among Palestinians, who had just marked the 18th anniversary of the Sabra-Shatila massacre, Sharon marched on the compound, asserting his “right” to visit the holy site revered by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike.

“The Temple Mount is in our hands and will remain in our hands,” he declared at the site before outraged youths began hurling stones at police in what officially marked a new uprising in which thousands of Palestinians would lose their lives resisting occupation.

Dozens of Palestinians were shot dead in the first several days of a mass movement Sharon ostensibly intended to provoke. Among them was 12-year-old Mohammed al-Durrah, who became a symbol of the second intifada after his widely broadcasted killing reminded the world of the ruthless nature of Israeli occupation forces and their leaders.

Taking the Reigns

Sharon reached the prime minister’s office in March 2001, after which he played a more direct role in steering the war he instigated with Palestinians only months earlier. Sharon’s forces killed hundreds that year, often using US-supplied Apache helicopters to rain death over Palestinian villages as documented in an Amnesty International report.

Hundreds more were killed the next year across the West Bank. In April 2002 the occupation laid siege to the Jenin refugee camp, claiming the area was infested with suicide bombers. For 11 straight days Israeli tanks, helicopters, and ground forces shelled, rocketed, and sniped the camp and its residences in acts Human Rights Watch described as serious violations of international law that amounted to war crimes.

The details of the Human Rights Watch investigation are consistent with Sharon’s record of brutality. The report describes accounts of soldiers firing indiscriminately into the camp, killing men, women, and children alike. The siege destroyed around 350 buildings, leaving over 4,000 people homeless. In one case a 57-year-old crippled man was shot, then run over with a tank while trying to flee in his wheelchair with a white flag attached to it.

Many tributes have been written to the deceased tyrant that highlight his final months as prime minister when he pulled occupation forces from the Gaza Strip in 2005. They say he was a changed man who broke away from his extreme-right impulses after having suddenly stumbled upon a path of peace, only to have those plans interrupted by an unfortunate act of God.

But those who bore witness to Sharon’s wars and massacres could never submit to an apologist narrative that glosses over six decades of relentless killing, dismissing his criminal behavior as having been merely “controversial.” To the survivors of Sharon’s bloody rampages, he was the unmistakable culprit responsible for the horrific deaths of tens of thousands of Arabs, destroying families and shattering an untold number of lives.


Brutal war criminal now glorified by the american press. Savage terrorist who killed civilians by the thousands.

All the E mails from Arabs forget that more Arabs have been massacred by other Arabs than were ever allowed to be unfortunately killed by The Arab Phalangists when Israel was fighting yet another war started by Irans protegy Hezbollah.

Why are Hezbollah even allowed to be in lebanon murdering last month yet another political opponent.
With all this whipped up
hate it was actually Sharon who withdrew Israeli forces and thousands of settlers from Gaza in order to achieve peace with the Palestinians. We all know what happened

He was a vile monster who was a savage killer. He had no interest in peace and was an absolute beast. The blood of thousands of civilians stained his hands. Btw, not an Arab, just a person able to condemn a war criminal.

Spare us your sleazy spin, Zionist. May Sharon burn in hell, along with all of your other war criminals and thieves.

I agree with you 100%

Israel Pres Peres got it just right when he ended his eulogy with the words, "May he rest in piss".

The pigs all over the world are happy with the Sharon's dead. It is known that the pigs have not a deep criteria...

One less psycopath. Good riddance!

I am no lover of the man that we in Lebanon are happy to know that Ariel Sharon has finally died. But in highlighting one important factor of Ariel Sharon’s life who we nick-named ‘The Butcher of Beirut’, is that the killing results differs grossly between Sharon and Syria’s Assad.

We know that Ariel Sharon killed all those that were his enemies, which was us Arabs. But one thing that remains totally clear is that Sharon never killed his own people.

On the other side of the equation, Syria’s Assad has done nothing but kill his own kind, and doing so with the total assistance of Hezbollah. So are we going to one day nick-name “Assad” ‘The Butcher of Syria’? That is something that we need to think about, as I now ask myself where will historians place Sharon? Will they put him alongside those war leaders that served their country against their enemies and looked upon him as a war hero? As that’s how I believe Sharon will be remembered by the majority of the world, which by comparison to Assad, the Syrian leader will solely be remembered as the murderer of innocent Syrians civilians, which to date is vast approaching the 150,000 number of people that have already died by his own hand.

Yes, yes, the King is back and what a timely comeback: the death of Sharon.
Thank you for this comment Mr. Activist2Justice. So accurate and true. I was asking myself the same question about where will historians place Sharon. He's hard to fit in most places. Am I right? I am just kidding, but enough joking now, I promise you that I will start thinking about the question you posed. But can you give me a hint as to along what lines I should do the thinking.
Please don't forget to visit the website that honors your posts. I will have more colorful comments there about your genius and your excellent writing style.

It’s interesting that I am now referred to as the King.
As for Sharon and contrary to my discontentment of his legacy, the world will label him as a great general, which they have already done so on both CNN and FOX News.
As for what we presently need to label Assad, all I can say is that feel free to call him whatever comes to mind. But mark my words, historians will certainly not place him anywhere except along side that of “Pol Pot”, “Joseph Mobutu”, and Guinea’s “Sekou Toure” and let's not forget "Idi Amin". These are the leaders of their nation who have killed their own people in the hundreds of thousands. Assad will fit well among them.

It's not interesting, It's befitting and barely so, King Activist4hundredJustice. I can tell you one thing, the world sucks if they're gonna ignore your "discontentment of the legacy" of the manatee Sharon and label him a great general. Tell us all about your discontent, don't spare a word. I am really speechless with your knowledge of the leaders of so many-a-nation. I almost forgot Idi Amin, but thanks to you, I didn't.
And finally, thank you for granting me the freedom to call him whatever I want. It's a testament to your generosity of spirit and mind o Activist4millionJustice. Now to put this freedom you've just bestowed upon me to good use, I decide to call him booboo head. What do you think. It's not clever, but I just felt like it.

Booboo Head??? Why not it is your choice. So here goes: Ladies and Gentlemen of the world.....'Hezbeled' has now labelled Hafez Assad, as the one and only "The Booboo Head". Hence forth everybody, we the world should now refer to Assad as "The Booboo Head" of Syria....

Using words like “killing his own people” sound racist because people are people regardless of who’s people they are.
This story is not about Assad or Hezbollah.
Get a name and get a life!

Hell is waiting for your stinking zionist soul. There's a special wing in hell reserved for your likes. Your friends Bush, Netanyahu, Hitler and the likes have earned your places and Satan cannot wait to meet you all!!

Sharon was a construction, carefully designed and promoted by the Halliburton, Brown and Root, Boeing type corporate entities of this world. They profit handsomely from blood and war and consist of a wide collection of politicians, engineers, sales persons, religious leaders, a real eclectic mix from lofty institutions of "learning" such as MIT and Universities of California, to name a few. The rest of humanity, who do all the fighting, dying and suffering, would love to throw a huge net over these war mongers and bag them off to another planet. Sharon wasn't in a coma for eight years, he was in a coma all his life. He never understood or reasoned through the simplest of spiritual dilemmas; where ever do those devils or D jinni go after men like Hitler perish? The answer is easy for people familiar with spiritual writings-Lucifer chose a few survivors of the holocaust, of course!, an outrageous but quite predictable relocation. Sharon was a man who lived life by murder and distrust, who took every opportunity to delete Faith from the equation or what the humanists now mistakenly interpret as, soft power. Faithlessness is the true sign of a heretic and atheist, this kind of leadership should have been impossible to support for those scholars and believers in the words of Torah and it was impossible for them! The Lords wrath now approaches the soul of Sharon and suddenly, I pity the man.

another pig bites the dust.

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