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Sharon the Butcher

By Hatem Abudayyeh

Editors note: The following article was prepared before Israel's all-out assault on West Bank Palestinians. Since the invasion began, the Palestinian resistance has waged a heroic struggle to beat back the army of occupation. Massive demonstrations have taken place in many Arab countries, in Europe, and the in the U.S. On April 4, nearly 10,000 rallied in New York City.

The Bush administration is scrambling to maintain the U.S. hold on the region. Plans for a quick strike against Iraq are going up in flames. On one hand, the U.S. is encouraging Israel, and attempting to demonize the Palestinian resistance. On the other hand, Bush is trying to shore up the puppet governments in the region. Not an easy task, when people all over the Arab world can turn on their TV's and watch Israeli troops fire on children and ambulance drivers. From Egypt to Saudi Arabia, people want their governments to take action in defense of Palestine.

U.S. representatives dispatched to the Middle East say they are attempting “revive the peace process.” In truth, they are working to prolong the Israeli occupation of Palestine. They hope the Palestinian people will surrender. This will not happen.

Since Sept. 28, 2000, the Israeli military and the illegal Jewish settlers have killed more than 1300 Palestinians, 30% of whom are children. Over 30,000 Palestinians have been injured, many maimed for life. Ariel Sharon, the prime minister of Israel and the architect of the last eighteen months of continuous war on the Palestinian people, has shown no signs of letting up or slowing down.

Sharon is a man of war, the former Defense Minister during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the person responsible for over 3000 deaths – mostly women, children, and the elderly – in the refugee camp massacres of Sabra and Shatila. When one hears the term “terrorist,” Sharon's name immediately comes to mind. He knows nothing but war, and is terrorizing the entire Palestinian population; again including those who live in refugee camps, but this time, refugee camps in Palestine itself.

Israeli incursions into the illegally occupied territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem have extended to the refugee camps of Balata in Nablus, Rafah in Gaza, Tulkarem, Jenin, and Dheisheh in Bethlehem. The result of this escalation has been over 200 murders, including women and children, and the decimation of the already dreadful infrastructure in the camps. Dozens of homes have been demolished and thousands of men and women have been arrested.

The most recent attacks on the refugee camps have set a new standard for Sharon's barbarism. The Palestinians living in these camps are the people who were originally exiled from their homes in 1948. Their land was confiscated and their homes destroyed. Now they and their children are once again experiencing the destruction of their lives and property.

The Oslo Accords and all the other “peace” agreements between the Israelis and the Palestinians have essentially been made null and void by Sharon and his total disregard for human and civil rights. He has effectively made a prisoner of Yassir Arafat, the president of the Palestinian Authority, and even refused to allow Arafat to travel to Beirut for the recent Arab League summit.

Now, the Palestinian people have come to the realization that peace can never be negotiated with a person like Sharon. They have even begun to develop a deep-rooted resentment for those fellow Palestinians who continue to claim that there is a “peaceful” way out of the current Israeli escalation of violence. Palestinians know that the cause of the violence is, and always will be, the Israeli occupation. For anybody to claim otherwise is foolish and short-sighted. The Oslo Accords proved that any peace initiative not based on the complete and total withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Palestinian lands cannot survive.

It is obvious that Arafat, his ministers and negotiators have failed to protect the Palestinians. It is also clear that Sharon is a despicable human being who has absolutely no regard for Palestinian lives. For this reason, the Palestinian workers and peasants are waging a heroic resistance against Israeli tanks, helicopter gun ships, and fighter jets. They are resisting Israeli occupation by every means at their disposal.

The U.S. is sending four billion of our tax dollars every year to Israel and Sharon. Then they have the nerve to demand that the Palestinians curb their “violence.” If that rhetoric were not so disturbing, it would be laughable. Palestinian homes are being destroyed; Palestinian land is being confiscated; Palestinian civilians are trapped in their homes and villages; Palestinian men, women, and children are being killed – and Bush and Sharon want the Palestinians to curb their “violence?”

The immediate future does not look promising. There is a personification of evil involved in the conflict – Ariel Sharon. He's responsible for more than one massacre and he is proud of it. He wears his record of murder as a badge of honor.

The Israelis will continue to do what they have been doing. The U.S. government will back Sharon up. The Arab governments, tied to the U.S., will sit back and do nothing. It is the courage and commitment of the Palestinian people themselves that will bring the complete liberation of Palestine. Any form of their resistance and struggle is justified. Palestine must be free!

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