Ariel Sharon

Photograph by Carl Malamud

In my part of the world, Ariel Sharon was known as the “Butcher of Beirut.” Even though his bloody legacy began to be built decades before he led the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 – through years of killing Palestinians in British-controlled Palestine prior to the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 – he will still be primarily remembered for the responsibility he bore for Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila Massacre in the Palestinian refugee camp of the same name. Meanwhile in Israel, his consistent support for the building of illegal Jewish settlements in Palestinian land, as well as having erected the infamous Israeli West Bank Wall, have increasingly highlighted the apartheid-like and criminal measures taken by Israel against the Palestinians, which the world may condemn but seldom take action against.

Passing away after being in a coma for eight years has minimized the impact of Sharon’s death. The world has gotten used to his absence, while other Israeli leaders have aptly taken his place in continuing his legacy of injustice and crime against the Palestinians. The world certainly remains at a loss for not having brought such a man to justice during his lifetime, even though that would still not have made him understand all the suffering he brought to so many people, but such are the flaws of human justice… What is left for us is to hope that more and more people get to know the other face of this man, who some will still remember as a war hero, if only to ensure some justice in the conscience of humanity. But what we must also remember is that neither violence – whether from the Israeli or Palestinian side – nor continued injustice towards the Palestinians, will ever bring any lasting solution to this generation-old conflict. And the badge of shame on the world for its inaction grows…

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Eye on the East

Eye on the East is a blog about history, politics, society and culture of Lebanon and the Arab world by Marina Chamma.

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