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Wednesday, December 31, 2008


How is it that Arik Sharon -- "Father" of the "Settler Movement" -- who still lays in a coma dating back to the forced Gaza Withdrawal that he ordered in 2005, became the agent of that forced withdrawal? Many have asked this question and I would like to propose plausible reasons and circumstances. Above all I would like to propose an underlying primary cause. That primary underlying cause is a disproportionate sense of guilt (perhaps felt by Sharon himself) for the Sabra/Shatilla Massacres.

Politics and Witch Hunts often go together, as does political back-biting and infighting. By 2005 we find Sharon to be a widower of two years, he and his son are facing possible charges for corruption; Sharon still bears a blackened legacy going back decades to the Sabra/Shatilla massacres. World opinion and Israeli delusions of land concessions bringing peace (and "necessary" to cope with unfavorable demographic projections) pressure Sharon to cave in to snakes close to him, who prove out to be major appeasement artists.

Of all of these there is only one underlying deep fault dividing the soul of Israel, a bloody fault that proper salting could have healed; that fault is guilt over the Sabra and Shatilla Massacres. In 1982 Menachem Begin and Arik Sharon had finally succeeded in Lebanon in supporting the Phalangists, only to see Bashir Gemayel, the charismatic leader of the Lebanese Phalangists (qua newly elected Lebanese President), assassinated in mid-September only two weeks after meeting with Menachem Begin to discuss his intention to commence normalization of relations with Israel. [With Israeli help Bashir Gemayel had taken on Syria and Syrian supporters in Lebanon and had won militarily and politically. The state of war between Israel and Lebanon (dating back to Israel's War of Indepence in 1947) was about to end. Then Bashir Gemayel was assassinated.] Arik Sharon permitted Phalangists to enter the Sabra and Shatilla Camps (which were under Israeli protection), where in the process of seeking to root out Gemayel's assassin(s), they murdered more than three hundred Palestinian Arab men, women, and children.

Overnight the possibility of normalized relations with Lebanon was buried with those Palestinian Arab souls -- and in the grave of Bashir Gemayel. Ultimately a Syrian operative, responsible for the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, was imprisoned, only to be freed in 1990 by Syria. Meanwhile Amin Gemayel, elected to take over as President in place of his brother, was not the spark of leadership that his deceased brother Bashir was. Peace with Israel fell by the wayside. One is reminded of the natural and unnatural deaths of Faisal 1, his son Ghazi, and Faisal 2, and the imminent possibilities in their times of peace with Arabia and later Iraq, respectively, but for the terrible pressures from the pro-Axis, pro-Hitler elements that ultimately ruled Iraq.

Psychologically and emotionally, Israel as a People felt that something had happened on it's watch, which in light of the Holocaust, was unconscionable, namely, the massacres at Sabra and Shatilla. Even if Israeli's were not pulling the triggers, even if the Palestinian Arabs may possibly have harbored Gemayel's assassin(s), it was still the responsibility of Israel to guard the camps and Israel failed. Sharon failed. It was his responsibility, directly or indirectly.

What happened at Sabra and Shatilla stood in stark contrast to the Israel of the Six Day War or Entebbe, the miraculous standards by which Israel judged (and still judges) itself, except that having failed this once at Sabra and Shatilla, Israel now took on an inverse judgement of itself, seeking out failure after failure, internalizing guilt for the Sabra and Shatilla massacres to a degree of undeserved self-punishment, to a degree that made it impossible to defend itself to the World.

Suppose the following speculation: that Israel had built up such a tremendously high view and expectation of itself that it had no "plan B" -- that is, Israel had neither concept nor plan as to how to cope with an inevitable random failure of such a nature. One could say that Israel's expectations of itself and the World's expectations of Israel had achieved a level of idolatry. A mythology existed that Israel must be perfect and miraculous at all times and in all ways in order to be worthy of it's name. Once Israel, even for a moment, lost the moral high ground, then Israel had become not merely disgraced, it had become to some degree delegitimized. If Israel failed in guarding Sabra and Shatilla, then what other failures existed, which had perhaps been overlooked? The propaganda movement that has with some success portrayed Israel as fascist and nazi-like owes itself to the Sabra/Shatilla massacres, as does a great deal of world sympathy for the situation of Palestinian Arab refugees, however disproportionate to any real Israeli fault. The random failure of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres were never an exercise of Israeli policy. Yet anti-Israeli propagandists exaggerated these isolated instances in order to fabricate charges of genocide.

If Israel did not have such idolatrous expectations of itself, then perhaps Israel would have been more forgiving of itself with respect to what happened at Sabra and Shatilla. Perhaps then Arik Sharon would have been more forgiving of himself. Perhaps then Sharon could have worked successfully with Amin Gemayel to bring about peace with Lebanon. Perhaps then Syria would not have been able to move into Lebanon in 1990. Perhaps Hezbollah would never have grown so wildly. Perhaps a much compromised Sharon would not have been victim to such distorted thinking as led to his megalomaniacal forced withdrawal from Gaza. Perhaps then Gilad Shalit would never have been kidnapped, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev would still be alive and the 2006 War in Lebanon would not have occurred, nor would Hamas be in charge of Gaza, nor would Sderot have suffered daily rocket attacks for seven years, nor would Israel be dropping bombs in Gaza today....

Wake up, Arik! Wake up from your coma! Forgive yourself for Sabra and Shatilla! It must be that you blame yourself, as otherwise, why would it be the Pioneers -- your Children -- that you made to suffer? Wake up, Arik! Wake up, Great General!
You are forgiven!

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