Yousef Munayyer writes: There are few individuals in the modern history of Israel/Palestine whose actions have been as consistently destructive as those of Ariel Sharon. Sharon, who died on January 11, had been involved in Israel’s war machine as early as 1948. He was known for his cut-throat attitude on the battlefield, often with wanton disregard for civilian lives. Time and again, Sharon left some of the bloodiest marks on the history of Palestine.
Perhaps the earliest instance in this trend was the events of Qibya in 1953. Qibya is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, located close to the Green Line. In an Israeli attack on the village, led on the ground by Sharon, scores of homes were destroyed while civilians were still inside. The outcome was a massacre that left 69 Palestinians dead, most of whom were women and children.
The attack was internationally condemned and Israel scrambled to control the damage to its image following the massacre. The United Nations condemned the massacre and the US State Department said those responsible “should be brought to account and that effective measures should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future”. None of the officials responsible were held to account, however. This culture of impunity would be a recurring theme – not only in Israeli history but in Sharon’s history in particular.
The massacre at Qibya only foreshadowed what was yet to come at the hands of Sharon. [Continue reading…]