Few tears among Muslims

The week's news at a glance.

Ariel Sharon

The Arab world won’t miss Ariel Sharon, said Saudi Arabia’s Al-Watan in an editorial. Western commentators are hailing the Israeli prime minister as a “man of peace.” They seem to believe that Sharon had magically transformed from hawk to dove a few months before his debilitating stroke, merely because he was “obliged” to abandon Gaza. Arabs were not fooled. Sharon “never missed a chance to kill Palestinian children, old people, and women.” His crimes stretch across decades, from the massacres in Lebanon to the destruction of the Jenin refugee camp. It’s particularly telling that Sharon loved to be called by his nickname, “the Bulldozer.” He must have found razing homes and turning pregnant women out of doors awfully amusing.

This man could fairly be termed “the most outstanding criminal against humanity of the 20th century,” said Ibrahim Karagul in Turkey’s Yeni Safak. Sharon fought and killed to expand the Zionist borders far into what was rightfully Palestinian territory. He was behind the settlement project, encouraging fanatical Jews to set up illegal homes on Palestinian land in hopes of driving all the Arabs out. More than any other Israeli leader, Sharon has been responsible for “murder, destruction, genocide, lawlessness, cruelty, and barbarity.” No amount of whitewashing can save his legacy. When he dies, he’ll be remembered only for the suffering he caused. One can only hope he is even now “in his death throes.”

A simple death is more than Sharon deserves, said Sateh Noureddine in Lebanon’s As-Safir. “Nothing could bring justice” to the Palestinians but a repetition of what they suffered in the loss of their leader, Yasser Arafat. If only it were discovered after Sharon’s death that he too had been “poisoned, as Yasser Arafat was” in 2004! And if only that discovery led to “strife and confusion” among his people, bickering over leadership and direction. If only that strife would move into the street and become an armed conflict between militias and claim countless lives, as has happened in Gaza. If only the very future of the state were in doubt, and no talk of peace or international legitimacy had any effect, and the Promised Land seemed cursed in its people’s eyes. “It is a fictional scenario, but regrettably it is the only one that can open the road for Palestinian salvation, which Sharon blocked with so much blood and tears.”

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Basim Sakkijha


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