THE CONTRIVED MYTHS: of SABRA & SHATILLA; WAR IN LEBANON; & THE CAUSE OF THE AL AKSA INTIFADA'
By Gail Winston
Head of M.E.I.R., Mid East Information Resource
Let us start with a story told to me by a knowing friend: A woman had a lover. Her husband knew she did but he didn't stop her. She wanted to see her lover. He told her to come to his home. "But, you live in a dangerous neighborhood." "If you want to see me, come anyway." Her husband knew she was going but didn't stop her. She went to his dangerous neighborhood and she was murdered. The question is: "Whose fault was it that she was murdered." [Answer at the end of this article.]
The Media both in Israel and in the U.S., following the State Department lead, are already smearing Ariel Sharon with the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla, that the "Peace for Galilee War in Lebanon in 1982 was unnecessary', and that Arik Sharon's visit to the Jewish Temple Mount caused what the Media now calls the Al Aksa Intifada'. These 3 myths appear in every article about the Likud candidate for Prime Minister in Israel's February 6th snap elections. However, there are a few facts which have been conveniently discarded by perennial Israel bashers.
First, there was an intense vicious war going on in Lebanon that had nothing to do with Israel. Between the Lebanese Muslims and the Lebanese Christians there were so many factions killing each other in horrible ways, it was almost impossible to keep track. The total number of Muslims and Christians who killed each other added up to 100,000 in the 12 year Civil War that really began in earnest when Arafat entered in 1970.
Arafat's PLO established his own mini-state of terrorism in Lebanon. These were the Palestinians who escaped from Jordan after what the PLO calls Black September when King Hussein massacred more than 10,000 Palestinians who were trying to overthrow his kingdom. There were 26 agreements that Arafat had agreed to in controlling his PLO within Jordan - all of which Arafat broke. It was forgotten that it was the Jews who rescued thousands of Palestinians from the Jordan River as they were escaping from King Hussein's Bedouin warriors. Arafat's Palestinians turned Lebanon into a jungle of warfare as they stirred up hatred between Lebanese Christians and Lebanese Muslims. The Civil War in Lebanon lasted in Lebanon lasted for 12 years - from the time Arafat came in with his Palestinians in 1970 (Black September) until Israel came in 1982. The Lebanese greeted the Israeli soldiers with flowers of happiness and hope that the Israelis would rescue them from the bloody wars of PLO between the Christians and Muslims. From his base of operations in Lebanon Arafat launched innumerable terrorist attacks against Israel.
Prime Minister Menachem Begin always denied that then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon had "dragged" him and Israel into an "unnecessary" war in Lebanon. Israeli intelligence knew that Arafat was poised and armed for a major war against Israel. Under Gen. Sharon the Israelis successfully pushed the PLO terrorist army all the way to the outskirts of Beirut. The Israelis discovered that Arafat had built huge tunnels throughout the areas they controlled. These tunnels were loaded with tons of weapons and Arafat's "secret" plans to invade Israel very soon. But, of course, that isn't ever reported or remembered when each article lambasting Sharon accuses him of leading Israel into an unnecessary war. The fact that Arafat and his PLO were actively planning a war and had the weapons to commit major atrocities was keep as a secret closely held by the professional journalists. That War in Lebanon was justified as self-defense and inevitable because Jews were again being killed by cross-border terrorist raids and plans imminent war.
What makes professional journalists keep such secrets in order to smear a man for all his life and to skew an election where he is 20 points ahead in the polls 13 days before the vote?
The Media has blown up the concept that Gen. Arik Sharon brought Israel into Lebanon, that it was his fault Israel couldn't finish their victory; and that it was his fault that Israel had to stay in her self-declared security zone and that many, too many Jewish soldiers were killed. Of course, the Media tars and feathers Sharon with Sabra and Shatilla - and that the Kahan Commission accused him of (not causing but) failing to stop the Sabra and Shatilla massacre.
Their complete blacklisting of Sharon was enabled and assisted by the famous "secret " section of the Kahan committee. The Hebrew newspaper MA'ARIV on its internet site, claims that because it was kept secret it was always viewed as trying to "hide" something terrible about Arik Sharon. However, a recent book by Attorney Yosef Dar who worked for the Shin Bet security service for a few years, maintains that the Kahan Commission did Sharon a serious injustice. Most interestingly, Tom Segev, well-known as extreme left wing revisionist historian did an excellent review in HA'ARETZ despite a long history of openly hating Sharon. (1)
To remind you of the events: In September 1982 Christian Phalange units entered the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut under the auspice of the IDF and murder about 800 people in revenge for the assassination of Lebanon's president-elect, Bashir Jemayel.
A key fact about why the Israelis still near enough to have heard a possible massacre and did not stop it was revealed in a tenth anniversary broadcast by NPR, National Public Radio. The massacre was called the "Night of the Long Knives" because that those were the weapons the Christian Phalangist murderers chose because they could not be heard. (No shots were fired.)
The Kahan Commission of Inquiry, headed by the president of the Supreme Court at that time, Justice Yitzhak Kahan, which was appointed to investigate, effectively removed Ariel Sharon from his post as Defense Minister.
However, Yosef Dar's explosive book "Phalange Justice" exposes the "secret" annex which entirely exonerates Arik Sharon of any culpability for this massacre and condemns others of malfeasance of office, conflict of interest, not taking responsibility, etc. (but that isn't important to this story). Sharon was NOT culpable.
The fact that he won his libel suit against TIME Magazine should have proven to the media that Arik Sharon was not to be and could not be smeared ever again over Sabra and Shatilla. Unfortunately, the truths revealed were not sustained. The media continues to blacken Sharon's name. He is such a colorful target.
Another book: "From Israel to Damascus: Lebanon, the Mystery of the Unknown" by Robert Maroun Hatem, known as Cobra, he describes how Elie Hobeika, known as H.K. planned to destroy Lebanon so he could become a minister in the current Pro-Syrian Lebanese structure. Bashir Gemayel who was the popular Lebanese Christian slated to be President of the new Lebanon, now that Israel had freed it of the PLO terrorists. Hobeika was responsible for killing Gemayel, ordering his men to "totally annihilate" everyone in the camps, and was instrumental in the fall of the Likud Government. He was protected from revenge reprisals by Hafez Assad.
Cobra describes in detail the tragedy of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres and the Syrian responsibility for the deaths - as well as the innocence of Gen. Ariel Sharon and the Christians of the South Lebanese Army. Hobeika said there were about 2000 terrorists still hiding in Sabra and Shatilla. Hobeika had a key elite force of 200 men high on regular and immoderate use of heroine and cocaine. Sharon ordered him to behave like a regular army, round up the terrorists left behind after the Israelis forced the evacuation of the PLO in August, 1982 to Tunisia. This book is a complete eye-witness testimony and description of exactly what happened. Syria was behind it. It was discovered later and proven that Bashir Gemayel's actual assassin, Habib Tanios Shartuni was a secret member of the pro-Syrian anti-Kataeb Party. (2)
The third major myth that Arik Sharon caused what the Arabs and the world Media call the "Al Aksa Intifada" has been disproved by the facts. There were several attacks by PLO Palestinian Police against Israelis prior to the start of what should be called the Rosh Hashanah War 2000 on September 23rd. One Palestinian Policeman point-blank killed the Israeli with whom he was on joint patrol 2 days before Sharon went to the Temple Mount. there were several other egregious incidents preceeding Rosh Hashanah. The Muslims will never tolerate Jews visiting their most Holy Site, the Temple Mount. Israeli intelligence presented voluminous information to the U.S. that Arafat was planning a major assault against Israel and that Sharon's visit was merely used as an excuse. But, this smear was readily accepted by the Media and the World.
Arik Sharon is the only man in Israel now for whom the Arabs feel fear and respect. It is only he for whom they will make peace because they know they cannot best him in war or in political negotiations. And the Arabs know that Sharon cannot be pushed around by America, by any presidential administration nor any State Department career Arabists. They will have no power over him and that is why they are using every dirty trick they can imagine.
Israel will be strong again. Jews the world over will experience a re-born pride in their Jewish identity. The Arabs within Israel, in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Jerusalem will fear Sharon sufficiently to respect the Jews again.
All of the Labor Left's concessions offered to date to Arafat have merely engendered a furious contempt for Israel, for the Jews within Israel and an Arab chutzpah to take more and much more of Israel - as Arafat shows on his maps, army badges, stationary, etc. the new State of Palestine covers over all of Israel. And as Arafat has proclaimed since signing Oslo in 1993,
"The war of the stones will not stop until the Palestinian flags fly over all of Jerusalem's mosques and churches and is the capital of the new state of Palestine and only that state - and whoever doesn't like it can drink Gaza sea water."
I challenge the Media and the Ministry of Education to enter into these historical issues to investigate the truths of these myths. If these myths are exposed and the truth is taught to our kids, we have a chance for peace in the next generation. Myths are very difficult to shatter and destroy unless you can teach a new and true myth.
Is the Media mounting a smear campaign against Sharon using these 3 myths? To wit: The LONDON SUNDAY TIMES, January 21st in a photo caption under a picture of Arik Sharon: "On the warpath: Sharon, left, campaigning last week, has a long history of being uncompromising in his readiness to use troops against Palestinians and Israel's neighbors." (3)
If there are any honest and true investigative journalists in the field today, they could do a great service and win a Pulitzer Prize for daring to debunk the myths which are undermining our Jewish and our Israeli identities.
1. "Study finds Aharon Barak's Conflict of Interest Biased Kahan Commission against Sharon n Investigation of Sabra & Shatilla Investigation" by Yosef Dar (reviewed by Tom Segev HA'ARETZ 12/29/2000)
2. "From Israel to Damascus - Lebanon: The Mystery of the Unknown" by Robert Maroun Hatem Chapter 8
3. Photo caption under picture of Arik Sharon LONDON SUNDAY TIMES Jan. 21, 2001
Answer to the question "Who was at fault for the woman being murdered?" If you answered anyone but the murderer, you don't understand the Middle East or Sabra and Shatilla.