Dear Paul Dewar and Thomas Mulcair,
Though I see there is a bit of kerfuffle in the ranks of CP for either not asking the question or failing to print the opinions of the leaders of the NDP and Liberal parties respectively in a piece entitled ‘Canadian Leaders react to Ariel Sharon’s death’, Paul’s short statement seems to tell us the NDP’s posture on this event. Our Prime Minister was clear and the distance between the two statements was negligible.
Why does the NDP (and, yes, every other federal leader) insist on this topic in ignoring clear international covenants, conventions, and innumerable declarations, statements and resolutions – falling into line with the demands of US and Israeli exceptionalism? One set of rules for them, another set of rules for everyone else. Of course, Ariel Sharon was a great supporter of Israel – if one assumes their cause and means are correct. To many of us Ariel Sharon is the intellectual author of Sabra and Shatila. Point finale.
Before that he fulfilled every definition of a terrorist, an enthusiastic leader in the expulsion project that was al naqba and later as Ben Gurion’s messenger in countless Qibyas; as a general, Sharon was blatantly and insubordinately self-promoting, at the expense of both Egyptian/Syrian and Israeli soldiers, glorying in over-the-top kill ratios; as Agriculture(!) Minister under Begin, he was the architect of the settlement strips that would atomise and further decimate Palestinian communities and land-holdings.
Having bullied his way into Begin’s Defence Ministry and consumed by a dream of an Israeli-friendly Christian puppet in Beirut, Sharon laid waste to one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities with Dresden-ish indiscriminate and over-the-top obliteration bombing. Sharon blocked the arrival of UN-mandated peacekeepers meant to prevent reprisals against the thousands of Palestinian refugees left behind – setting the stage for Sabra and Shatila, Israel’s Warsaw. Temporarily bowed under by international opprobrium and the results of the 1983 Kahan commission and threats of the use of universal jurisdiction processes, Sharon came back with dramatic force with the September 2000 strut through the Al Aqsa accompanied by a thousand armed security agents and police – setting off the second intifada. Palestinians rallied and rioted; the IDF pummelled them. And his reward for all of this? Elected as prime Minister the following year by an Israel fearful of Palestinian rage provoked by his stunt.
‘With a free hand to deploy tanks and combat jets against Palestinian population centers, Sharon oversaw a campaign of carefully calculated brutality, culminating, in 2002, in the comprehensive demolition of the Jenin refugee camp.’ While Israeli bulldozers trundled through Gaza and the West Bank, Sharon began to woo Israelis into his separation strategy: the wall. And today the implications of that strategy are clear for anyone interested in truly seeing. Strangulation, isolation, starvation, open-air prisons, bantustans of the highest order.
So, what are you honouring with your statement? You couldn’t even do what so many of our cowed leaders and media are doing – adding words like ‘controversial’; maybe that’s what ‘significant’ is supposed to do, rather like ‘interesting’. For the NDP, clearly a hero, ‘dedicating his life…’ He was the terminator of the 1948 war, strutting towards the only possible solution, the final one.
Lee A. McKenna