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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Ariel Sharon Obituary’

Former Ambassador for Israel Again Ambassador for a Smaller Israel

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Have you seen the cartoon of a man holding a gun to his own head, with the caption, “Stop or I’ll shoot!”?  If so, you know where this column is going.

Recently retired Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren left his post after what must have seemed to him like four and a half very long years.

Now that Oren is no longer representing what the media he must love incessantly refers to as the hawkish Binyamin Netanyahu, the newly former ambassador is no longer diplomatically bound to have his mouth buttoned shut.

And with the new Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. firmly ensconced and actually comfortable with the positions of Israeli Prime Minister Netanayahu, Oren is once again speaking out of the side of his mouth connected to his inner Disengager.

Oren told an audience at Georgetown University in February of 2009, that he was amongst a minority of Israelis and was an outlier at the foundation where he then hung his hat: “I am one of the last remaining unilateralists.”

It was Oren’s belief in 2009, as it appears to remain so today, that in order for Israel to remain a Jewish state it would have to withdraw from the disputed territories popularly known as the West Bank.

What he said then was that in order for Israel to remain a Jewish State it had to maintain a Jewish majority and that in order for that to happen it would have to “redraw its borders and withdraw from its settlements in the West Bank.” (What Oren actually said was that Israel would have to withdraw its borders and withdraw from its settlements, but that only makes sense if what he meant to say was that the borders would have to be redrawn, not withdrawn.)

This past Saturday, Jan. 11, the day former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died, a eulogy for Sharon penned by Michael Oren appeared on the CNN website.

The eulogy is relatively short, only 802 words, but Oren managed to get in some beautiful oratory. It opens with: “Written on every page of Israel’s history, in ink and in blood, is the name Ariel Sharon.” Oren is a masterful writer, a lovely speaker and appears to be a very decent man.

But.

Oren also managed to weave in to his presentatio of Sharon’s legacy the message that the former ambassador is still clinging to his earlier view that in order to save itself, tiny Israel must constrict still further.

Along the way Oren revealed that where he saw Sharon acting to protect Israel’s security, Oren saw those acts then and described those actions now as ones taken without considerations about peace. But when Sharon pulled out the Israelis he himself had placed in communities in Gaza, Oren described Sharon as “pivoting toward peace.”

Oren is still clinging to the idea that the further concentrated Jews are in a land called Israel, the more secure they will be.

Indeed, Oren concludes his ode to Sharon on CNN by using the public platform to promote his own view of a Smaller Israel.

He uses the opportunity to first compare secretary of state John Kerry to the (good) Sharon, the Sharon “pivoting toward peace.” Oren points to Kerry’s current efforts “to pursue a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” and says that Israelis are asking “what happens if the peace process fails?”

It is unclear how many Israelis are actually wandering through the streets asking that question. Most reliable polls show there are very few Israelis (let alone Palestinian or any other kinds of Arabs) who have for a single moment thought that this time the U.S. peace pipe would ignite a change in attitudes by the parties directly involved.  Nonetheless, that is how Oren wrote his opening for sharing his personal view, this one unfettered by diplomatic blinks and nods. Should this current peace process break down Israel should…..make itself smaller!  Why wait for the Palestinian Arabs to have to give up anything like, oh, incitement against Israel or educating their children to believe Jews slaughter Arabs for the fun of it?

Arik Is Dead

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Ariel Sharon, aka Arik, Israel’s 11th Prime Minister and perhaps its most heroic and controversial leader, passed away today at age 85.

On December 18, 2005, then Prime Minister Sharon suffered a mild stroke, followed on January 4, 2006 by a second, far more serious stroke, from a massive cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain).

On April 6, then President Moshe Katsav (now in jail for sex abuse) formally asked Ehud Olmert (convicted on, and still facing corruption charges) to form a government, making him Prime Minister-Designate.

Thus came to an abrupt end a stellar military and political career, rife with victories, betrayals, achievements and losses.

Israelis from my generation grew up with stories of Arik Sharon the legendary founder and commander of special forces Unit 101. Fifty young men, mostly former paratroopers, were ordered in 1951 by then Prime Minister David Ben Gurion to retaliate for attacks across the Egyptian and Jordanian borders by fedayeen irregulars, against Jewish civilians and their property. Eventually, Unit 101 began to carry out offensive guerrilla warfare missions.

In the fall of 1953 came the first stain on Sharon’s reputation as a warrior, during his unit’s reprisal action for a fedayeen attack in the Israeli village of Yehud. They attacked the village of Qibya, in the disputed territories under Jordanian rule. 69 Arab civilians, including children, were killed when Sharon’s troops dynamited buildings there.

Unit 101 was eliminated and its men were assigned to the Paratroopers Brigade, which Sharon eventually commanded.

The next key controversy in Sharon’s career took place during the Sinai Operation of 1956, when his forces emerged victorious from the bloodiest battle of that war, at the Mitla pass. Historians have blamed then Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan for the way the battle developed, and assigned additional blame to Sharon for his unnecessary aggressiveness, which ended with 38 Israeli dead.

Over those volatile years, Sharon was losing the support of Israel’s political class, which didn’t trust his judgment, despite his obvious leadership skills and his intelligence. Ben Gurion is reputed to have quipped about Sharon: “Is he still having problems with the truth?” For this reason, after several years as commander of the southern front, Sharon was passed up for an appointment as IDF chief of staff.

In August, 1973, Sharon left the military and began his political career, first with a left-leaning party named Shlomzion, and then with the right wing Likud. But a short time later, as the Yom Kippur war erupted and Israel political and military leadership were in a state of near-panic, Sharon was given command over a division at the southern front. That’s when the controversial general, defying his orders–and jeopardizing another division with which he was supposed to cooperate–changed the outcome of the war, taking the fighting to the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal.

In 1981, Sharon joined Likud leader Menachem Begin’s second term as prime minister, landing the position of Defense Minister. Those who didn’t want him as IDF chief of staff now had to accept him as the political boss of the chief of staff.

Sharon’s next, possibly most infamous scandal took place during the 1982 Lebanon war, with the massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila that was perpetrated by the Christian Falange in retaliation for the assassination of their president. Sharon was accused—and later found guilty by an investigating committee—of providing logistical support to the Falange.

Sharon was forced to resign from his Defense post, but continued to serve as government minister under Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Throughout his years as Likud minister in various capacities, Sharon was considered the friend and patron of the settlement movement, to the point where his name was synonymous with Jewish life in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan. His contribution in terms of budgets and support was unequaled by any other Israeli politician.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arik-is-dead/2014/01/11/

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