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Sharon's Doomsday Scenario
23 February 2002
Having led his people through some of the bloodiest points in their history (including some for which he has a standing appointment at the Hague), it is hard to believe that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon lacks an historical world view. That being said, it seems unlikely that his present course of action, bloody retribution against the entire Palestinian people, in response to the actions of militant Palestinian groups, is occurring in a vacuum. More likely, Sharon's actions are designed not to bring peace to Israelis, but rather to complete the subjugation of Palestinians.
In that scenario, Yasser Arafat is every bit as irrelevant as the Western press has made him out to be. His removal is one component of a strategy in which it would be better - yes, better - for Sharon to put in place leaders to Mr. Arafat's right - leaders more like Sharon himself. In Sharon's doomsday plan, Arafat is assassinated (no matter whether by Israelis or by fellow Arabs) or forced into exile, and replaced by the most militant Islamists available. Then, there will be no question as to the sameness of the PLO and al Qaida. Thus, the world will stand aside and allow Sharon to complete his true goal: the annexation of all of the West Bank and Gaza (finishing the work of 1967), the crushing of the Palestinian resistance, and the creation of an apartheid state in which Arabs either leave, or live on as impotent serfs, stripped of any nationalist aspirations.
Sharon, then, is fighting the war of 1967, not some 21st century War on Terror.
As awful as it sounds, such a scenario comports with Sharon's history, (he isn't called the Bulldozer for nothing), and with his demonstrated worldview. Sharon doesn't want to make peace with the Arabs, he wants to rub them out, and just as he knew that his visit to the holiest site in East Jerusalem nearly a year-and-a-half ago would touch off the Intifada (and guarantee his election over Ehud Barak), Sharon has surely calculated that every tank rolled into a West Bank town, every sniper bullet that finds its mark, every rock throwing teenager detained, and every missile that kills an Arab civilian or too will spark bloody retribution, to which his security forces can then respond, brutally and without compunction. What is even more outrageous is that Sharon seems willing to brook Jewish civilian casualties in service of his larger aims, and to keep the cycle of violence churning until the last vestiges of Jewish moderation have been rooted out, and all the people of Israel get with the pogrom.
Unfortunately for the children of Israel and of Palestine, Sharon's doomsday plan is working brilliantly. He has his all-out war with the Arabs, he has marginalized Yasser Arafat to the point of impotence (he demands that Arafat's police arrest militants, then he bombs the police on their way out the door), and he has silenced international opposition to his brutal repression of the Palestinian diaspora. Even Britain, normally a fairly evenhanded party when it comes to Middle East affairs, has hushed in the face of the shock of suicide bombings by stupid, violent and short-sighted Islamic militants, who are not only inflicting horror and alienating the civilized world to their cause, but who are also playing right into their sworn enemy's bloody hands.
Sharon's doomsday plan is as unfortunate for his people as it is for the Arabs he so despises. While he wages his war against the Arab population of the occupied territories, Israel's economy goes into the tank, weary Israelis look for the nearest emigration point and even his beloved settlements are loathe to expand (where do you find people radical enough to live in them, anyway?). Worse, Sharon continues to sacrifice both Jewish and Palestinian teenagers to his cause.
Contrary to what partisan American pundits and politicians would have us believe, the war of subjugation being waged by Sharon has no relation whatsoever to the "War on Terror". The United States is not fighting against a people under its occupation. The United States is not fighting to retain lands that multiple U.N. declarations demand that it cede. The United States is not fighting a war against a people it has systematically subjugated, exterminated and displaced.
Joy-Ann Lomena Reid