Thursday, September 19, 2002

A fellow in Iceland who repeatedly wrote to me about the "Jenin Massacre" (see here), has written me again:

These days there are 20 years since the mass murders in Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon.They were committed by Israeli troops under command of Ariel Sharon.Have anice anniversary.

Here's a long article about Elie Hobeika, the Lebanese Christian Phalangist leader who is acknowledged to have authorized the Sabra/Shatila massacres. According to the article, in 1985 the CIA recruited Hobeika to launch an assassination attempt on the head of Hezbollah. The assasination was botched with horrific consequences, leading the CIA to break its ties with him. Quite incredibly, despite all of this Hobeika was appointed to various cabinet positions in the Lebanese government from 1991 onward. Hobeika died in a car bombing a few months ago - Syrians are thought to be responsible but of course in the Arab world it's easiest to blame Israel. Hobeika's militia actually has its own website.

Here is the Kahan Commission report which imputes "indirect responsibility" to Ariel Sharon for not anticipating what the Christian militia would do in the camps. More recently, the situation has been to Dutch complicity at Srebrenica(long article, summary).

The world at large is much more concerned about the "indirect responsibility" of Sharon than the very direct responsibility of Hobeika, who was until recently a Lebanese minister.

Interestingly, I think that a lot of Israelis (myself included) are much more sympathetic to Sharon than we would have been a few years ago. After Sabra/Shatila, Sharon was disgraced and his political career was regarded as over. But after his comeback (which was brought about by Arafat's humiliation of Ehud Barak), Sharon has been a much more effective Prime Minister than his two predecessors. It's not just that we appreciate Sharon now .... we do see a sense of judgement and humanity about the man ...

Comments policy: Comments which supply additional information are welcome. Well-thought-out responses are also welcome, especially when they disagree with me. Making broad generalizations and ex-cathedra pronouncements is not encouraged. And posts including personal attacks or lots of naughty language will be deleted.

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