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Ariel Sharon: another war crime surfaces

By Jonathon Cook | February 12, 2014

Forty-two years late, another Israeli war crime emerges from the shadows. In this case, dozens, and more probably hundreds, of Israeli soldiers kept a decades-long vow of secrecy. One of them is Shlomo Gazit, today a respected (in Israel, at least) academic at Tel Aviv University.

In January 1972, Ariel Sharon decided that 3,000 Bedouin were in the way of a massive military exercise he wanted to conduct in the southern Negev and northern Sinai. So he summarily expelled two tribes in the el-Arish area of the Sinai from their homes, during a deep winter spell. At least 40 people died, mostly babies, children and the elderly.

A young army researcher, Clinton Bailey, heard from other Bedouin of the expulsion and went to meet the families. He photographed 28 small graves at their new makeshift location.

He then brought the expulsion to the attention of the head of the army, David Elazar. Although Elazar ordered the tribes to be returned to their land, it was too late for the dozens who had died. No action was taken against Sharon or anyone else. In fact, Sharon’s military and later political career prospered on such “exploits”.

Bailey and everyone else covered up the crime for four decades, fearful of the damage it would do to Israel’s reputation. The silence has been broken now because Bailey divulged the incident to journalist David Landau, who was preparing a new biography of Ariel Sharon.

Haaretz coyly admits that its military correspondent of the time knew of the war crime too but kept quiet. The paper has published the story now, but one cannot but ponder its motives. This revelation should help book sales, and Landau is a former senior editor at the paper.

No one is denying that these events took place. The Israeli army even comments that the “case is known”, though it wishes to say nothing more. Gazit has no recollection of being told about it at the time.

What other such crimes do we still not know about because Israelis consider their loyalty to their state more important than their responsibility as human beings to the truth and justice?

And although Haaretz, and most of those involved in the cover-up, treat this as some footnote in the historical record, or another aberration to lay at the feet of Sharon, the reality is that Israel is still driving Arabs – Palestinians – off their land. The people of the Jordan Valley, Sussiya and East Jerusalem know this only too well.

February 12, 2014 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. How many do you gd people and the gd world need before you do thier gd jobs and prosecute the pyscho mass murderers

    Like

    Comment by 0jr | February 12, 2014 | Reply

    • To many in power are in on it, it will not change by governments. Only by many many good people standing up for what is right. But we are to serve the jews are we not, at least many jews believe and they are not shy to say so.

      Like

      Comment by richard123456columbia | November 2, 2014 | Reply


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