Sharon Not Welcome
Our current rulers-by-default, who can effortlessly pull down historical monuments, instigate communal riots, engineer pogroms, poison millions of minds, change foreign policy at will, can also invite a war criminal as a State guest, at a time very few countries in the whole world would extend him an invitation.
Their guest is a man who was indicted by an official commission of enquiry in his own country for his role in the heinous crime of Sabra and Shatila when about 3000 defenceless Palestinian refugees were massacred over three full days in September 1982 while his forces laid siege to the area after giving solemn assurances to all and sundry, including the US, that civilian life will be safe after the departure of the PLO from Beirut. But breaking pledges comes as easy to the unwelcome guest as his eager hosts.
The Kahan Commission (named after the then president of the Israeli Supreme Court) that investigated the massacre in 1983 concluded that "Minister of Defense bears personal responsibility" and should "draw the appropriate personal conclusions arising out of the defects revealed with regard to the manner in which he discharged the duties of his office." The commission recommended that Prime Minister Menachem Begin remove him from office if he did not resign. He did resign in disgrace, though he subsequently sneaked back into political positions.
This man is Ariel Sharon, a retired general of "Israel Defence Forces", which since its inception has indulged only in aggression and expansion at the cost of its neighbours. Like the IDF, Sharon's past and present history is blood-soaked. He had committed dozens of massacres before Sabra and Shatila, and many more after Sabra and Shatila. He sparked the current intifadah in occupied Palestine by defiantly visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's three holiest religious sites. Bombing defenceless Palestinians, "targetted killing" of Resistance fighters, pulling down countless homes, placing civilians under a never-ending routine of curfew, uprooting orchards and now erecting an apartheid wall at the cost of Palestinian lands, are some of the later ‘achievements’ of this war criminal.
One of his earliest exploits was a raid against the Jordanian border town of Qibya, blowing up 45 houses and killing 69 villagers, about half of them women and children, in the night of October 14-15, 1953. It was in retaliation for the murder of an Israeli woman and her two children by Palestinian freedom fighters who slipped across from Jordan. The then Israeli foreign minister Moshe Sharett, a former prime minister, wrote about the colonel in his diary in the morning of Oct. 15, ''Which of the two souls that battle between the pages of the Bible will gain the upper hand here, the dark and barbaric or the noble?''
Umpteen demands have been made to bring this war criminal to justice. This seemed possible in Belgium where a progressive law allowed prosecution of war crimes and genocides anywhere in the world. "There is abundant evidence that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed on a wide scale in the Sabra and Shatila massacre, but to date, not a single individual has been brought to justice," said Hanny Megally, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch (HRW).
HRW said that "what happened at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity…all those responsible need to be brought to justice. Enough questions are raised by the Kahan Commission report to warrant a criminal investigation…[and] proceedings in a criminal court in Israel or elsewhere that will bring to justice those responsible for the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians…" (http://www.hrw.org/press/2001/06/isr0622.htm)
The case filed in Belgian courts last year against Sharon and other criminals could not be pursued because Sharon enjoys immunity as a head of government. The case may be revived once the war criminal is out of office. Israeli and American arms-twisting ensured that the case could not proceed to its logical end.
The 1998 request for the extradition of Augusto Pinochet and the legal battles that ensued demonstrated a heightened interest in bringing persons involved in grave crimes to justice. The Pinochet case reaffirmed the principle that human rights atrocities are subject to "universal jurisdiction" and can be prosecuted anywhere in the world. Two rulings by the UK House of Lords found that Pinochet did not enjoy immunity from prosecution even though he was head of state at the time the crimes were committed.
Ariel Sharon's personal history is intertwined with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Cases such as those of Slobodan Milosevic, the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, and others, provide compelling precedents for action against Sharon. He should be indicted for the crimes in which he bears responsibility as the first step in a process of accountability that will bring justice to his victims and their families. Instead, this war criminal is to be feted to red carpet welcome by like-minded people in our country who have forged strong ties with the usurper state and talk of building an axis with that country against terrorism.
Sharon is coming to Delhi on 9 September. Let sons of a brave people who drove away the British and gave the world the concept of non-alignment, make this war criminal feel unwelcome in Bharat.
India Rolls out the red carpet for Sharon
By ND Jayaprakash
It is absolutely shocking to note that the Government of India has extended an invitation to Mr. Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of Israel, to pay an official visit to India. This fact was first revealed by Mr. Brajesh Mishra, India's 'National Security Advisor', on 8 May 2003 in New York, while addressing the gathering at the Annual Dinner held by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), a rabid Zionist organization .
Promoting better relations with the people of Israel is one thing but trying to white-wash the heinous crimes of Ariel Sharon, and those of the fascist Likud Party he represents, is quite another. By extending an invitation to Ariel Sharon to visit India, the Indian Government has committed the cardinal sin of bestowing honour on a war-criminal, who is deeply detested by the vast majority of the global community because of his unsavoury reputation. In fact Sharon cannot travel to most countries even in Europe because of the extreme passions such a visit would arouse. It cannot be that the Government of India is unaware of the criminal record of Ariel Sharon or of the notorious Likud Party he has been leading. Therefore, the motives for inviting Ariel Sharon to India are highly suspicious.
During his speech at the said Annual Dinner of the AJC, Mr. Brajesh Mishra had rightly claimed that India "is one of very few countries in the world with no history of anti-Semitism." However, Mr. Mishra very conveniently forgot to add that India was one country that had been consistently anti-Zionist since the early days of its national movement under Mahatma Gandhi. It is primarily after the right-wing BJP [Bharathiya Janata Party]-led alliance assumed office that the Indian Government has started taking an increasingly pro-Zionist stance.
Mr. Mishra had also gone on to add that: "India, the United States and Israel have some fundamental similarities. We are all democracies, sharing a common vision of pluralism, tolerance and equal opportunity." Since when has Israel started promoting "a... vision of pluralism, tolerance and equal opportunity"! ? Is it not a fact that the bulk of the Palestinian population were violently displaced from the area allocated to Israel under the UN Partition Plan of 1947? Is it not a fact that the Palestinian people are under the brutal occupation of Israel, especially since 1967? Is it not a fact that more than half the 8 million Palestinian population are forced to live as refugees both inside and outside Palestine? Is it not a fact that the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP, a committee consisting of 25 UN members including India) has repeatedly voiced its grave concern at the horrendous treatment of the Palestinians by the occupying Israeli Defence Forces (IDF)?  Then by what yardstick is Mr. ! Mishra claiming that the State of Israel has been promoting "pluralism, tolerance and equal opportunity"?
Mr. Mishra's claim of shared vision obviously rests on the ignoble Sangh Parivar's (self-proclaimed group of fanatical "Hindu" organizations) version of history . According to them: "Just as the Hindus of India are fighting for their survival in the very land of their origin and forefathers, so too are the Jews of Israel confronting the very same threats to the nation that is theirs by historical and religious birthright. Hindus and Jews both face exactly the same danger: Islam.... The desire to reassert what is their rightful pride in land, culture and religion has awakened in the heart of the common Isra! eli and Indian. The results are obvious, the unabashedly Jewish Likud Party was voted into power in Israel and the political party that represents the reemergence of Hinduism, the BJP has been voted into power in India.... Considering the import of shared experiences, ideas and situations that link Indians and Israelis, it is about time that solid chains of friendship were forged."  Kowtowing to such pressure sullies not only the image of the Indian Government but that of the entire Secular Democratic Republic of India. The Sharon visit will also create utter dismay in the Sout h Asian region as a whole and will be disastrous for peace and democracy in the subcontinent.
There is little doubt, therefore, that it is the BJP's fascistic ideological affinity with the Likud Party which is the driving force behind this attempt to forge "solid chains of friendship". Just as the BJP emerged out of the erstwhile Bharathiya Jan Sangh, the Likud ("Unity") Party too emerged out of the erstwhile Tnuat Haherut ("Freedom") Party. The "Freedom" Party was headed by Menachem Begin, who also later went on to head the Likud Party. The Likud Party first came to power in 1977 with Begin as Prime Minister. It may be noted that nearly 30 years earlier many eminent US intellectuals of Jewish origin, including the noted scientist Albert Einstein,! had protested against the visit of Begin, while he was in the United States in 1948 on a fund raising campaign, for his role in the Deir Yassin massacre (see below). In their protest letter, which was published in the New York Times, they spoke plainly urging the US citizens not to support Begin or the fascist political movement he represented. The letter stated as follows:
"Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created State of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine. ...Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions...the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of <Mr.Begin>'s and his movement. ...Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state.... A shocking example was their behaviour in the Arab village of Deir Yassin.... On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES) terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, killed most of its inhabitants--240 men, women and children--and kept a few of them alive to parade them as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdulla of Transjordan. .... But the terrorists far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicised it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin. The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character of the Freedom Party....The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism." !
As mentioned above, it is the same fascist "Freedom" Party that has re-emerged as the Likud Party, which has been ruling Israel for the last several years. At least three of its members who have occupied the Prime Ministerial post--Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir (who had plotted the murder of the UN mediator for Palestine, Count Bernadotte, on 17 September 1948 ) and Aerial Sharon--have blood on their hands. It is undisputed that, when he was just 25-year old, Sharon was directly involved in the massacre of some 69 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank village of Qibiya during the night of 14-15 October 1953 as the bloody operation was carried out by an Israeli army unit led by him . Later, as the Defence Minister of Israel, Sharon was instrumental in plotting the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. There are various reports that vividly describe the result of his ruthless actions in Lebanon. According to the information compiled by the US Library of Congress:
"Beriut suffered grievously between June 6, 1982, when Israeli troops first crossed the Lebanese border, and September 16, when they completed their seizure of West Beirut. Normal economic activity was brought to a standstill. Factories that had sprung up in the southern suburbs were damaged or destroyed, highways were torn up, and houses were ruined or pitted by artillery fire and rockets. Close to 40,000 homes--about one-fourth of all Beir! ut's dwellings--were destroyed. Eighty-five percent of all schools south of the city were damaged or destroyed." 
The same report further added: "Taking stock of the war's toll, Israel announced that 344 of its soldiers had been killed and over 2,000 wounded.... Lebanese estimates, compiled from International Red Cross sources and police and hospital surveys, calculated that 17,825 Lebanese had died and over 30,000 had been wounded."  But this was not all. "On the evening of September 16, 1982, the IDF, having surrounded the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, dispatched approximately 300 to 400 Christian militiamen into the camps to rout what was believed to be the remnant of the Palestinian forces. The militiamen were mostly Phalangists under the command of Elie Hubayka (also seen as Hobeika), a former close aide of Bashir Jumayyil, but militiamen from the Israeli-supported SLA were also present. The IDF ordered its soldiers to refrain from entering the camps, but IDF officers supervised the operation from the roof of a six-story building overlooking parts of the area. According to the report of the Kahan Commission established by the government of Israel to investigate the events, the IDF monitored the Phalangist radio network and fired illumination flares from mortars and aircraft to light the area. Over a period of two days, the Christian militiamen massacred some 700 to 800 Palestinian men, women, and children."  Palestinian sources, however, claim that the death toll was over 3500.
Due to his despicable role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre, efforts were on to try Sharon as a war criminal in a Belgian court of law . On 18 June 2001, 23 survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres lodged a case in Belgium accusing Ariel Sharon (then Defense Minister and currently Prime Minister of Israel) with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide related to the massacres committed during 16-18 September 1982. The other accused include Amos Yaron (then Brigadier Genera commanding the Israeli division's forward command post in Beirut which was located just 200 metres from the Sabra and Shatila camps and currently Director General of Israel's Ministry of Defense), Elias Hobeika and other Lebanese Phalangist militia leaders. (The Sabra and Shatila survivors lodged the charges under 1993 and 1999 Belgian legislations that incorporates the principle of Universal Jurisdiction for war-crimes and crimes against humanity into Belgian criminal law.) Even the BBC has produced a documentary on Sharon titled "The Accused", which deals with his complicity in the Shabra and Shatila massacre .
According to activists who are campaigning to indict Sharon: "The central figure is unquestionably General Ariel Sharon, then Israeli Defence Minister, who personally directed the military operations in Lebanon and who was in Beirut at the time of the events.....Certain information indicates that Mr Sharon, although preferring to allow his local collaborators to perform the massacre in the camps, might have planned it with a view to terrorising the entirety of the Palestinian population of the Lebanon into leaving, or retreating to the north of the country.....Concerning the Phalangist militia, they could be considered de facto auxiliary forces to the military power occupying South Lebanon and Beirut at the time. These militia were armed and trained by Israel. Their leaders would not have been able to take any initiative that contradicted the will of the occupying power [Israel], and the operations they carried out were devised and prepared in collaboration with the Israeli military leaders." 
It is rather unfortunate that because of intense pressure from the US Government, the Belgian Government has now agreed to change its laws in such a way that Sharon and his co-conspirators cannot be tried in Belgium for war crimes anymore . But despite this setback there is unlikely to be any letup in the efforts of the survivours of the Sabra and Shatila massacre to put Sharon on trial. It may, however, be noted that Sharon was indeed castigated for his role in the massacre by Israel's own commission of enquiry headed by the then President of the Israeli Supreme Court, Yitzhak Kahane, and he was forced to resign from his post as Defense Minister in 1983 . Nevertheless, the situation in Israel is such that Sharon had little difficulty in bouncing back to power within a short time.
Meanwhile, Israel has had the dubious distinction of attaining "pariah" status in the UN because of the despicable deeds of its government. According to American Jewish Committe's (AJC) own admission: "... since the fall of 1996... the world body has entered a new and regrettably familiar phase, reminiscent of the UN in the 1970s and 1980s.... In this vast and strife-torn world, no other country is subject to the relentless, indeed obsessive, attention that is focused on Israel, ! year in and year out, in the General Assembly and other UN bodies. No other country is the subject of an even remotely similar number of critical resolutions, agenda items, committees of the Secretariat, and intolerant remarks". Seven years later the AJC could not but add that: "There are many others ways in which Israel has been singled out for special treatment at the UN, making it a pariah state." 
According to another Zionist sympathiser, only the United States "can be counted on to quickly and unambiguously express its understanding of Israel's situation and defend Israel's right to strike back.... Europeans by contrast stumble all over themselves, trying, but never convincingly, to show sympathy for the Israeli victims, but unable to hide their profound antipathy for the Sharon-led government and their general dislike of military responses to what they believe to be political problems." The same report also went on to add: "...the Geneva-based Commission on Human Rights, for example, was able to devote about 35 percent of its time at this year's six-week session to bashing Israel. It passed no fewer than eight anti-Israel resolutions, when no other problematic regional situation was the object of more than one resolution, if that." 
Zionist Israel is despised the world-over precisely because of its forcible occupation of Palestine and its most inhuman treatment of the Palestinian people for the last 55 years. Ariel Sharon's infamy goes back even further. Sharon has never lost an opportunity to spill the blood of Palestinians ever since he joined the Haganah, the terrorist wing of the Zionist movement, way back in 1942. The scale of his cruelty has only increased with time. Thus, Sharon's current role as Prime Minister has been equally appalling. The massacre of Palestinians in the refugee camps in the West Bank town of Jenin in April 2002 is yet another example of the brutality with which IDF under Sharon has been treating the hapless Palestinians. It is this bloodthirsty leader of the Likud Party that the Government of India has chosen to bestow an honour by inviting him to India at this juncture. This thoughtless decision of the Indian Government stigmatises all conscientious Indians.
Under the circumstances, if the Government of India does not withdraw the said invitation to Ariel Sharon forthwith, it would be a severe blot on the entire Indian nation. Any hesitancy on the part of the Government of India to do so would only mean that the Government has chosen to turn a blind eye to the horrendous crimes being perpetrated by Ariel Sharon and his fascist clique on the unfortunate people of Palestine, who are under the yoke of Israeli occupation. It would also mean that the present Government has chosen to completely overturn the principled policies followed by all previous governments in India, which have fervently supported the just cause of the Palestinian people.
It was reported that Ariel Sharon is scheduled to visit India from 9 to 11 September 2003, but the Government of India, however, claims that the dates are yet to be finalised . If the dates are never finalised, it would save the Indian Government the embarrassment of inviting a war criminal to India. But unless enough public pressure is mounted on the Indian Government to stick to its earlier principled stand, the pro-Zionist lobby will not desist from imposing its will. (Asia Times)
 See http://www.indianembassy.org/i
 See The Palestinian Saga.
 On June 2, 2001, The New York Times reported in its New York Report Section ("Two Unlikely Allies Come Together in Hatred of Muslims," Page A13), that a group of extremist Queens-Long Island Hindus (HinduUnity.org), who presume to speak for all their fellow believers, have joined forces with the Brooklyn followers of the late Rabbi Meir David Kahane (<Kahane.org>). The two groups have agreed to share their resources and strategies even as they help each other to maintain their hate websites. (See Amritjit Singh: "Is Islam Really a Problem for Jews and Hindus?"
 Aditi Chaturvedi, 'India and Israel--Destined for true friendship', March 22nd, 1999, at < (This website is funded by yet another Zionist organization: The Freeman Center for Strategic Studies, Huston, Texas, USA)
 Albert Einstein and twenty-eight others, New York Times, 4 December 1948
 For more details see: http://www.us-israel.org
 See http://electronicintifada.net/ and
http://www.palestinefacts.org/ (a Zionist web-site)
 (US Library of Congress / Federal Research Division / Country Studies / Area Handbook Series /Lebanon / Chapter 3 / The Economy / Recent Economic History / Invasion and Trauma, 1982-87, Para1)
 (US Library of Congress / Federal Research Division / Country Studies / Area Handbook Series /Lebanon / Chapter 5 / National Security/The 1982 Israeli Invasion And Its Aftermath /The Siege of Beirut, Para 5)
 Ibid, Para 9
 For more details, see http://www.indictsharon.net
 See http://news.bbc.co.uk/ (BBC Panaroma, 17 June 2001)
 (The Case Against the Accused / Responsibilities)
 See Reuters 12 July 2003 at and The Hindu, Delhi, 14 July 2003. Also see The Daily Star, Beirut, 21July 2003.
 Israel's Foreign Relations, Selected Documents, 104. Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the events at the refugee camps in Beirut, 8 February 1983.
 American Jewish Committee, 23 September 1997.
 http://www.ajc.org/Israel/IsraelAndTheUN.asp, 29 May 2003
 David A. Harris, 'Israel nearly alone in its war for survival', Miami Herald, 3 September 2002.
 See The Hindu, Delhi, 22 July 2003
N.D.Jayaprakash is a member of the Delhi Science Forum and can be reached at: email@example.com
The Sabra and Shatila Case in Belgium: A Guide for the Perplexed
The case against Sharon
By Laurie King-Irani
Is a war crimes case against Ariel Sharon, Amos Yaron, and other Israelis and Lebanese still being pursued in Belgium's courts? Or have dramatic legal decisions coupled with blunt political pressures rendered the case lodged by 23 survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre an interesting but failed attempt at obtaining international justice? If the Belgian Supreme Court found in favor of the plaintiffs' motion on 12 February 2003 to overturn a lower court's ruling halting the case, why did world news headlines proclaim the following day that "the case against Ariel Sharon has been thrown out by Belgium's highest court"? If investigations have already been launched by Belgium's judiciary to determine how and why more than one thousand innocent Palestinian and Lebanese civilians met such gruesome deaths 21 years ago, why did Ariel Sharon's government return its ambassador to Belgium with an official statement expressing Israel's satisfaction that the Belgian authorities had finally halted a "cynical attempt" to politicize and exploit its courts? And why did Sharon and Yaron, a few weeks later, withdraw from all judicial proceedings after engaging in two years of legal battle?
Surprising court decisions in Brussels and the Hague, taken in a particularly volatile international political context, have ensured that those working on and following this landmark case have remained perched on the edge of their seats, experiencing one judicial cliff-hanger moment after another. As an exasperated observer noted, "If you aren't manic-depressive when you start following all the dramatic ups and downs of this case, you soon will be!" It is no surprise, then, that even seasoned journalists and well-informed policy analysts are unsure of the precise status of this case, particularly since no small amount of media spin has been devoted to minimizing the case's significance, or even obfuscating what has really been happening in Belgium's courts and parliament.
Furthermore, many observers are uncertain about how recent Belgian legislative developments might affect this case. The Belgian Parliament passed an interpretative law in April that updates Belgium's 1993 and 1999 universal jurisdiction laws (also known as "Anti-Atrocity laws"), under which the Sabra and Shatila survivors filed their complaint. So far it looks unlikely that these changes will negatively impact the Sabra and Shatila case, though some of the new changes introduced by this legislation (discussed below), pose the risk that Belgian and/or foreign political pressures may be brought to bear on this and similar cases in the future.
The levels of analysis required to understand this rapidly evolving case are multiple -- local, national, and international; legal, historical, and political -- as well as dynamic and constantly interacting. Regardless of its final result, the repercussions of this case are already global. Ultimately, the Sabra and Shatila case is not simply about a specific massacre in Beirut in September 1982, it is also about the future trajectory, significance, and use of a compelling and controversial principle to halt impunity for the most horrific crimes known to humankind: that of universal jurisdiction.
The principle of universal jurisdiction, encoded in the Fourth Geneva Convention, international customary law, and the 1984 Convention on Torture, is grounded in an international legal consensus that some crimes are so heinous that they threaten the entire human race. The jurisdiction for prosecuting such violations must therefore be universal, not simply territorial. The Geneva Conventions specifically state that all signatories to the Convention have not only the right, but also the duty, either to prosecute individuals guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, or to make sure they are extradited to a jurisdiction where they will be properly and fairly tried.
Given the progressive evolution of international criminal law, which has gradually placed more emphasis on defending the rights of individual victims over the rights of states and state officials to enjoy immunity from prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity, a major collision of opposing ideas, interests, and visions was inevitable. Much of the background story of the Sabra and Shatila case is a narration of that collision.