Written June, 2004.
Intent cannot always be discerned from a distance. Reality, whatever that may be, is not always defined by fact, but by perception. What we see,
what we discern from our vantage point, defines our reality; facts need not be included. Whatever the intentions have been behind the continuous
U.S. aide to Israel since 1949, in 2001 the perception by the Arab world of that intent could have been to aide and abet a nation led by an alleged
Since 1976 Israel has been the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign aide. It is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. aide since World War
A comparison of U.S. aide to Israel versus U.S. aide to the neighboring Arab states and nations drives home the perceived imbalance in the U.S.
position concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the Arab world.
"The impressive numbers for U.S. aid to Israel become even more so when they, and the attached conditions, are compared with other Middle East
countries. The roughly $3.3 billion in annual aid compares with some $2 billion for Egypt, $225 million for Jordan, and $35 million for Lebanon. Aid
for the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not earmarked, but has been running at about $100 million. Furthermore, aid to the PA is strictly controlled
by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and goes for specific projects, mostly civil infrastructure projects such as water and sewers.
On the other hand, the U.S. gives Israel all of its economic aid directly in cash, with no accounting of how the funds are used. The military aid
from the DOD budget is mostly for specific projects. Significantly however, considering current events, one of those projects was the development of
the Merkava tank, which has been encircling and firing on Palestinian towns in the West Bank and Gaza.
The only condition the congressional foreign aid bill places on military aid to Israel is that about 75 percent of it has to be spent in the U.S. In
contrast with other countries receiving military aid, however, who purchase through the DOD, Israel deals directly with U.S. companies, with no DOD
Special mention should also be made of the details of the Wye agreement. All of the $400 million going to the PA under the agreement is economic
aid, whereas all of the $1.2 billion for Israel is for military projects and programs. These include $40 million for armored personnel carriers and
$360 million for Apache helicopters, again significant considering current events."
This enormous difference in aide alone can be understood to fuel animosity toward the U.S. in the Arab world when viewing the long- standing
Palestinian-Israeli conflict from an unbiased position. But a second factor comes into play at the beginning of 2001, which distorts the perception
of this funding even further.
Ariel Sharon joined the Haganah, at the age of 14, in 1942. The Haganah was an underground Israeli military organization that existed in the
pre-partitioned Jewish-Palestinian region from 1920 to 1948. Included in the terrorist activities of the Haganah is the bombing of the King David
Hotel on July 22, 1946 in which 91 people were killed and 45 injured. Though the bombing was carried out by the Jewish underground military
organization Irgun Tsvai-Leumi, the command was issued by Moshe Sneh, chief of the Haganah General Headquarters.
The King David Hotel was also the venue for a second incident involving the Haganah July 8, 1948. With the U.N. flag still flying over the hotel,
which had been the U.N. local headquarters, the Haganah moved in and took over the hotel from the U.N. personnel committing a breach of Truce
In 1953, Sharon founded the "101" special commando unit in the Israeli defense forces. The "101" is described as a special force for carrying
out "retaliatory operations". The retaliatory operations came in the form of the Qibya attack of October 14, 1953. The attack was justified as
retaliation against repetitive "infiltration" of Israel by Jordanians. The infiltration came in two forms: illegal movement across the lines by
individuals with no malice for the sake of employment, immigration, or to visit people within Israel; and infiltration by malevolent individuals for
the sake of terrorist attacks. Two days before the Qibya attack an incident which fell into the latter form of infiltration took place in which
alleged infiltrators threw a hand grenade into a house in the Israeli village of Yahud resulting in the death of two children and a woman. It is
believed this spurred the Qibya attack.
In the Qibya attack the Israeli 101, in a "battalion scale attack" led by Sharon, entered the village of Qibya, Jordan, at approximately 9:30 at
night. Using atutomatic weapons, hand grenades, bangalore torpedoes and TNT explosives, the 101 completely destroyed 41 houses and a school
building. The attack resulted in 42 deaths with 38 of these deaths being women and children, and 15 wounded. The attack lasted until 3 a.m. at
which time the 101 withdrew. During the withdrawal support Israeli troops shelled neighboring Jordanian villages of Budrus and Shuqba. This attack
came on the same day that the Mixed Armistice Commission had condemned Israeli ambushes on a civilian bus and a taxi.
The Mixed Armistice Commission immediately condemned Israel for the attacks on Quibya, Shuqba and Budrus and the Jordanian government called on the
Israeli government to "take immediate and most urgent steps to prevent the recurrence of such aggressions of Jordan and Jordan citizens".
On October 18, 1953, the U.S. Department of State issued a statement which included expressing it's "deepest sympathy for the families of those
who lost their lives" in the Qibya attack as well as the conviction that those responsible "should be brought to account
and that effective
measures should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future."
On November 24, 1953, the U.N. Security Council issued Resolution 101 in which it found that the attack on Qibya was, in fact, an attack by "armed
forces of Israel". Resolution 101 censured the Israeli attack and requested the Israeli government "take effective measures to prevent all such
actions in the future". Though the U.S. State Department had expressed its desire to see the conviction of those reponsible, the U.N. Security
Council resolution did not fulfill the requested desire of the Jordanian government that the Israeli military and government officials involved in
the attack be brought to international justice.
In 1956 Sharon was commander of a Paratroop Corps fighting in the Sinai Campaign. In August 1995 Arye Biro, a paratrooper commander who served
under Sharon in the Sinai Campaign, came forward in an interview with The Daily Telegraph and admitted to the execution of 50 unarmed Egyptian
In 1982 Ariel Sharon had fully earned his nickname as "The Bulldozer" in his role as Minister of Defense by organizing the invasion of Lebanon in
"Operation Peace for Galilee" in which 29,500 Palestinians and Lebanese were killed or wounded over a less than 6 week period. 40 percent were
Shortly after these raids into Gaza, the massacre at two contiguous Lebanese refugee camps, Sabra and Shatilla took place. The total dead from the
raid on the two camps that lasted from 6:00 p.m. September 16, 1982 to 8:00 a.m. September 18th has never been resolved. Though neither the Kahan
Commission (an investigation undertaken by Yitzhak Kahan, president of the Israeli Supreme Court) or the U.N. concluded direct complicity for
Sharon, the Kahan Commission did conclude dereliction of duty on Sharon's part.
"It is our view that responsibility is to be imputed to the Minister of Defense for having disregarded the danger of acts of vengeance and
bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps, and having failed to take this danger into account when he decided to have
the Phalangists enter the camps. In addition, responsibility is to be imputed to the Minister of Defense for not ordering appropriate measures for
preventing or reducing the danger of massacre as a condition for the Phalangists' entry into the camps. These blunders constitute the
non-fulfillment of a duty with which the Defense Minister was charged."
In these raids, the refugee camps were surrounded by Israeli troops at close proximity. The Israeli troops fired flares at a rate of one every 2
minutes for visual aide. Phalangists, rival Lebanese troops who were allied with Israel (Lebanon was suffering a civil war at the time), were
allowed to enter both camps. At least 762 people were murdered, many of them women and children, and many mutilated including disembowelment.
The U.N. immediately condemned the atrocities at Sabra and Shatilla in Resolution 521. This was immediately followed by a letter from the Chairman
of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Within this letter it was explicitly stated that the
atrocities that occurred at the Lebanese refugee camps would not have happened had Israel not been involved in the situation.
"This tragedy, which parallels the worst horrors perpetrated during the Second world War, must forever remain a blot on the conscience of mankind.
It is, moreover, a direct consequence of Israel's invasion of Lebanon which had already caused the killing of thousands of unarmed civilians,
including women and children.
Israel's armed interference in the affairs of a neighbouring country is to be strongly condemned. Peace in the region requires that Israel be
compelled to withdraw from Lebanon and all the territories it has illegally occupied.
The Committee has repeatedly pointed out that incidents such as this latest massacre, as well as the repeated injustices in the illegally occupied
Arab territories, would continue as long as the Palestinian people are prevented by Israel from exercising their inalienable rights in their own
independent State. The responsibilities of the United Nations in this regard need no stressing."
On September 24th the U.N. issued Resolution ES-7/9 in which it again condemned the atrocities that occured at Sabra and Shatilla, but this time
included within its demands the following:
The 2001 Perception
"(a) Israel withdraw all its military forces forthwith and unconditionally to the internationally recognized boundaries of Lebanon;"
At the end of the U.S. fiscal year 2000, the total Foreign Aide given to Israel by the U.S. landed somewhere between $81.38 billion and $91 .82
billion. For the U.S. fiscal year 2001, which began in October 2000, the appropriations bills presented by President Clinton, and approved by
Congress, allocated "$2.82 billion in economic and military foreign aid to Israel, an additional $60 million in so-called refugee resettlement and
$250 million in the DOD budget, plus $85 million imputed interest, for a total of at least $3.215 billion". In addition, President Clinton had
also placed before Congress a special appropriations package requesting "an additional $450 million in military aid to Israel in FY 2001, plus $350
million for FY 2002." This special package also included requests for "225 million in military aid for Egypt and $75 million in security
assistance for Jordan".
At the same time, on February 6, 2001, Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister of Israel.
Even on the eve of the Israeli election, the headlines that would splatter the year's news had begun:
"Sharon's return puts Wreckage Street in fear"
by Phil Reeves, The Independent
, January 21, 2001.
"Is Ariel Sharon Israel's Milosevic?"
by James Ron, Los Angeles Times
, February 5, 2001.
"The Legacy of Ariel Sharon
by Robert Fisk, The Independent
, February 6, 2001.
"Return of the Terrorist: The Crimes of Ariel Sharon"
by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St.-Clair, Counterpunch
, February 7,
"Worldbeaters: Ariel Sharon"
, New Internationalist
, May 2001.
, BBC, June 17, 2001.
The BBC series of documentaries on Sharon came on the heels of a group of Lebanese survivors from the Sabra and Shatilla massacres lodging a
"complaint with a Belgian judge yesterday demanding the indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on war-crimes charges."
So as the calendar swept toward September 11, 2001, the distant perspective of the Arab world, unable to discern intent but defining their reality,
saw the marriage of the Buck and Bulldozer in a world that must have seemed unacceptably biased against the perceived injustices of the past
1. Israel: U.S. Foreign Assitance
2. A Conservative Total for U.S. Aid to Israel: $91 Billion?and
3. Ariel Sharon
4. The Haganah
5. King David Hotel Bombing
6. Telegram to U.N. Dated 9 July 1948
7. Letter to U.N. Dated 10 July 1948
to U.N. Dated 16 October 1953
Security Council Record of 29 October 1953
12. Baltimore Sun Article of August 1995
13. The Crimes of Ariel Sharon
14. U.N. Resolution
15. Letter to U.N. dated 20
16. Resolution ES-
17. Transcript: "The
18. The BBC vs. Ariel Sharon
Original ATSNN Article
[edit on 1-9-2006 by Valhall]