Stop Treating 'The Butcher of Beirut' Like a Saint

Rashad Khalidi lived through Ariel Sharon's onslaught
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2014 1:59 PM CST
Stop Treating 'The Butcher of Beirut' Like a Saint
Joe Biden stands in front of the grave of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during his funeral in southern Israel this week.   (AP Photo/Baz Ratner, Pool)

Ariel Sharon's death has brought on a bout of hagiography. The American and Israeli media will call him "controversial," but then call him a hero. Joe Biden praised him for his pursuit of peace yesterday, while Henry Kissinger terms him a "peacemaker" in today's Washington Post, noting his late-life willingness to pull out of Gaza. It's a "grotesque" characterization, Rashid Khalidi argues at Foreign Policy. "It is hard to imagine this kind of kid-glove treatment of anyone else with such a list of atrocities to his name."

Khalidi was living in West Beirut during Sharon's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and it was obvious Israel "had no qualms about killing large numbers of civilians" to get at the PLO. "A building that housed refugees located several blocks from my home … was entirely destroyed from the air, killing dozens," he writes. Soon after, a car bomb went off, presumably "in order to kill those trying to rescue survivors," nearly killing one of Khalidi's friends. Sharon characterized all Palestinians as terrorists, and did more than anyone to prevent a contiguous Palestinian state. "In a more just world, he would have ended up facing the International Criminal Court in The Hague." Click for the full column. (More Ariel Sharon stories.)

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