The Haganah, Al-Queda, Ariel Sharon and the 1956 Suez War
Israel Has Always Been Militarily Stronger Than the Arabs
The United States is fighting in Afghanistan because it allowed the alleged attackers of the World Trade Center and Pentagon to train and live there.
In 1947 and 1948, the United States allowed the Haganah troops who fought for Israeli independence to be financed and trained by Americans at secret camps in the Maine woods. There was no State of Israel at that time. The President Truman was working, over the objections of Secretary of State George C. Marshall [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during World War II] to get the United Nations to approve the creation of Israel.
Truman advisor Clark Clifford was a major proponent of Israeli statehood. Marshall always thought Truman supported the creation of Israel for domestic political purposes, to get Jewish support for his 1948 re-election campaign. As a result, Marshall never spoke to Clifford again.
In the late 1940's, the British and French continued to occupy Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and the puppet state of Egypt. The Arabs were colonial people, under European occupation, without real states, self government or armies of their own.
The idea that Israel has always been a small, weak state surrounded by a stronger, more numerous Arab population has always been propaganda. If Israel had really been weaker than the Arabs, it never would have agreed to invade Egypt in collusion with the British and French in 1956, just 8 years after the war for Independence.
The 1956 Suez War
The television MSNBC showed an investigative report on the weekend of December 1 & 2 which profiled the lives of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Yassir Arafat. Although the time span of the documentary covered the time period from Israel's birth in 1948 to the present, no mention was made of the 1956 Suez War in which Sharon played a major role.
In 1989, Sharon wrote An Autobiography called WARRIOR. Here is how he describes the origins of the 1956 Suez War.
"On October 25, 1956, I went to see [Prime Minister David] Ben Gurion. He told me briefly what had gone on. A deal had been struck by which Israel, France, and Great Britain would each gain their objectives. Ours were in Sinai. [At this time, Ben-Gurion was claiming that Israel had an historical claim to Sinai.] We would open the blockaded Strait of Tiran, eliminate the storm of terror from Gaza, and destroy all [Egyptian President] Nasser's pretensions to leadership, perhaps even bring about his downfall. At the same time the French and British would re-establish their control over the Suez Canal.
"The campaign was to be initiated by a carefully co-ordinated ploy. Israel would take action against the Egyptians deep in Sinai, dropping a paratroop battalion close enough to the canal to 'threaten' the waterway. At that point Great Britain and French would given an ultimatum to both sides to move their forces away from the canal zone. Israel would agree. Egypt of course would not, and French and British forces would intervene to insure the canal's continued operation. Once the opening phase was over, we would pursue our own objectives by destroying Egypt's forces in Sinai." p. 141 WARRIOR
After the most recent suicide bombing in Israel, Ariel Sharon said, "Israel does not start wars." In the 1956 war, Sharon was the paratroop commander of Brigade 202 which penetrated furthest behind Egyptian lines and helped conquer the Sinai peninsula in less than seven days. Under pressure from United States President Dwight Eisenhower, the Israelis, French and British were forced to withdraw from Egypt.
Here is how Sharon describes the withdrawal:
"It took two months before arrangements were concluded for the Israeli forces in Sinai to be replaced by a multinational U. N. force. During that time the paratroops roamed the entire teriroty. We were on every hill, in every wadi, over every mountain and ravine. I wanted each officer to know the place in case we might need that knowledge in the future. Together with the air force we prepared hidden caches of food and water for any downed pilots [or infiltrators] who might need to survive there. We were on the move constantly. We knew that time was short and that we had to become intimate with the desert. We saw everything and wrote everything down, filing reports together with maps and charts and photographs. It was a monumental survey. I for one was hardly convinced that a U. N. force would provide any solution. We did not know when we might have to come back." p. 155 WARRIOR
Sharon returned to Sinai almost 11 years later, in 1967.
On May 2, 1962, Sharon's wife Gali was killed in a head on automobile collision with a truck. She was driving a left hand drive car from Britain in a country which drives on the right. Sharon was left with his 5 year old son, Gur, who was born right after the 1956 war.
Gali's sister Lily came to live with Sharon and care for Gur. Later, Sharon married Lily and they had two more boys.
The 1967 Six Day War
Here is how Sharon describes his return to Sinai at the beginning of the 1967 Six Day War:
"Our plan called for a simultaneous strike on the morning of June 5. Israel's air force was to launch a pre-emptive attack of Egypt's airfields. At the same moment Tal's tanks would assault Rafa and El Arish along the coast while I hit Abu Agheila and Kusseina on the central axis. Between us. Yoffe's division would traverse the supposedly impassable sands of Wadi Haridin, isolating the two battlefields and racing toward Egyptian forces in the interior." p.187 WARRIOR
Obviously, Sharon made good use of the maps he made and information he gathered during his uninvited stay in Egypt a decade before.
The Capture of Jerusalem
Sharon was fighting in Sinai when Jerusalem fell to the Israeli forces. Here is Sharon's description:
"Toward the evening we passed by a wild mountain called Jabel Harim. As we did, I heard on the news that the Old City of Jerusalem had been liberated. Out in that barren desert I felt a sudden surge of conflicting emotions. Disappointment, for one. All those years I had nursed a secret hope that perhaps I would have the privilege of doing that. But I was happy too. Over the airwaves I heard the joyous voices of paratroopers, men that I had known and commanded. Si I thought, Even if I am not there myself, at least it was the paratroops who did it." p. 198 WARRIOR
This paragraph shows that the Israelis, or at least Sharon, always planned to seize Jerusalem. United Nations resolutions and international law does not recognize Israel's claim to the city. Who is going to force them to relinquish it, if not the Palestinians themselves? Certainly not George Bush, who ran on a platform of peace, but on Israel's timetable and blames the Palestinians for the violence. Israel has already illegally held Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza for 34 years. The violence in the Middle East is a measure of the desperation and urgency of the situation.
A Visit To Jerusalem
After the Six Day War, Sharon got a chance to take his son, Gur, to visit the conquered territories. Sharon writes:
"Before the war I had been used to taking Gur every once in a while to Mount Zion overlooking Old Jerusalem. I'd point out the sites to him, the destroyed Jewish quarter, the Temple Mount, the Wall. 'There' I would say, 'those places there, they are not in our hands, but they are ours. They belong to us." p. 206 WARRIORS
Uh, what about the people who already live there and have lived there for centuries, doesn't it belong to them?
The Rosh Hashana Tragedy
"In 1967 Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, fell on October 4. Like all Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashana begins on the eve of the holiday, and that morning Lily took the car to do some last-minute shopping for presents in Tel Aviv. At 9 a.m. I was sitting on the bed taling with some friends who had phoned to wish us a happy new year. Although it was still early, the phone had been ringing steadily for an hour. While I was talking, Gur came into the bedroom and I half heard him say that he was going out to play. 'I'll be out in the front," he told me, then turned around to leave. Just before he did, he gave me a playful salute, the gesture of a boy who had grown up around the army and who liked military things.
"A minute or two later, while I was still talking, I heard a shot ring out from the front of the house. I dropped the phone receiver on the bed and rushed outside to see what had happened. Gur was stretched out on the grass with a terrible wound in his eye, his face covered with blood.... Next to him lay an old shotgun, an antique that one of my friends had given to him as a present....I had seen so many wounds in my life; no one had to tell me that this one was hopeless. I had known it the moment I looked at him lying on the grass. But despite everything, you clutch at hopes. I sat in the back seat with Gur on my lap, my shirt soaked with his blood. Ages seemed to pass as we raced to the hospital. And as we did, he died in my arms." p. 214 & 215 WARRIOR
Ariel Sharon is a man who has lost a wife and a 10 year old son because of negligent behavior. He has spent a lifetime killing people, but saving horses. He almost single handedly defeated Egypt in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which was started by Egypt and Syria. He invaded Lebanon in 1982 and was held partially responsible for the massacres of hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the refugee camps. It was Sharon's visit to East Jerusalem that sparked the current intifada which has claimed a thousand lives and tens of thousands of wounded.
Ariel Sharon is a gangster and a mass murderer who is leading the United States and the world down the path to perpetual warfare. Sharon is not looking for peace, he is looking for victory. George Bush, who lost the 2000 election, is following Sharon's lead. For over 53 years, the military solution has failed to bring Israel the peace and security it says it desires. Maybe the time has come to either try something new, or to admit that the dead Israelis and Palestinians is the price that Israel is willing to pay to keep things the way they are.
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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf