Palestinians Relieved At Sharon's Death, Call Him "Ultimate Tormentor"
12 January 2014
By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Palestinians, nearly at all levels, have expressed
deep satisfaction at the death of former Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon, the man many Palestinian
consider their "ultimate tormentor."
Sharon died Saturday of a crippling illness that kept
him in a state of constant comma for eight years. He
Palestinian intellectuals and commoners interviewed by
this writer said they were quite relieved at the death
of the man they said killed so many innocent
Palestinians and caused suffering and misery on a
Sharon is especially reviled for the Sabra and Shatila
massacres in 1982, when he, as Defense Minister,
enabled Christian militiamen allied with Israel to
penetrate the two refugee camps on the outskirts of
Beirut and butcher hundreds of refugees.
Sharon denied the allegations but the monstrosity of
the massacres convinced very few people, even inside
Israel, of his innocence.
His visit to the Aqsa Mosque esplanade in October 2000
was seen as the main event triggering the second
Palestinian intifada in which thousands of
Palestinians and hundreds of Israelis lost their
Palestinians also believe that Sharon ordered the
assassination by way of poison of the late Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat. In 2004, Sharon ordered the
assassination of Ahmed Yasin, the founder and
spiritual leader of Hamas. A few weeks later, Sharon
approved the assassination of Yasin's successor Abdul
The ostensibly overwhelming hatred the Palestinian
public harbors for Sharon seems to have made
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
refrain from extending official condolence to the
The PA might also be worried that a formal call of
condolence would be used by Hamas as a "propaganda
capital" against Abbas and the PA.
Let him rot in hell
While the PA leadership refrained from commenting on
Sharon's death, some Fatah leaders unhesitatingly
voiced their deep satisfaction at Sharon's death.
"Sharon was a bona fide criminal. He is responsible
for the murder of so many innocent Palestinians,
including Yasser Arafat. We would have hoped to see
him dragged to the International Court of Justice or
the International Criminal Court to stand trial for
his numerous crimes" said Jebril Rajoub, an outspoken
Fatah leader and former head of the Preventive
For its part, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip,
couldn't hide its pleasure at Sharon's death.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson, said the
Palestinian people were more confident in victory
after the death of Sharon.
"Our people are quite happy that this criminal has
perished. We are happy because his hands were smeared
with the innocent blood of our children. We don't hate
Sharon and other Israeli leaders because they are
Jewish. We hate them because they are criminals and
Mushir al Masri, another Islamist spokesman, said it
was "natural" that Palestinians are happy about
"Wouldn't Jews be happy about the death of a Nazi
killer who had killed numerous Jews during the
Ismael Shindi, professor of Islamic Studies at the
University of Hebron, described Sharon as "our
"I know he is looked upon as a celebrated hero by most
Israelis and Jews. But for us he was a despicable
murderer and criminal. He carried on his hands the
blood of so many innocent people. I believe it is
unethical and un-conscientious to feel sorry for the
death of such a man."
Shindi added: "I know that gloating over a mortal's
death is inappropriate. But the man we are talking
about was not an ordinary criminal. He was our
ultimate tormentor and grave-digger and I am not
Predictably, the same feeling is echoed by almost
every Palestinian this writer has spoken to.
Like other monotheistic religions, Islam, the religion
of the vast majority of Palestinians, discourages
people from gloating over the death of other people,
even their enemies since all mortals will ultimately
However, in Sharon's case, there is a certain
collective feeling among Palestinians in general that
the man's evil transcended reality.
This is the view of Ahmed Yousef, the former political
advisor of Hamas' Prime Minister Ismael Haniya.
"Sharon's evilness went beyond the pale. It
transcended reality. That is why it would be dishonest
to say that Palestinians don't feel relieved by his
As mentioned above, the hatred directed at Sharon is
by no means confined to any specific segment of the
Tayseer Masalmeh is a taxi cab driver from the small
town of Dura in the southern West Bank.
He says that Palestinians cannot go against nature by
pretending that they are not satisfied at Sharon's
"I know that Sharon's death won't change things on the
ground. I know that his death won't make Israeli
leaders reconsider their oppressive policies and
practices against our people. But at least Sharon will
meet his maker and be brought face to face with the
many thousands of people he cut their lives short. I'm
sure he will rot in hell. God wouldn't be just if he
State of perdition
A similar view was voiced by Walid Suleiman,
editor-in-chief of Hebron Times, a tabloid newspaper
published in Hebron.
"I think Sharon's prolonged comma and ultimate death
is a sign of God. For us Palestinians, he was a
terrifying figure, a sort of fearful golem. He was
called the bulldozer for his ruthlessness and
viciousness. But eventually he succumbed to death as
if he had never existed on this earth. I hope all
tyrants and oppressors, Arabs and Jews and others will
learn a lesson from Sharon's life and death, namely
that arrogance, insolence and evil don't pay off."
Suleiman, a religious Muslim, said he was sure that
the eight years Sharon spent in a state of comma
before his death was "a state of perdition." In
Christian and also in Islamic theology, perdition is a
state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a
sinful and unrepentant person passes after death.
Palestinian political analyst Hani al-Masri doesn't
credit Sharon for withdrawing Israeli occupation
troops from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
"He didn't do it for the Palestinians' sake or for
peace. He did it because he wanted to have as much
Palestinian land as possible with as little population
"Besides, Israel never really terminated its
domination of Gaza borders, waters and airspace."
Masri doesn't think there is any qualitative
difference between Sharon and other Israeli leaders.
"Sharon would murder us while cursing but people like
(Israeli President) Shimon Peres would do the same
thing while saying 'we love you.' "
Khalid Amayreh is an
American-educated journalist living in the Hebron
region of the West Bank.