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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 was 85.

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 large scale.

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 lives.

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 Aziz al-Rantisi.


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 Israeli government.

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 Security agency.


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 murderers."

Mushir al Masri, another Islamist spokesman, said it was "natural" that Palestinians are happy about Sharon's death.

"Wouldn't Jews be happy about the death of a Nazi killer who had killed numerous Jews during the holocaust?"

Ultimate tormentor

Ismael Shindi, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Hebron, described Sharon as "our ultimate tormentor."

"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 speaking metaphorically.

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 die.

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 death."

Evil incarnate

As mentioned above, the hatred directed at Sharon is by no means confined to any specific segment of the Palestinian public.

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 death.

"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 didn't."

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 as possible.

"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.

 

  EsinIslam.Com

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