Educación Básica Superior
Segundo Quimestre - Tercer Parcial
TEACHER: Mauricio Torres
SUBJECT: Social Studies
SOURCE MATERIAL FOR GROUP ACTIVITY No. 1
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS: Read the instructions below before starting the activity.
Read the instructions carefully.
Check your notes from class and also read the news below.
Work in pairs and discuss your answers.
ARIEL SHARON AND MODERN DAY PALESTINE
Read the editorial below (Al-Jazeera) to identify the context in which they are written in order to complete a
group work which will later be developed in class.
Sharon: The architect of terror
Sharon led Israel down the path of isolation and apartheid.
By Ahmed Moor
Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American graduate student of Public Policy at
In many ways, Ariel Sharon was the most complete Zionist of his generation. He embodied an expansionary, rapacious
view of Jewish privilege in Palestine - the essential Zionism - well after many of his co-religionists had claimed to settle
for less. His prophetic insights into his society enabled him to wield his wily politics and martialism to great effect. His
lifelong campaign of ethnic cleansing, the eagerness with which he employed atrocities against Palestinian and Lebanese
civilians and his relentless savagery enabled the emergence of the Greater Israel he longed for. For Palestinians and
human rights advocates the tactics and strategies he employed form the greater part of his legacy. Yet it would be a
mistake to overlook his contributions to the settlement programme and the related fragmentation of the Israeli army legacies which will continue to shape the deepening rents in Israeli society for decades to come.
Ariel Scheinerman was born in British-occupied Palestine in 1928 to Jewish immigrants from present-day Belarus. His
well-educated parents arrived in Palestine as members of the third wave of European immigration under the aegis of
Mapai, an exclusively Jewish labour movement. It is unclear when Scheinerman changed his name to Sharon but in doing
so he reaffirmed the Jewish-Israeli habit of attempting to break with European Jewry and all its associations. At 14,
Sharon joined a paramilitary youth group; he eventually became a member of the Haganah - the militia that later gave
rise to the Israeli army.
Sharon's daring and willingness to lead attacks against civilians marked him for command among his fellows. In 1953, he
orchestrated the massacre of 69 Palestinian civilians in Qibya while leading "Unit 101" - an infamous Israeli army unit
dedicated to extracting high civilian costs among Palestinian communities that resisted the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
The murders of mostly women and children served to foreshadow Sharon's responsibility for Sabra and Shatila decades
Sabra, Shatila and Hezbollah
Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was ostensibly designed to prevent Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
guerrillas from striking Israeli outposts near the Lebanon-Israel border. His forces shelled and besieged Beirut while
world powers negotiated an end to the devastation. The Israelis agreed to withdraw in return for Yasser Arafat's exile to
Tunisia. Arafat and his fighters were forced to abandon the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps - densely populated and
impoverished urban ghettos on the outskirts of Beirut. The civilians there were left defenceless against the Israelis and
their allies, the Lebanese Phalange militia. After the departure of the PLO, Sharon invited the Phalangists into the camps
where they spent two days massacring approximately 3,000 Palestinian and Lebanese men, women and children.
Nor were the Palestinians the only civilians he terrorised in Lebanon. The vicious assault on Lebanese Shia during the
march to Beirut gave rise to Hezbollah. Israel's ill-fated 20-year occupation of southern Lebanon further galvanised and
strengthened the movement. Its fighters quickly began to inflict casualties on the Israelis eventually causing them to
withdraw from most of Lebanon in 2000.
Jewish-Israelis initially rejected Sharon's sectarian brutality and war crimes, if not his objectives. A governmental panel
censured him and forced him to resign from his post as minister of defence after investigating his role in Sabra and
Shatila. Yet, in 2001 Jewish-Israelis empowered him as their prime minister. His notoriety qualified him for the
pacification of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories during the second intifada - an uprising he helped spark in the
fall of 2000 when he led a phalanx of troops onto the al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
Settlements and Gaza
Sharon's victories extended beyond the narrow confines of Palestinian refugee camps. In the 1960s he presciently foresaw
the development of a "peace process" and helped to undermine the establishment of a Palestinian state by forcefully
promoting Israel's mass colonisation programme in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The political consensus on settlements - every Israeli Prime Minister since 1967 established them - only began to break
when Sharon himself decided to withdraw 8,000 settlers from among 1.2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in 2005.
The politically expedient move was intended to promote the view that Israel
was no longer responsible for the lives of the Palestinian refugees; that the
Gaza Strip was no longer occupied. It was accompanied by a decision to build
an annexation wall through the West Bank. Today the wall stands as an
enduring legacy. A violent and alien object imposed on the Palestinian
landscape, tribute to the man who decided to build it.
Sharon's "disengagement" was heartily welcomed by liberal Zionists who
have always fretted over the fertility rates of Palestinians and African
immigrants. The settler withdrawal and subsequent Israeli siege were the first
steps towards jettisoning undesirable non-Jewish people from Israel. Those decisions would help resolve the "tension"
between the Jewish and "democratic" attributes of the state. Nearly nine years later, their hopes continue to go unfulfilled.
Few have accepted the claim that the Israeli occupation of Gaza has ended, particularly after the Gaza massacre and the
murder of nine activists aboard the Turkish Mavi Marmara in 2010.
Among colonists in the West Bank, it increased the perception and fear that the Israeli army may one day be commanded
to evict them from their settlements. Their fears were not unfounded. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international
law; no country recognises them as legitimate. An eventual peace deal with the Palestinians would have likely entailed
The colonists' response, beginning in 2005, was to join the army in greater numbers than they
had previously done. Settler rabbis and politicians encouraged young members of their
communities to enlist expressly to prevent more settler evictions by the army. The prospect that
growing numbers of conscripts are prepared to refuse orders has alarmed Israeli politicians,
particularly Ehud Barak, a former minister of defence.
Today, there are few distinctions between settler militiamen in the West Bank and the Israeli
army, and they are growing increasingly difficult to discern. That fact has diminished the
likelihood that any Israeli politician will risk evacuating settlements. No Israeli leader is prepared
to risk even a limited mutiny within the army. That means that Israeli apartheid will persist and
deepen with time. It also means that the Palestinian struggle for equal rights will only grow in
force and viability. It means that the BDS movement (a campaign of boycotts, divestment and
sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights) will continue to undermine
Jewish supremacy in Palestine.
And thus, Sharon's most enduring legacy will likely be one of failure. He spent his life terrorising civilians and building
settlements to secure the existence of the Jewish-privilege state. He led his people backwards into the 19th century, down
a path of pariah-hood, isolation and apartheid. Yet Jewish supremacy in Israel cannot last; democracy cannot be delayed
forever. The perfect Zionist, his life was the perfect indictment of Zionism.
*Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American graduate student of Public Policy at Harvard University.