Sharon died without facing justice: Human Rights Watch

Sharon died without facing justice: Human Rights Watch
Sun Jan 12, 2014 08:56:48

Human Rights Watch has said that the former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon has evaded prosecution for his crimes against humanity.

Ariel Sharon died Saturday at the age of 85, after spending eight years in a coma following a stroke in 2006. Lauded as a great military commander and politician by many in Israel, he is described as war criminal by many others.

Palestinians reacted to the news of the death of their former arch-foe without any sadness. Some cheered and distributed sweets, while some prayed for divine punishment of the former Israeli butcher who masterminded military offensives against Palestinians in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement on Saturday, stressing that Sharon “died without facing justice for his role in the massacres of hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982.”

Back in the days of the Lebanese war, Israeli-allied forces systematically slaughtered hundreds of Palestinians, three months after then-defense minister Ariel Sharon engineered the invasion of Lebanon.

In 1983, Israel’s official commission of inquiry found that the “serious consideration… that the Phalangists were liable to commit atrocities… did not concern [Sharon] in the least.” Sharon’s “disregard of the danger of a massacre” was “impossible to justify,” the commission said, recommending his dismissal.

However, no criminal investigation was ever conducted by Israeli judicial authorities. A case brought by survivors of the massacre to Belgium’s highest court was dropped in 2003 following political pressure from Tel Aviv.

“His passing is another grim reminder that years of virtual impunity for rights abuses have done nothing to bring Israeli-Palestinian peace any closer,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Sharon also is viewed as the architect of Israel’s settlement program in occupied Palestinian territories. Although in 2005 he ordered the evacuation of nearly 8,000 Jewish settlers from four settlements in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, some 500,000 Jewish settlers still live in unlawful settlements and the unresolved issue remains a key obstacle to peace in the region.

HRW also said that Sharon had escaped accountability for his role in expanding the settlements. The group said that “transfer by an occupying power of its civilians into an occupied territory is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and a potential war crime.”

In 2002, Sharon approved the construction of the security separation barrier along and within the West Bank.


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