Response to Chicago Sun-Times' "At Last, Tiny Sprigs of Hope in the Middle East" Ariel Sharon’s decision to leave the Likud Party and form a new centrist party has led many to praise the Israeli Prime Minister. Jesse Jackson writes, “At the same time, Sharon and Peres deserve Palestinian counterparts in reaching for new and higher ground” and praises Sharon’s “pursuit of peace” (“At last, tiny springs of hope in the Middle East, Dec. 13”)
There has been no mention that this man, Sharon, is considered a war criminal by the Palestinians for his role in the massacre of hundreds of their people. As the Israeli Defense Minister, he allowed the killing, torture and rape of 3,500 Palestinian children, women and men in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982. Yet now because he is creating a party for himself, the Palestinians are expected to fully trust him to establish an equitable peace treaty.
For years the Israelis would not negotiate with Yasser Arafat because they considered him a terrorist. Yet the Palestinians are expected to forget history and reality and believe that Sharon is concerned with their future. The Israelis were praised for not accepting Arafat as a peace partner. It is about time the Palestinians are given this same respect regarding their right to have an Israeli peace partner that has not terrorized them.