225. Sharon responsible for Mideast violence

If the issue is to assign blame then Robert Golden (Feb. 20 letter) [224] is partly right. Partly because while, as he put it, the "Christian Lebanese militia" perpetrated the massacre of Sabra and Shatila, Mr. Golden conveniently ignored that the logistical support was given by soldiers of the Jewish state whose minister of defense was no other than Ariel Sharon, who deservedly earned the title of "the butcher of Lebanon." The Jewish state is as responsible as the Christian Lebanese militia for this massacre.

If the issue, however, is to find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, then Mr. Golden offered none. This is typical of all Israel-firsters. They have to be constantly reminded: "It's the occupation stupid!"

Sharon promised the Israeli electorate peace and security; he has dismally failed on both counts. More Israelis have been killed under Sharon than in the days of any other prime minister. He thinks that the solution is more militarism, more aggression, and more policies to sustain occupation. He has used all the weapons in Israel's arsenal: Apache helicopters, F-16 jets, Merkava tanks to no avail. The Palestinians were able to blow up a Merkava 3, one of the most fortified tanks in the world. The only weapon he has not yet used is a nuclear bomb.

Like Mr. Golden, a sizeable percentage of the Israelis still support Sharon. That is understandable. Sharon is their last line of defense against the establishment of a Palestinian state. They don't realize that this line of defense is crumbling.

February 27, 2002