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Ariel Sharon’s failed attempt at destroying Syria’s army


Israel invents a pretext to bomb Beirut
Uri Avnery Social activist
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The facts about the days prior to the war and the IDF invasion of Lebanon are not widely known to this day. This war was a military failure from start to finish. How did it start? Sharon went to America to get permission from the Americans, and Haig, the American Secretary of State said: 'We are against invading your Lebanon unless there is probable cause'.  So this was an invitation to create probable cause. Indeed, a few days later, two or three days, the organization of Abu Nidal, which had killed Sartawi and Hammami and which was extremely anti-Arafat and wanted to kill Arafat, attempted to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London. And Israel − despite the fact that all the experts knew exactly who Abu Nidal was and who had done it − bombed Beirut. They opened fire from the border on the Lebanese side, despite the fact that for 9 or 11 months, I think, not even one bullet had been fired from Lebanon. Arafat really didn't want a war. He feared it, so he prevented not only the PLO organizations, but also the non-PLO organizations, prevented them from firing on Israel. Indeed, not one bullet had been fired. But when the Israelis were bombing the PLO positions in Beirut, the PLO gave a faint response, and that was the reason why Haig made his demand. After the attack on the Ambassador, the Begin government said: 'This is cause for attack'. The intelligence people told him: 'But this is Abu Nidal. They are against Arafat, against the PLO'. So Begin said: 'In my eyes they are all PLO'. One of his historical sayings. Then the IDF invaded, first along the coastal axis from Rosh Hanikra to Beirut, to reach Beirut, to reach the PLO.

העובדות הן, שלא מוכרות עד היום ברבים, המלחמה הזאת הייתה כישלון צבאי מהתחלה עד הסוף. איך היא התחילה? שרון נסע לאמריקה לקבל רשות מהאמריקאים והייג, שר החוץ האמריקאי אמר לו: "אנחנו נגד פלישה שלכם ללבנון, אלא אם יש עילה סבירה”. פשוט זו הייתה הזמנה ליצור עילה סבירה. ואכן, כעבור כמה ימים, יומיים-שלושה, הארגון של אבו נידאל, זה שהרג את סרטאווי ואת חמאמי ורצה להרוג את ערפאת, היה אנטי-ערפאת קיצוני, התנקש בחייו של השגריר הישראלי בלונדון. וישראל, למרות שכל המומחים ידעו בדיוק מי זה אבו נידאל ומי עשה את זה, הפציצו את ביירות. נפתח ירי בגבול מהצד הלבנוני, למרות שתשעה חודשים או 11 חודשים אני חושב, אף כדור אחד לא נורה מלבנון. ערפאת כל כך לא רצה מלחמה, הוא פחד ממנה, שהוא מנע לא רק מכל ארגוני אש"ף, גם מארגוני לא אש"ף, מנע מהם כל ירי על ישראל. ואכן לא נורה אפילו כדור אחד. אבל כשמפציצים את העמדות של אש"ף בביירות, אז לא יכלו. נתנו איזה תשובה לגמרי מינורית, וזו הייתה הסיבה שהייג דרש. אחרי ההתנקשות בשגריר, בממשלה בגין אמר: "זו עילה להתקפה”. ואיש אמ"ן אמר לו: "אבל זה אבו נידאל, הם נגד ערפאת, נגד אש”ף". אז בגין אמר: "בעיניי, כולם אש”ף". אחת האמרות ההיסטוריות. ואז צה"ל פלש. קודם לאורך החוף בציר ראש הנקרה-ביירות כדי להגיע לביירות, להגיע לאש”ף.‏

Uri Avnery (1923-2018) was an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, 'HaOlam HaZeh' from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery was the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: Beirut, Ariel Sharon, Alexander Haig, Abu Nidal, Yasser Arafat, Menachem Begin

Duration: 3 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017