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Ariel Sharon’s plan for war with Lebanon


The rise of Ariel Sharon
Uri Avnery Social activist
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שרון לא היה איש "תנועת החרות" ולא רוויזיוניסט, הוא בא מ"מפלגת העבודה" ההיסטורית. כחלק מזה, ב-1955, כשבן גוריון חזר משדה בוקר והיה שר הבטחון ואיש אמונו וחביבו היה משה דיין, הם הציעו לממשלה לפלוש ללבנון, למנות קצין נוצרי כדיקטטור ללבנון, לעשות ברית שלום עם לבנון ואז יהיה לנו שלום עם לבנון. ובאותן השנים הייתה סיסמא שגורה בפי כל: "לבנון תהיה המדינה הראשונה שתעשה שלום עם ישראל”. האמינו בזה כולם, שזו הייתה שטות גמורה מפני שלבנון מורכבת מהרבה עדות. ואז בא משה שרת, שהיה חכם אבל פחדן, פחדן אבל חכם, ולא העז להתנגד לזה אלא אחרי הישיבה הוא שלח מכתב לבן גוריון, שפורסם בזכרונות של שרת אחרי הרבה שנים, ושם הוא עשה עפר ואפר מכל הרעיון הזה. הוא אמר: "אתם לא מבינים מה זה מרונים, אתם לא מבינים מה זה הנוצרים בלבנון, וכל הרעיון הזה" הוא לא אמר "מטורף", אבל זה מה שהיה הלקח. והרעיון הזה נפל. ב-82' שרון, אני חושב שהוא היה עדיין מנהיג “חירות". צריכים לזכור, בבחירות של 77' שרון הקים מפלגה, "שלומציון", על שם הבת של עמוס קינן, ונחל תבוסה ניצחת. שרון "הגדול" קיבל נדמה לי שני מנדטים, שלושה, שניים אני חושב, וכאסטרטג מהיר החלטה, במקום החליט "חוזרים ל'חירות'" והוא הפך לאיש "חירות" שוב פעם. בגין מאוד לא רצה למנות את שרון לשר הבטחון. כולם פחדו משרון, אף אחד לא חשב שהוא דמוקרט. אחד מראשי "הליכוד", שמחה ארליך, אמר בגלוי: "אם שרון יהיה שר הבטחון הוא יקיף את הכנסת בטנקים ויחולל הפיכה". כנגד זה יש בדיחה: שאריק שרון מכנס את כל קציני צה"ל ומכריז: "חברים, בשעה 12:00 נפתח פה הפיכה”. אז רגע אחד יש דממה ואז כולם פורצים בצחוק פרוע ובזה נגמר הרעיון. פחדו משרון, כולם. ולכן הוא מינה את ויצמן, אבל ויצמן התפטר וכמה חודשים היה ציפורי אחד, סגן שר הבטחון וכיהן כשר הבטחון ואז באו בחירות חדשות ולא היה שום תירוץ לבגין לא למנות את אריק שרון. זה היה מגוחך, הרי הוא היה הגנרל בה״א הידיעה בכל המחנה הזה.

Sharon was not part of the Herut movement nor was he a revisionist; he came from the historic Labor Party. As part of this, in 1955 when Ben-Gurion came back from Sde Boker and became the Minister of Defense, along with Moshe Dayan who was his confidante and his favourite, they put forward the proposal to invade Lebanon, to appoint a Christian officer as dictator there and to make a peace treaty after which we would have peace with Lebanon. In those years, there was a slogan which everyone knew: 'Lebanon will be the first country to make peace with Israel'. Everyone believed it, despite the fact that it was nonsense because Lebanon consisted of many denominations. Then came Moshe Sharett, who was intelligent but cowardly, cowardly but clever and he did not dare to oppose this, but after the meeting he sent a letter to Ben-Gurion, which was published in Sharett's memoirs many years later, in which he reduced to 'dust and ashes' this entire idea. He said: 'You do not understand who the Maronites are, you do not understand who the Christians in Lebanon are, and this whole idea is…' he did not use the word crazy, but that was the insinuation. And this idea fell flat. In 1982, I think Sharon was still the leader of Herut. One should bear in mind that in the elections of 1977, Sharon formed the political party, ShlomZion, named after the daughter of Amos Kenan. The party was totally routed. The 'great' Sharon got two or three seats, two, I think, and as a quick-thinking strategist, on the spot he decided to return to Herut. He became a member of Herut once again. Begin was very reluctant to appoint Sharon as Minister of Defense. Everyone was afraid of Sharon. Nobody thought that he was a democrat. One of the heads of the Likud, Simcha Erlich, said openly: 'If Sharon will be Minister of Defense, he will surround the Knesset with tanks and will bring about a coup'. There is a joke about this that Arik Sharon convenes all the army officers and declares: 'Friends, at 12:00 we will start the coup here'. So for one moment there is silence and then everyone bursts into laughter, putting an end to Sharon's proposal. Sharon was feared by everyone. He appointed Weizman, but Weizman resigned after a few months and there was someone named Zipori as Deputy Minister of Defense and he served as Minister of Defense, but then there were new elections and Begin had no excuse not to appoint Sharon. It was ridiculous because he was the general par excellence in all this camp.

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: Lebanon, Ariel Sharon, Moshe Sharett, Menachem Begin

Duration: 4 minutes, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017