RAMALLAH, West Bank — Since Ariel Sharon’s death, the Israeli media have been grumbling about the lack of an official Palestinian response — and in particular from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.
But what can Israelis possibly expect a Palestinian president — or any Palestinian for that matter — to feel toward Mr. Sharon? Are they supposed to celebrate his sponsorship of violence and bloodshed against them throughout his long military career? Or laud his expansionist colonialist policies against them during his long political career?
Only out of respect for the stature of death itself was the official Palestinian response of silence appropriate. Many believe that a full accounting for Mr. Sharon’s violent and bloody history was warranted — nothing less than what Human Rights Watch did when it issued a statement expressing regret that he had died without facing justice for his crimes against Palestinians.
Mr. Sharon didn’t hesitate to lie to his superiors and colleagues in order to attain his goals. When he disagreed with fellow members of Likud, the party that he helped establish, he resigned and formed a new party, Kadima (Forward). Mr. Sharon believed moving forward was his life’s mission.
His enmity toward Palestinians was unbridled, and he used the most violent means against them. Throughout his career he did not take a single positive step toward reaching a political settlement with them to bring about peace. The motivation behind every one of his policies was to force them to surrender.