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Year 2001 No. 24, February 8, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

War Criminal Sharon Elected Israeli Prime Minister

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

War Criminal Sharon Elected Israeli Prime Minister

For Your Information:
Israeli Prime Minister Elect, Ariel Sharon

Newcastle News In Brief
Local Authority Workers Strike Against "Best Value"
City Council Cuts Wages by Cutting Hours
Chief Executive of City Council Receives Massive Pay Rise

West Midlands News In Brief
Huge Chemical Leak in Tamworth

Call For an End to Sanctions against Iraq

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War Criminal Sharon Elected Israeli Prime Minister

On Tuesday, Ariel Sharon became Israel's new Prime Minister after an election in which he crushed his rival Ehud Barak.

The margin of his victory was 25%. It is reported that the Israeli Arabs, who form some 12% of the electorate and who gave Ehud Barak 96% of their votes in the previous election, have massively boycotted the polls. Overall, turnout was at a historically low 62%.

Ehud Barak immediately announced that he would resign both as a member of the Knesset, and as leader of the Labour Party.

A major decision facing the Labour Party will be whether to join a cabinet of national unity with Mr Sharon, as he has already invited them to do. Such a national government would be on Ariel Sharon's terms. Sharon must put together a government before March 31.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in a first reaction, let it be known that he respects the decision of the Israeli public, and that he is willing to work with any elected leader. He is reported to have said that his hands "remain stretched out for peace". But two of his chief negotiators Sa'eb Erekat and Nabil Shaath have stressed that any future negotiations will have to continue from the point where they left off with Ehud Barak. They stress that the terms of reference for the peace process are to be found in UN resolutions 242 and 343, and not in Sharon's or any other Israeli election platform. These resolutions call for a withdrawal of Israel from the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinians have made it clear that if Sharon thinks he can go back to square one in the negotiations, he is thoroughly mistaken, and that such an approach would be a non-starter.

In the West Bank and Gaza, and in Jordan, where half the population is Palestinian, many people brand Ariel Sharon a war criminal. Intifadah leader Marwan Barghouti said that if Mr Sharon thinks he can bring peace and security while continuing the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza he is a victim of the same illusion that brought down Mr Barak. The Intifadah will continue as long as the occupation continues.

Sharon has lost no time, in a symbolic pilgrimage to the Western Wall on Wednesday, in pledging that Jerusalem will remain in Israeli hands forever. This pledge runs directly counter to the demand of the Palestinian people for control over Jerusalem’s walled Old City and its holy shrines.

The Fatah movement demanded that Arafat not resume peace talks as long as Sharon is in power. "The uprising and resistance are our strategic choice," Fatah said in a leaflet distributed on Wednesday. It is reported that there has been a sharp rise in the number of shooting incidents in the West Bank as Fatah and Hamas leaders have issued calls to intensify the Intifadah.

Ariel Sharon’s campaign adviser, Eyal Arad, has said that Sharon will soon send three envoys to the US with the message that Israel is serious about reaching a peace deal.

President Bush urged calm in the Middle East, saying that the United States would work to promote stability in the region and give Sharon a chance to promote peace. He also said that he and Secretary of State Colin Powell had spoken to several leaders in the Middle East and urged calm after the Israeli election. In a statement on Tuesday night, the White House said that the US relationship with Israel was "rock solid", as was the US commitment to Israel’s security.

A State Department official said that Powell has told subordinates to avoid the expression "Middle East peace process", distancing himself from the former Clinton administration and its special envoys. The aim was to use language linked to action and goals, according to the State Department.

Article Index

For Your Information:

Israeli Prime Minister Elect, Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon was born in Kfar Malal on a moshav (agrarian community) in 1928.

In 1953, he founded and led the "101" special commando unit which carried out retaliatory operations against the Palestinian fedayeen attacking Israel from Gaza and the West Bank. In 1957-8 he attended the Camberley Staff College in Britain.

During 1958-62, Sharon served as an infantry brigade commander and then as Infantry School Commander. He was appointed Head of the Israeli Defence Forces Northern Command in 1964 and Head of the Army Training Department in 1966. He participated in the 1967 Six Day War as commander of an armoured division. In 1969 he was appointed Head of the IDF Southern Command.

Sharon resigned from the army in June 1972, but was recalled to active military service in the 1973 Yom Kippur War to command an armoured division and lead the crossing of the Suez Canal.

Ariel Sharon was elected to the Knesset in December 1973, but resigned a year later, serving as security adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1975).

He was again elected to the Knesset in 1977. Appointed Minister of Agriculture in the first government created by Menachem Begin, he pursued agricultural co-operation with Egypt.

In 1981, Sharon was appointed Defence Minister, masterminding Israel's invasion of Lebanon in June 1982. Under the findings of an official Commission of Inquiry (the Kahan Commission), he was held responsible for the massacres perpetrated in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in September 1982. On September 17, 1982, 2,300 Palestinian men, women and children were massacred as Israeli forces sealed off the two camps, illuminating them with military searchlights, and Falangist forces entered the camps, killing and mutilating the inhabitants, PLO fighters, and civilians alike. Sharon resigned from his post in 1983 but remained Minister without portofolio until 1984.

In November 1981, he brought about the first strategic co-operation agreement with the US.

Between 1984 and 1990 Sharon served as Minister of Trade and Industry. In this capacity, he concluded the Free Trade Agreement with the US in 1985.

In 1990-1992, he served as Minister of Construction and Housing. Following the fall of the Soviet Union and the waves of immigration from Russia, he initiated and carried out a programme to absorb the immigrants throughout the country, including the construction of 144,000 apartments.

From 1992 to 1996, he served as a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.

Shortly before the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Sharon declared that in signing the Oslo II accords in September of that year, Rabin and his government had "collaborated with a terror organisation".

In 1996, Ariel Sharon was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure and was involved in fostering joint ventures with Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinians. He also served as Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Bedouin advancement.

In 1998 Ariel Sharon was appointed Foreign Minister and charged with conducting negotiations towards a final agreement with the Palestinian Authority. He accompanied Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Wye River Plantation as chief negotiator.

Following the election of Ehud Barak as Prime Minister in May 1999, Ariel Sharon was called upon to become interim Likud party leader, and in September 1999 was elected Chairman of the Likud.

On February 6, 2001, Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister.

Sharon holds a degree in Law and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1962). Sharon has always proposed schemes for "solving the Palestinian problem" like the annexation of most of the West Bank.

Article Index

Newcastle News In Brief

Local Authority Workers Strike Against "Best Value"

On Wednesday, Newcastle City Local Authority Housing repairs and maintenance workers staged a one-day strike in protest against the proposal by the council to introduce the government's "Best Value" into housing repairs and maintenance. About 60 staff picketed the Newcastle Civic Centre and other council workers refused to cross the picket line. A rally of over 300 council workers took place in the centre of Newcastle. A council spokesperson claimed that the strikers were scaremongering in advance of any concrete proposal. Kenny Bell, Unison branch secretary, and Liz Twist, Unison regional officer, both pointed out that the strikers had every right to be concerned and that it was important that they made their feelings known about the government’s proposals on "Best Value". Not only are jobs and conditions of the workers threatened by this government policy which imposes "productivity targets" regardless of the efficiency of the service but in Birmingham, for example, housing repair workers are being transferred to the private sector under "Best Value".


City Council Cuts Wages by Cutting Hours

It is reported that low paid council workers are having their wages cut by a cut in hours. Cleaners employed by Newcastle City Council earn £4.60 an hour. Kenny Bell, Unison branch secretary, said the majority are only employed between 10 and 12 hours a week. Home Care workers earn £5.27 an hour but the majority work 30 hours a week. Kenny Bell said: "A few work 37 hours a week, but the management are looking at reducing these hours meaning an effective wage cut." Cooks in kitchens earn £4.59 an hour and cooks in charge earn £5.56 an hour but many are employed part time for 10-11 hours a week. Hours have been reduced following a cut in the school meals budget.

Chief Executive of City Council Receives Massive Pay Rise

Newcastle City Council has awarded its Chief Executive, Kevin Lavery, a reported £27,000 pay rise increasing his salary from £93,000 to £120,000. The report estimates the 29% rise as the council have refused to reveal details. The Council spokesperson claimed that the rise was based on a survey of consultants which reveal that bosses of other big councils are earning between £110,000 and £150,000 a year. But unions pointed out that council workers are expected to get rises of no more than 3% to 4% this year.

Article Index

West Midlands News In Brief

Huge Chemical Leak in Tamworth

Health and Safety Inspectors are investigating an enormous chemical leak at a Staffordshire factory. The leak has left 35 people with the need for emergency hospital treatment.

Lack of safety checks and ineffective containment are among many problems of a growing number of incidents involving gas and chemical escapes into the environment.

The chemical, titanium tetrachloride, which produces hydrogen chloride if it comes into contact with the air, was released at Telford.

Scores of people were treated for breathing difficulties after the leak at Tamworth Heat Treatment Works.

In the search for maximum profits, capitalist companies cut corners, which threaten the health and lives of workers and indeed affects the well being of nearby residents too.

Article Index

Call For an End to Sanctions against Iraq

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the ending of the Gulf War

24-Hour Week-Long Picket outside The House of Commons

Thursday February 22 to Wednesday February 28, 2001

The picket will take place at Parliament Square, London SW1 directly opposite the Houses of Parliament

Nearest underground station – Westminster (Jubilee/District/Circle lines)

Hot food & drinks and shelter will be provided

Bring friends and family and warm clothing

For further information contact – 020 7403 5200 or


Rally: "No More War! No More Sanctions!"

Wednesday February 28 – 7.30pm to 9.30pm

Grand Committee Room, House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A OAA

Confirmed speakers include

John Pilger
Rt Hon Tony Benn MP
Tam Dalyell MP
George Galloway MP
Victoria Brittain - The Guardian
Mark Seddon - Tribune Editor
+ Special Guest from Iraq

For further information contact – 020 7403 5200 or

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