The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
U.S. Must Investigate Sharon for War Crimes, Bring Him to Justice
17 March 2001
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC) calls on all people
of conscience to call, email, and/or fax the White House and State
Department to express their concern about the upcoming visit of Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the United States, and to demand that the
United States cooperate in bringing Sharon to justice on charges of war
crimes and crimes against humanity before, during and after Israel's 1982
invasion and occupation of Lebanon.
The United States actively supported indictments against former Yugoslav
president Slobodan Milosevic, even while he was in power, as well as the
international tribunal for Rwanda. Failing to apply standards of justice to
Sharon and protections for the victims of the crimes of which he is accused
would be evidence of a gross double-standard and a signal that the United
States is willing to tolerate atrocities against innocent civilians as long
as they are committed by the leaders of “friendly” states.
- The U.S. government should investigate and pursue evidence that Sharon is
responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Such investigations
should review the evidence that Sharon as defense minister in 1982 directly
ordered the deliberate bombardment of residential neighborhoods of Beirut,
Sidon and other cities in Lebanon during the Israeli invasion, killing
thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians; directly ordered the siege
of west Beirut, deliberately depriving civilian residents of food, water,
safe passage and access to medical care; and that Sharon and other Israeli
officers and officials were responsible for arming, training and protecting
the perpetrators of the massacres of Palestinian and Lebanese refugees in
Sabra and Shatila camps in September 1982, including providing protection
and illumination so that the butchers could carry out their work more
- These charges, if proven, would constitute grave breaches of the Fourth
Geneva Convention, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
- The United States should help to assure that Sharon is brought to justice
and given a fair trial if sufficient evidence exists to prosecute him,
either under the laws of the United States or in an international tribunal.
- As prime minister for less than a month, Sharon has already ordered
measures which further violate the Fourth Geneva Convention including
blockades which have reduced the Palestinian civilian population in the
occupied territories to extreme poverty and in some areas near starvation,
and resulted in deaths due to deliberate deprivation of access to medical
- Three decades earlier, as a young military officer, General Sharon led an
Israeli elite commando force, Unit 101, which carried out brutal raids
against Palestinians. The massacre in the West Bank village of Qibya, on
October 14, 1953, was perhaps the most notorious. According to Israeli
historian Avi Shlaim, General Sharon's unit blew up 45 homes in the village,
killing 69 civilians, two-thirds of them women and children.
- Sharon has appointed to his government at least one minister who openly
espouses such crimes against humanity as forcing the entire Palestinian
population of the occupied territories and other areas to leave.
- The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, including the
United States, are required to hold those who violate the Convention
accountable. Hence, bringing Sharon to justice is an urgent necessity.
Failure to do so would send a signal that the United States condones war
crimes and protects accused war criminals.
CALL, EMAIL, AND FAX YOUR LETTERS TO:
Please cc your correspondence to Al-Awda-Alerts@mail.com
Al-Awda — Palestine Right To Return Coalition
PO Box 401
Hummelstown, Pa 17036