Feb 11, 2006

Media U-Turn on Sharon?

For years, HonestReporting has presented its readers with an inaccurate summary of the Kahan commission's findings on the Sabra and Shatilla massacre and, in doing so, has consistently attempted to minimize Ariel Sharon's role. If HonestReporting's past is any indication, then they will almost certainly continue to distort this issue, however it's still important to point out exactly what the Kahan commission actually wrote about Ariel Sharon.

First, here are a few of HonestReporting's descriptions of the Kahan commission's findings:

In truth, Sharon was blamed by the Kahan commission for not having the foresight to realize that one group of Arabs would so brazenly massacre another group of Arabs.
Sharon bore no direct responsibility
Sharon was not directly at fault for Sabra and Shatilla
In truth, an official Israeli commission of inquiry absolved Sharon of direct responsibility
An Israeli commission of inquiry decided that Sharon was not responsible for any direct involvement

and finally in a communique published last month, "Media U-Turn on Sharon":

Israel's own Kahane Commission found that Israel and Ariel Sharon were indirectly responsible

In this communique, they even printed the word "indirectly" in bold type just to make sure their readers know that the Kahan commission found Sharon only indirectly responsible.

But did they?

The Kahan commission's report is very specific about the type of responsibility that Ariel Sharon bore for this massacre. In the commission's "Recommendations and Closing Remarks" section they state very explicitly that Ariel Sharon bears "personal responsibility" for this massacre. Here's the entire text:

We have found, as has been detailed in this report, that the Minister of Defense bears personal responsibility. In our opinion, it is fitting that the Minister of Defense draw the appropriate personal conclusions arising out of the defects revealed with regard to the manner in which he discharged the duties of his office - and if necessary, that the Prime Minister consider whether he should exercise his authority under Section 21-A(a) of the Basic Law: the Government, according to which "the Prime Minister may, after informing the Cabinet of his intention to do so, remove a minister from office." (emphasis added)

HonestReporting has brought up the issue of Ariel Sharon's responsibilty for Sabra and Shatilla perhaps a dozen times, but, unfortunately, they've never chosen to treat the topic accurately.