Ali Jarbawi, a former minister in the Palestinian Authority recently penned an op-ed in the New York Times that attacks and slams the Israeli media using the claim that the Israeli media was “grumbling about the lack of an official Palestinian response” on the death of Ariel Sharon, Israel’s former Prime Minister.  Except of course, the Israeli media is NOT grumbling!

Mr. Jarbawi seems to think that if he can spout whatever lies he can – no one will call him on it.  Let’s take a look at one lie in particular:

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.

The Man Who Made Peace Impossible“, The New York Times, Jan 21, 2014

What Mr. Jarbawi ignores are the historical steps which Ariel Sharon took to move the peace process forward.  Steps such as

  • A unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza strip with removal of Israeli settlers and military personnel while leaving behind an infrastructure which the Palestinians could use to build with,
  • Declaring that the Palestinians should have a state of their own in September 2001, and
  • Endorsing the Road Map for Peace sponsored by the United States, the European Union and Russia

Mr. Jarbawi continues with his faulty accusations by claiming that Sharon unilaterally “broadened the I.D.F.’s attacks against Lebanon into a full-scale war” yet fails to mention that the I.D.F. was responding to continuous shelling by P.L.O. artillery placed in Southern Lebanon – a country that was dysfunctional and lawless due to a raging civil war at the time.  His portrayal of the I.D.F. as the instigator of the war remains far from the truth.

Mr. Jarbawi also notes incorrectly that “[i]n 2000, he entered Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a holy Muslim site, which triggered the second intifada”.  Unfortunately for Mr. Jarbawi, this is not true.  The second intifada was being planned months before Mr. Sharon ever entered the Al Aqsa mosque.  According to the Mitchell Report (named after U.S. Senator George Mitchell who led the committee examining the cause of the violence that began in September 2000) :

“The Sharon visit did not cause the ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada.’ ”

Mitchell, George, “Al-Aqsa Intifada: Mitchell Report“, May 4, 2001

In fact, according to the then Communications Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Imad Faluji, the violence had been planned in July of 2000 since Yasser Arafat’s return from Camp David when he rejected the offer proffered him by then Prime Minister Ehud Barak.  This fact was later corroborated when Hamas’ Mahmoud Zahar admitted that Arafat had instructed his organization to launch terror attacks against Israel after the failure of peace negotiations. (Toameh, Kaled Abu, “Arafat ordered Hamas attacks against Israel in 2000“, The Jerusalem Post, September 28, 2010)

Another piece of evidence pointing to the planning of the second intifada by Arafat long before Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque is provided by Suha Arafat – Yasser Arafat’s widow – who admitted that Arafat had planned the uprising:

“Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return….Camp David had failed, and he said to me, ‘You should remain in Paris.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because I am going to start an intifada.’”

Suha Arafat admits husband premeditated Intifada“, The Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2012

The final point that Mr. Jarbawi gets wrong centers on Sharon’s initiation of the Separation Wall between Israel and the West Bank.  Mr. Jarbawi claims that the motivation for this wall was to force Palestinians to move:

Unable to expel the Palestinians, Mr. Sharon began his plan to “move” them internally by building the separation wall in 2002, which swallowed up approximately 11 percent of the West Bank’s land area

The Man Who Made Peace Impossible“, The New York Times, Jan 21, 2014

However, this was not the motivation for the barrier at all.  With the start of the Al-Aqsa intifada the Palestinians began to send suicide bombers into Israel to carry out terrorist attacks against civilians.  The Israeli government, led by Sharon, decided to build a separation barrier in order to make movement between the West Bank and Israel harder and to reduce (with the ultimate goal of eliminating completely) the number of terrorist attacks in Israel proper.  According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

between 2000 and July 2003, when the “first continuous segment” of the barrier was built, 73 Palestinian suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank, killing 293 Israelis and injuring over 1,900. However, from August 2003 to the end of 2006, only 12 attacks were carried out, killing 64 Israelis and wounding 445

Israeli West Bank Barrier“, Wikipedia, accessed January 21, 2014

Ariel Sharon was most definitely a controversial and complicated figure.  He was despised by many, seen as a hero to others and, in the end, felt that what he did was in the best interest of Israel.  There can be no doubt that his record will be dissected and interpreted over and over.  But Mr. Jarbawi’s painting of a blood-thirsty man who made not a single step towards trying to reach peace with the Palestinians is patently false.  And as for the Israeli media grumbling about the “lack of an official Palestinian response” to Mr. Sharon’s death?  I haven’t heard any.

After taking time off to allow my left ankle to heal from WHATEVER it was that was bothering it (after numerous trips to the orthopedist, x-rays, MRI and blood work – the doctor was unable to pinpoint the source of the problem) I’ve finally gotten back to running as of a few weeks ago. My Fitbit replacement came last week (the first one died just five weeks after I got it and Fitbit replaced it under warranty!) and I’ve been ramping up my mileage – slowly and carefully. However, even watching what I eat (carefully) I find that my weight has not really moved down.

Normally, as I ramp up my workouts my weight comes down and starts to progress towards 165 lbs – but this time I’m finding my weekly weigh-ins coming in around 170 – 171.5 lbs. I’m not sure why – perhaps I’m not running enough to see that drop that I’ve come to expect or perhaps I’m not tracking my intake as well (although I’ve been very diligent about that). Either way I’ve been a little frustrated with the lack of movement in my weight. I’m planning on doing the Runner’s World Half-Marathon in October of this year (assuming I can keep from getting injured) in addition to several 10Ks and some 5Ks as well. Maybe, as my mileage picks up again (I’m currently only doing about 13 miles a week whereas before my injury I was doing about 20 – 25 miles a week) I’ll start seeing that drop in weight that I expect. I’m also planning on doing more cross-training (cycling, swimming, weights) in order to try and get more balance in my overall fitness so that I hopefully won’t get injured again (we still don’t know what caused the problem with my ankle and I was very disappointed with having to miss the Takoma Park 5K and the Marine Corps Historic Half-Marathon in May).

This morning I was looking over my blog and stumbled upon an old blog I wrote in July of 2010 titled Getting Back where I realized that I had allowed myself to balloon to 210 lbs!

Well, it’s been a long road since then – full of fits and starts in addressing that problem. Back then I set a goal of dropping my weight to 175 lbs and running a marathon in 2011. The good news is that I’m down to 169.8 lbs now although I haven’t done the marathon yet. I’ve had mixed results there – my first attempt at a half-marathon in May of 2011 was interrupted by a business trip to South Africa; my second attempt at the same half-marathon in May of this year was interrupted by a knee injury. Still, I will try again. I’m slowly ramping up my mileage again (did 6 miles on Sunday) and this time I’m also doing weights to strengthen my muscles around my knees as well as cross-training more. My goal of hitting 165 lbs before the end of the year is definitely in sight and the half-marathon is a priority for 2013 with a stretch goal of the Marine Corps marathon next October!

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