Sorrowful Soliloquies: I Am Ariel Sharon (Part 2).

AuthorNormey, Rob

I Am Ariel Sharon by Yara El-Ghadban, is a timely novel that sheds light on the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people.

OPINION | The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

Part 1 of this article described how Canadian politics, institutions and media have responded to the Israel-Palestine conflict, providing context for my review below of I Am Ariel Sharon.

As I read the novel, I visualized the various women at the bedside of an unconscious Sharon, felled by a stroke and in a coma in a Tel Aviv hospital in 2006. (He remained in a coma for the last eight years of his life.) The first woman is an earth-bound angel who introduces a vital motif, the injustice that hovers over death. In recounting Sharon's life through the personal recollections of the women who knew him best, we keep coming back to the deaths on the battlefield and those connected to Israel's occupation of Palestine after the 1967 War.

A Single-minded Goal

After the mysterious woman of the opening chapter, we are introduced to Ariel's mother, Vera. She addresses the gap between a parent with strong recollections of a different life in Russia with its more sophisticated cultural milieu (but wracked at the end of the 19th century by antisemitism, including pogroms) and the world of Mandate Palestine, in the years leading to the establishment of Israel and the 1948 War with various Arab states. Vera emphasizes that for Sharon, history starts with Israel which explains his single-minded (and many would say short-sighted) focus on creating and then expanding Israel's borders.

I think back to the many discussions of a two-state solution that I had with my late friend Boris, a Romanian Jew from Israel who emigrated to Canada. We discussed how military-minded leaders like Sharon seriously diminished the prospects for any such solution. Sharon directed the building of the long concrete wall in 2002 that is part of the "matrix of control" and human rights abuses of Palestinians. The wall does not spread out across the Green Line of the 1967 border. Instead, it illegally snakes deep into Occupied Palestinian territory. An advisory ruling by the International Court of Justice in 2004 determined it clearly violates international law and directed it be dismantled. Surely Boris would agree with the assessment of the Jewish American writer Michael Chabon on the need to end Israel's occupation. Chabon visited in 2016 and called it "the most grievous injustice I have seen...

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