The following report was written by Alex Safian and published at CAMERA
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died [yesterday] at a hospital in Israel at the age of 85, eight years after a debilitating stroke left him in a near coma. When Sharon, considered by many military experts to have been one of the leading generals of the twentieth century, suffered the stroke in 2006, Op-Ed writers and reporters published numerous retrospective pieces trying to sum-up his career.
Some, by Saree Makdisi and the late Christopher Hitchens, for example, were nothing but anti-Sharon screeds, while others, though somewhat more responsible, repeated many of the same discredited allegations that have long been used by polemicists to unfairly malign the Israeli leader.
Already CNN has posted stories distorting Sharon’s and Israel’s history. For example Ariel Sharon: Hero or butcher? Five things to know claims that:
Sharon long insisted that a controversial visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s most holy sites, in 2000 was not a provocation.
But it is considered among many to be one of the flashpoints that sparked the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising that followed a failed round of peace talks with Israelis. During the visit, Sharon walked through the mosque’s compound. Within hours, protests over his visit turned violent.
The mosque and its compound sits on Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, that is known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif, “The Noble Sanctuary.”
Of course, and contrary to CNN, the Temple Mount is not just a “holy site for Jews,” it is the holiest site for Jews, equivalent to what Mecca and Medina are for Muslims. Indeed, its holiness is exactly why the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem built their mosque there, on the site of the Jews’ ancient temples. And contrary to the impression left by CNN, Sharon never entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Furthermore, as detailed below, Arafat had promised US leaders before Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount that he would prevent any violence, then, in the words of Dennis Ross, he “didn’t lift a finger.” And, of course, the “failed round of peace talks” resulted from Arafat’s walk out following Israeli PM Barak’s acceptance of the Clinton Parameters.