Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sharon ordered expulsion of 3,000 Bedouin, new biography reveals

Dozens of Bedouin - mainly children and the elderly - died following an IDF drill in 1972 in the Sinai Peninsula, according to David Landau's biography of the recently deceased prime minister.
"Neither the leaders nor the thousands of soldiers taking part were aware that a few weeks earlier, the man whose idea the exercise was, head of Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Ariel Sharon, had ordered the expulsion of three thousand civilians, members of two Bedouin tribes whose encampments and grazing grounds were in the exercise area. The expulsion took place without warning, during a freezing desert cold snap, without time for the Bedouin to take their belongings, causing around forty deaths, mainly of children, babies and old people.
The story has not been told for 42 years and even after it was revealed to Lt. Gen. David Elazar who ordered to return the Bedouin to their homes, no-one was ever held responsible. It was published for the first time last month in "Arik," a new biography of Ariel Sharon, written by former Haaretz editor-in-chief David Landau. The belated revelation is based on a report written in 1972 by Israel's foremost researcher of Bedouin life, Clinton (Yitzhak) Bailey."

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