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Posted November 6, 2003
Any book concerning Ariel Sharon is likely to be controversial and there will undoubtedly be contradictory opinions about this study. However, from a personal perspective I approached this book with an open mind despite having already heard many of the contentious claims surrounding the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon. Nonetheless, I wished to hear as much evidence as possible in order to arrive at an individual opinion in this matter. Hence I was extremely eager and interested in what this book had to reveal. The book begins with a concise description of events during the early 1980s and the then Israeli General Ariel Sharon presenting US Defence Secretary Casper Weinberger and US Secretary of State Alexander Haig with facts and figures concerning the PLO terrorist involvement in Lebanon/Northern Israel. Facts cited as including the PLO ¿state within a state¿ in Lebanon and how Syria, Libya, Iraq, the Soviet Union and her East-European satellites were assisting the PLO with important military and political support. Reports presented also included evidence showing how the PLO were perpetrating atrocities against civilian targets including women and children. Following the subsequent outbreak of war, this introduction then proceeds into the background of the events surrounding the Sabra and Shatila incident, where on the eve of September 16 1982, Lebanese Phalangist units entered these two neighbourhoods, that are described as having long been known as terrorist bases and training centres for International terrorist entities such as Baader-Meinhof (Germany) and Red Brigades (Italy). The book continues to reveal how on the night of September 17, Sharon learned that something had ¿gone wrong¿ in Sabra and Shatila and ordered his Chief of Staff to get the forces out immediately. The reader is then shown how late on the afternoon of September 18, Sharon and the Israeli leadership were informed of the terrible massacre in the camps, where even women and children had slaughtered by the Phalangists. The book cites that no Israeli commanders or soldiers accompanied the Phalangists into the camps and no early intelligence report hinting at a massacre had been received or passed to Ariel Sharon. The rest of course is history with most readers having been aware of one story or another relating to the horrors that followed. This extremely readable study covers one such story and is described as the only inside account of the precedent-setting trial in which then General Ariel Sharon sued a bastion of the US press, Time Magazine, for a blood libel concerning his alleged involvement in the horrific massacre and of which he was subsequently acquitted. The book describes the trial in considerable detail with the added relevance of the writer (Sharon¿s press attache), having been alongside Sharon from the very beginning of events in Lebanon and throughout the process which eventually led to the Manhattan Court itself and even the final moments in New York when the jury found that Time Magazine had printed a false story. This work further elaborates how the Court found that the story presented by Time Magazine, (which accused General Sharon of plotting with Sheik Pierre Gemayel to avenge the murder of his son by raiding the Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila), was both false and defamatory. The book captures the intensity of the Courtroom battle and the frustrations and anxieties of those involved in a manner which really holds the reader¿s attention. No matter what opinion is held by the reader in relation to the events described here, this really is a must read for any true understanding of what occurred at that time. Thank you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.