JERUSALEM (Sep. 20)
Former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon has gone to war — against Israeli journalists. He accused them today of “carrying out a systematic, long-time character assassination” aimed at him and of trying “to close my mouth.”
Sharon was responding to the Jerusalem Journalist Association’s order today to all of its members not to cover any public events in which Sharon, a Minister-Without-Portfolio, participates. The order was issued after Sharon, addressing a crowd of his supporters in downtown Jerusalem last night, made offensive remarks against journalists.
According to some reports, the Minister asked, “You know what the journalists are?” and the crowd responded, “PLO,” a reply that apparently pleased Sharon. He also unleashed a sharp attack on the judicial commission investigating the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps massacres last year which found him indirectly responsible for the murders of Palestinian civilians by Christian Phalangists.
The panel’s recommendations forced Sharon to resign his defense portfolio. He claimed last night that it furnished fuel to Israel’s enemies all over the world. Sharon claimed the journalists banned coverage of his public appearances because they realized their attacks on him had “failed to persuade the public.”