Author Topic: Breaking: Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85  (Read 318 times)

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Offline Chieftain

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Breaking: Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85
« on: January 11, 2014, 08:37:14 AM »
Israel's 11th premier passes away eight years after a stroke left him comatose; Sharon was one of Israel’s legendary politicians and military leaders; Sharon's son Gilad: "He went when he decided to go."

Former prime minister Ariel Sharon died on Saturday at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, days after his condition deteriorated dramatically.

Sharon would have turned 86 next month. His family gathered at the hospital to be with him in his final moments. His sons Omri and and Gilad had been by his side since his condition deteriorated on January 1.

http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Former-prime-minister-Ariel-Sharon-dies-at-85-337662

Offline EC

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Re: Breaking: Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 08:58:06 AM »
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Re: Breaking: Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2014, 09:13:53 AM »
Previous thread about planning for his funeral

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, once respected and feared, dies at 85
Matthew Fisher
Ottawa Citizen

Quote
Ariel Sharon, who has died at 85, was not called the Bulldozer for nothing.

Until he was felled at the age of 77 by a mild stroke in 2005, and left in a coma after a massive cerebral hemorrhage in January 2006, Sharon usually got his way, whether as defence minister when some called him the “Butcher of Beirut,” or as prime minister, in 2005, when he did a remarkable volte-face and threw out the settlers in Gaza whose messianic cause he had so long championed.

A short time after the Gaza withdrawal, the lifelong right-winger left the Likud Party to form the more broadly based Kadima movement. After defending Israel in four wars, Sharon, known by his nickname of Arik by many Israelis, had undergone an epiphany.

Troubled by the Palestinians’ much higher birthrate and the prospect of constant conflict, he had concluded that to secure Israel’s future as a democratic state with defensible borders. it must reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Such a deal would probably have required giving up more territory, including the likely withdrawal of Jews and the dismantling of many of the West Bank settlements that the current Likud government, under Benjamin Netanyahu, for whom the settlements remain a core issue, continues to build.

At least that is what many Israelis believe Sharon would have done, if his term as prime minister had not ended suddenly seven years ago when he was left in a persistent vegetative state and on life support systems in a hospital near Tel Aviv.

If this had happened, it would have been the culmination of an incredible personal odyssey of a hardliner who for decades had been at the epicentre of Israel’s turbulent military and political life, beginning with the war in 1948 that led to the creation of the Jewish state, where he was one of the leaders in the battle for Jerusalem.

Sharon earned his reputation as an implacable foe of the Palestinians during the early 1950s when he led a special unit which retaliated with extreme force against those who had attacked Israeli targets. During one infamous incident, troops under his command killed dozens of women and children in the West Bank after an Israeli woman and her two children had been killed in an attack on a kibbutz.

Israel commanders also accused Sharon of being overly aggressive in the Sinai during the 1956 Suez War, although Israelis lauded him after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 for his victory against Egyptian troops on the same peninsula.

Sharon’s reputation at home and abroad suffered another heavy blow in 1982 when an Israel inquiry found him responsible for the massacre by Christian militias of more than 800 Palestinians in two refugee camps in Beirut because he had ignored “the danger of bloodshed and revenge” and had not taken “appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed.” This led to international accusations that he was a war criminal.

Palestinians also held Sharon responsible for the second intifada, which took place between 2000 and 2005, after he made a provocative visit, with hundreds of guards to protect him, to the Temple Mount, which Muslims venerate as the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.

Other than at a distance at a few state functions, I only saw Sharon once. It was in a hotel lobby in Budapest, not long after his disgrace over the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. A huge man, closely surrounded by Israeli body guards, he was an immensely confident, larger than life presence who dominated the space unlike anyone else.

There are obvious downsides to any military or political figure usually getting his way. In Sharon’s case there was a big upside as well. Respected and feared in equal measure by Arab foes and across the Israeli political spectrum, the legendary warrior was loved and revered by most of his countrymen, who trusted him and him alone to make the most momentous decisions.

Israel’s original consensus, built around the ideas of David Ben-Gurion and the kibbutzim, began to fracture after the Six-Day War in 1967, where the Jewish state seized control over Gaza, the Sinai, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and crucially, all of Jerusalem. While the rest of the country grumbled after that, the ultra-Orthodox began to receive economic benefits out of proportion to their numbers, to say nothing of their miniscule contribution to the country’s security or financial well-being.

At the same time, the settler movement rose to prominence. Backed by Orthodox hawks, it was determined to create a country that extended from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

None of this made the liberal Israelis, who were the backbone of the Israeli economy from Tel Aviv and its prosperous suburbs, very happy. But in Israel’s coalition politics, they could do nothing to thwart any of this.

Also in the mix, with their own ideas, but little political power were the Russians, the Ethiopians and the long politically underrepresented Jews who had fled to Israel from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and the Maghreb.

Except during times of war, when they would unite for a time, none of these communities have had much to do with each other. This has resulted in year after year of coalition governments led by cabinet ministers with widely divergent views about what Israel should be.

Political paralysis and catering to the whims of tiny minorities have often been the result.

Sharon was the only Israeli leader who commanded the respect required to bulldoze over these differences and make the hardest decisions. Like all great politicians, he had sensed that the public mood was shifting. By the winter of 2005-06, a growing number of Israelis seemed to be prepared to reject the biblical idea of Greater Israel if that might lead to peace.

Unlike Netanyahu, who has had a complicated, often testy relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama, Sharon had particularly warm relations with Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush. Those ties probably gave Sharon more room to make courageous decisions such as the one to withdraw from Gaza.

The change in public opinion, which Sharon led as well as sensed during the first years of this millennium, was and still is very daring in the Israeli context. Nobody knows exactly what Sharon had in mind if he had won a third term as prime minister in the spring of 2006 as was widely expected at the time.

What is certain is that Israel would be much different today than it is now.

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Offline Chieftain

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Re: Breaking: Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2014, 09:24:40 AM »
Sharon was a big man, and moved with great vigor.  He was one of Israel's military heroes and history will remember him well.  It has been such a shame for him to linger so long in a vegetative state considering how much enthusiasm he had for life.

Rest...


Offline jmyrlefuller

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Re: Breaking: Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 09:30:18 AM »
Quote
Troubled by the Palestinians’ much higher birthrate and the prospect of constant conflict, he had concluded that to secure Israel’s future as a democratic state with defensible borders. it must reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
America may face a similar fate not too far into the future.
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Re: Breaking: Former prime minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2014, 09:31:49 AM »
In a coma for 8 years...

Considering the events in the Middle East since 2006, a blessing actually.

Now he can hang with Golda....RIP!
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