MOSCOW, January 11, /ITAR-TASS/. The name of former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon, who has died at the Sheba Medical Centre of Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, “will forever remain among prominent politicians who are admired by ones and hated by others”, Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Mikhail Margelov said.
The Russian legislator named Sharon as “a prominent military and politician, who has undoubted military talent that he showed in the era of feeding military confrontation between Israelis and Arabs in the 1950’s”.
Sharon took part in three wars: these were the Suez crisis in 1956; the Six Day War in 1967; and the Reckoning Day War in 1973, Margelov said.
“Sharon’s military career is assessed differently although he had more successes than failures,” he said, adding “Historians will remember the armoured breakthrough in the Six Day War and the Reckoning Day War and the Sabra and Shatila massacre, which was condemned by the world community.”
Sharon’s political activity was also estimated differently: certain people kept in mind the unilateral disengagement policy when several Jewish settlements were closed and when Israeli troops were withdrawn from the Gaza Strip. The plan was approved, but it was criticised by Israel’s political community. Palestinians considered Sharon’s initiative ‘a policy stroke’ that ignores real problems of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, Margelov said.
The legislator said he personally knew the Israeli ex-premier whose ancestors came from Belarus. “Sharon was very easy in communication and thought conservatively,” Margelov said.
Sharon has died at the Sheba Medical Centre of Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, on Saturday, January 11.
Medics said on January 1 that Sharon’s condition “deteriorated significantly”.
On January 2, director Tel Hashomer Hospital, Professor Zeev Rotstein said Sharon was in critical condition and his life was in danger after several vital organs failed.
The former Israeli premier has been in a coma since 2006 following a stroke that incapacitated him at the height of his political power.
As a politician, Sharon became known as “the bulldozer” for his bold tactics, contempt for his critics and hard-line approach. He was elected to premiership in 2001. In 2005, he directed the withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, bringing an end to the country’s 38-year military control of the territory. Later quitting the Likud Party, he formed a more central Kadima Party.