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Rest in Peace Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister, died Saturday after being in a coma for eight years. He was 85.
According to CNN, many International leaders and top Israeli officials attended the state memorial ceremony on Monday. Among those were U.S. Vice President Biden and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Biden, wearing a yarmulke, was sitting next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The ceremony was held outside Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset. The coffin was draped with a blue and white Israeli flag.
In a speech President Biden said, he praised the tenacity of Sharon, a divisive figure in the Middle East. “Prime Minister Sharon was a complex man…who engendered strong opinions from everyone,” he said. “But like all historic leaders, all real leaders, he had a North star from which he never, in my observation, never deviated. His North Star was the survival of the state of Israel and the Jewish people, wherever they resided.”
Israeli President, Shimon Peres, who delivered a eulogy at the beginning of the ceremony said, “You never rested when in service of your people, when defending your land and when making it flourish, comparing him to a lion he added, he’d contributed “an unforgettable chapter” to Israel’s history.
Thousands of people came to pay respect and view his body as it lay in state outside the Parliament on Sunday. Many stated how the leader was known as the “bulldozer” because of the way he made things happen, usually getting his way and he was well respected for that.
Many also stated there was a darker side to Sharon’s legacy. As defense minister, he was blamed indirectly by an Israeli inquiry in 1983 for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, because of this, he resigned. He also encouraged Israeli’s to build on Palestinian land, later to withdraw settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.
A spokeswoman, for a Palestinian movement that runs Gaza said, “We deal with the death of Sharon as an end for the crimes he committed against the Palestinian people, the biggest crime was the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon, and we deal with Sharon as a criminal person.” Regardless of her views, Sharon is mourned by millions.
Image credit: CNNRest in Peace Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by Jaan