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Comments about Ariel Sharon by world leaders, commentators, Israelis and Sharon himself


In this March 7, 1984 file photo, an Israeli soldier keeps his finger on the trigger of his assault rifle while Former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, right, stands on the bridge overlooking the Awali River, Israel's most northerly position in Sidon, Lebanon.


JERUSALEM — A selection of memorable quotes about Ariel Sharon, Israel’s former prime minister who died Saturday at age 85:

“The only one left is Sharon.” — Then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, hailing Sharon in 2005 as the only Israeli leader who could deliver peace with the Palestinians.

“A man of enormous courage ... a wonderful, historic leader.” — Then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, after Sharon’s 2006 stroke.

“As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country,” President Barack Obama.

Sharon was “the first Israeli leader who stopped claiming Israel had a right to all of the Palestinians’ land.” — Palestinian commentator Ghazi al-Saadi, commenting on Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza Strip.

“The job of prime minister ... changed him, not just ideologically but also in terms of his personality. He was a fighting, quarrelsome man and suddenly he imposed on himself a great deal of restraint, personal control and calm.” — Yossi Sarid, leader of Israel’s dovish Meretz Party.

“It is impossible to justify the minister of defense’s disregard of the danger of a massacre.” — Israeli commission that found Sharon, defense minister at the time, indirectly responsible for the massacre of hundreds by Israeli-allied Christian militiamen at the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982 during Israel’s war to root out Palestinian guerrillas.

“It was a stigmatization I rejected utterly.” — Sharon in his autobiography, expressing outrage at commission’s findings.

“It is not just Sabra and Chatilla. He committed so many crimes against Arabs everywhere. ... He is truly a butcher.” — Adnan al-Mikdad, a Lebanese man who lost both his parents in the massacre.

“Those who didn’t want to see him as army chief got him as defense minister, and those who don’t want him as defense minister shall get him as prime minister.” — the late Uri Dan, a journalist and Sharon’s longtime confidant, speaking in the wake of the commission report.

“Everyone there should move, should run, should grab more hills, expand the territory. Everything that’s grabbed will be in our hands, everything that we don’t grab will be in their hands.” — Sharon, as foreign minister in 1998, calling on Jewish settlers to take over as much West Bank land as possible before a permanent territorial agreement with Palestinians.

“If in a few months the Palestinians still continue to disregard their part in implementing the road map, then Israel will initiate the unilateral security step of disengagement from the Palestinians.” — Sharon, in a Dec. 18, 2003, speech as prime minister, outlining plan to separate Israelis and Palestinians to stop attacks and to give up settlements in Gaza and parts of West Bank.

“He leaves behind great political chaos of the kind that I don’t remember in the history of the country of Israel.” — Sharon biographer Uzi Benziman, a harsh critic, commenting on plan to withdraw from Gaza Strip.

“He was one of a kind. I don’t know any other man like him.” — the late Joseph Lapid, head of Shinui Party and often political ally of Sharon.

“He never thought he would bring final peace, but he certainly thought he would take the steps that would eventually lead to it.” — Arnon Perlman, top Sharon adviser until 2004.

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