Israelis pay final respects to ex-PM Ariel Sharon

US President and other world leaders mourned the death of iconic Israeli statesman Ariel Sharon on Sunday.

Zee Media Bureau

Jerusalem: US President and other world leaders mourned the death of iconic Israeli statesman Ariel Sharon on Sunday.

Regretting his death, Barack Obama called hailed him as a leader committed to the state of Israel, while British PM David Cameron called him the “most significant figures in Israeli history”.

Called as the `Bulldozer` in Israel for his go-getter spirit which didn`t hesitate in taking controversial big decisions, he was abhorred by the Arabs as a “butcher”, notorious for his role in lebanese war of 1982.

Sharon, who suffered stroke in 2006, at the peak of his political career, spent the remaining of his life in coma.

He died at Sheba Medical Center in a Tel Aviv suburb on Saturday after his health declined further after kidney failure.

Sharon was 85.

Filing past his body, which was lying in state at the Parliament, Knesset, Israelis paid their final respects to their their military hero.

Sharon will be buried next to his second wife Lily Sharon on Monday afternoon at his Sycamore ranch in in southern Israel. 
Paying condolences to Israelis on sharon`s death, Obama said in a written statement, "As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country”.

Obama also used the occasion to reaffirm "our unshakeable commitment to Israel`s security."

“Ariel Sharon`s journey was Israel’s journey,” Secretary of State John Kerry said. 

British PM David Cameron remembered Sharon as a "prime minister who took brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace, before he was so tragically incapacitated.”

“Israel has today lost an important leader," he added.

Paying tributte to him, israeli President Ariel Saharon said, he was a “great architect and outstanding defender of his state. He turned the tides of the Yom Kippur war from an initial menace to a surprising victory. He paved the way to peace with Egypt”.

“He knew no fear, he took difficult decisions and he implemented them courageously.”

I shall miss him dearly and remember him lovingly, Peres added.

The man Israel knew simply by his nickname "Arik" fought in most of Israel`s wars, gained a reputation as an adroit soldier and was the godfather of Israel`s massive settlement campaign in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. More than any other event, perhaps, the public perception of the man was shaped by the massacres of Palestinians in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Chatilla by Christian militiamen allied with Israel during the 1982 invasion that was largely his brainchild.

Domestically, Sharon became the latest in a long line of Israeli prime ministers whose terms were marred by corruption probes. He was accused of improper fundraising and accepting bribes, allegedly paid to one of his sons, from a prominent real-estate developer, but never charged. His oldest son, Omri, however, later served seven months in prison for fraud convicted to campaign fundraising for his father.
With Agency Inputs