Cameron pays tribute to Sharon

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has died aged 85 (AP)

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has died aged 85 (AP)

First published in National News © by

David Cameron has paid tribute to former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who has died nearly eight years after suffering a devastating stroke.

Mr Cameron praised the 85-year-old, who had been in a coma since April 2006, as an "important leader" for the country and said he had taken "brave and controversial" decisions.

"Ariel Sharon is one of the most significant figures in Israeli history and as prime minister he took brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace, before he was so tragically incapacitated," Mr Cameron said.

"Israel has today lost an important leader."

The veteran soldier, nicknamed the 'bulldozer', fought in the series of wars that forged the state of Israel before entering politics in 1973.

Critics held him responsible for the 1982 massacre of hundreds of Palestinians by Israel's Lebanese Phalangist allies in Beirut refugee camps.

However, others pointed to his efforts to secure a stable peace as prime minister between 2001 and 2006, including unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Sharon was still in office when he suffered his stroke, and never regained consciousness.

Complications after surgery at the beginning of this month had seen a sharp deterioration in his condition.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "Ariel Sharon was a figure who dominated Israeli politics for a generation. Nobody can doubt the impact he had on Middle East politics.

"My thoughts today are with his family after the many years of his illness."

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree