Ariel Sharon ... when prime minister in 2005. Photo: AFP
Mr Sharon is in a vegetative state.
The elected prime minister in 2001 who pledged to achieve "security and true peace", however, was keen on promoting the expansion of Israel and initiated the construction of the security barrier around the West Bank.
He is reviled by Palestinians and widely despised in the Arab world:
- For masterminding Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and,
- His role in the massacres at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps outside Beirut in 1982, when he was Israel's Defence Minister.
The killings of between 800 and 3,500 Palestinian civilians led some to label Sharon "the Butcher of Beirut". He was found to bear personal responsibility "for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge" and "not taking appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed".
His negligence in protecting the civilian population of Beirut, which had come under Israeli control amounted to a non-fulfillment of a duty with which the Defence Minister was charged.
During the invasion, Lebanese Christian militiamen allied to Israel massacred hundreds of Palestinians in two refugee camps under Israeli control.
The Sabra and Shatilla massacre occurred between September 16 and 18 where the Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps were killed by the Phalanges—Lebanese Maronite Christian militias.
The Phalange were sent into the camps to clear out PLO fighters while Israeli forces surrounded the camps, blocking camp exits.
He was at the height of his power when he had the stroke in January 2006.
Dr Franklin P. Lamb - an international law scholar, political writer and author.
He is the Director of the Sabra Shatilla Foundation and has been living in Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon, dedicating years of his life and more of it, to the service of Palestinians.
Read more of his entry...