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Ariel Sharon's decisions shaped today's Israel

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the founding father of the settlements, realized one day that the burden of the occupations was far too big and initiated the historic disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin (3rd R) listens to Israeli Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon (C) during a visit to the West Bank settlement of Alon Moreh February 27, 1981 in this handout photo released by the Government Press Office. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a dominant figure for decades in shaping the Middle East, suffered a massive brain haemorrhage on January 4, 2006, and doctors battled to save his life. ISRAEL OUT REUTERS/ Herman Chanania/Government Press Office/Handout - RTR17SBE
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Some 10 years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would be eulogized around the world as a man of peace. Until 10 years ago, his name was mainly associated with war.

A superb warlord, he was a bold and resolute man. The founding father of the Israeli settlements in the territories, he was a staunch hawk who did not see the Arabs as peace partners. He continually advocated that Israel should live by the sword and build up Jewish strength. Israel, he would always say, is the only place in the world where Jews can defend themselves by themselves. That was the quintessential Sharon.

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