Obama Honors Sharon’s Dedication To Israel

Israel's Defence Minister Ariel Sharon (L) inspects an honour guard during a visit to the central command military base in this handout file picture taken October 30, 1981 and released by Israel's Defence Ministry. Credit: Reuters
Israel’s Defence Minister Ariel Sharon (L) inspects an honour guard during a visit to the central command military base in this handout file picture taken October 30, 1981 and released by Israel’s Defence Ministry.
Credit: Reuters

President Barack Obama on Saturday lauded the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s dedication to the Jewish state and reaffirmed an “unshakable commitment” to Israel’s security as Vice President Joe Biden prepared to attend the funeral.

Obama called Sharon – who died at age 85 on Saturday and had been in a coma for the entirety of Obama’s presidency – “a leader who dedicated his life to the state of Israel.” He said he sent his “deepest condolences” to Sharon’s family.

The United States has long been a critical ally of Israel. But Obama has had a strained relationship with the current Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on issues including Israel’s settlement policies – championed by Sharon – and the current U.S. diplomatic drive to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability.

At the same time, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is leading a renewed effort to broker an agreement on a “two-state solution” in which Israel would exist peacefully alongside a new Palestinian state created in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, lands seized by Israel in the 1967 war.

“We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

“We continue to strive for lasting peace and security for the people of Israel, including through our commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security,” the Democratic president added.

Obama will not attend the memorial service for Sharon, with Biden instead leading the U.S. delegation. Sharon had been in a coma since suffering a stroke at the height of his power as prime minister in January 2006. Obama took office in 2009.

Kerry issued a more personal statement concerning Sharon, referring to him by his nickname, Arik.

“During his years in politics, it is no secret that there were times the United States had differences with him. But whether you agreed or disagreed with his positions – and Arik was always crystal clear about where he stood – you admired the man who was determined to ensure the security and survival of the Jewish State,” Kerry said in a statement.

“I will never forget meeting with this big bear of a man when he became prime minister as he sought to bend the course of history toward peace, even as it meant testing the patience of his own longtime supporters and the limits of his own, lifelong convictions in the process,” Kerry said of the burly Sharon.

Obama’s remarks about Sharon also were restrained compared with a statement offered by former President George W. Bush, who formed a close alliance with Sharon during his time in the White House and offered full-throated praise.

“I was honored to know this man of courage and call him friend. He was a warrior for the ages and a partner in seeking security for the Holy Land and a better, peaceful Middle East. Laura and I send our heartfelt condolences to Ariel’s family and all who will dearly miss him,” Bush said.

Sharon was a controversial figure who was despised by many over a massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in refugee camps by Israeli-allied Christian Lebanese militiamen, for championing Jewish settlement building on captured land and other issues.

As prime minister from 2001 to 2006, he served during a Palestinian uprising that erupted in 2000 and presided over an Israeli military crackdown after peace talks collapsed. But he also broke sharply with his former allies in Israel’s settlement movement when he withdrew Israeli soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005 in a pursuit of dialogue with the Palestinians.

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said in a statement that “it was an honor to work with him, argue with him, and watch him always trying to find the right path for his beloved country.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish…

The Boston Marathon finish line has been evacuated and the Copley Square T station has been closed as police investigate a suspicious package, WBZ is reporting.

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.