Five years on, Sharon remains in coma

2011-01-04 16:20

Jerusalem - With little fanfare, Israel on Tuesday marked five years since former prime minister and tough army general Ariel Sharon fell into a coma, ending a controversial political and military career.

The long-time leader of the right-wing nationalist camp in Israeli politics suffered a massive stroke on January 4 2006, slipping into a coma from which he has never recovered.

His family have kept him alive on life support, although the former strongman has shown no sign of improvement or indication that he is likely to recover.

No official events marked the anniversary, while Sharon remains hospitalised in the Haim Sheba medical centre at the Tel Hachomer hospital in Tel Aviv.

His family in mid-November transferred him briefly to the family ranch, Sycamore Farm, to test whether his condition could be kept stable outside of a hospital environment.

Sharon, now 82, returned less than two days later to hospital, but his family has said they hope to bring him back permanently to the ranch in southern Israel.

The former premier collapsed five months after he embarked on a radical new path that saw him pull out all Jewish settlers and soldiers from the Gaza Strip after 38 years of occupation.

It was an unexpected move for man better known for his military background and hardline support of settlers.

As defence minister, he masterminded Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the siege of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organisation headquarters in west Beirut.

The following year, he was forced out in disgrace after being held "indirectly responsible" for the massacres at the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila perpetrated by his Lebanese Christian Phalangist allies.

The affair led detractors to brand him the "Butcher of Beirut".

Despite a commission's recommendation that Sharon was unfit for public office, he slowly rebuilt his reputation before becoming leader in 2000 of the Likud bloc and rising to the pinnacle of government.

Born in British-mandate Palestine on February 27, 1928 to parents from Belarus, many in Israel regarded the general known by the nickname of "Arik" as a war hero.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    ariel sharon  |  israel publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Wallabies achilles heel now a strength
LIVE: Ireland 3-3 Italy
Argentina overpower spirited Tonga
As it happened: Tonga 16-45 Argentina
Traffic Alerts

Spontaneity is the order of the day. Let go and have some fun. Try not to set too many set plans and expectations and enjoy more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.