AT Israel’s state memorial service Monday for Ariel Sharon, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden described the larger-than-life military and political leader as a complex man.
Complex is a diplomatic choice of words — not unlike describing your aunt’s Thanksgiving gravy as interesting. Sharon, 85, stirred powerful feelings throughout the Middle East, even after eight years in a coma following a stroke.
Sharon’s physical courage and political brashness too often appeared to operate without any boundaries or context.
His military leadership helped secure Israel’s future. Just as quickly he could be pulled aside for decisions and actions that were over-the-top even in that harsh region.
- Marymoor Park concerts: Full lineup announced
- Capitol Hill light-rail station nearly ready for trains to rumble
- Nelson Cruz's home run in ninth inning lifts Mariners to sweep of Rays
- Historically black Central District could be less than 10% black in a decade
- They were millionaires for 3 months, but Seattle couple didn't know it
Most Read Stories
Sharon’s tenacity was boundless. The slaughter of hundreds of Palestinian refugees in two camps during the 1982 war with Lebanon cost him his job as defense minister. An Israeli inquiry said he had failed to act to prevent the massacres by Lebanese militias.
He would return to public life as prime minister, and create a new party in the process. The mighty warrior and promoter of Israeli settlements stunned everyone when he led the effort to turn over the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian rule.
Sharon’s recognition of that path toward peace has not been sustained by those who followed him in Israeli politics. Yet Sharon’s decisive role in returning the Gaza Strip to Palestinians will trump Sabra and Shatila in history, and define his legacy.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).