News / Middle East

Arab World Reacts to Sharon's Death

Palestinians dance after hearing that Ariel Sharon, the hard-charging Israeli general and prime minister, died, as they celebrate in the Ein el-Hilweh camp near the southern city of Sidon, Lebanon, Jan. 11, 2014
Palestinians dance after hearing that Ariel Sharon, the hard-charging Israeli general and prime minister, died, as they celebrate in the Ein el-Hilweh camp near the southern city of Sidon, Lebanon, Jan. 11, 2014
Edward Yeranian
The death of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon Saturday is drawing mostly sober reaction across the Middle East.

In Egypt, state TV showed old footage of Sharon with his troops, fighting in the Sinai during Israel's capture of the region in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Many Egyptians accuse Sharon of ordering the execution of Egyptian Army prisoners who had surrendered.

Some Palestinians in Lebanon and the West Bank rejoiced, while many appear to be ignoring it. Palestinians blame Sharon for the 1982 massacres at two refugee camps in Beirut during Israel's invasion of Lebanon.

Witnesses say some Palestinians in the Ain el-Helwa refugee camp in the Lebanese port city of Sidon fired automatic rifles into the air to celebrate the death of Sharon.

Lebanon's pro-Iranian Hezbollah group showed footage of then-Israeli general Sharon with a stunned look on his face after local guerillas blew up an Israeli intelligence headquarters in the port city of Tyre. Scores of Israelis were killed in the blast, which leveled the building.

Souheil Natour, who represents the pro-Syrian Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Lebanon, told Iran's Press TV that Sharon was the “symbol of Israeli extremism against the Palestinian people,” who “spent his whole life killing people.”

Many in Lebanon mostly ignored the news.

A veteran analyst and commentator in Lebanon said Sharon, who had been in a coma since 2006, “has been dead for 8 years already. What has changed?”

Sharon is remembered in the Arab world for having blood on his hands, says Middle East scholar Nadim Shehadi of Chatham House in London. Shehadi points to Sharon's legacy of hawkishness and says his name will always be associated with the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

However, towards the end of his life, Sharon had become less of a hardliner.

"In the end he was not such a hawk when he formed [the] Kadima [Party]," said Shehadi. "The rationale behind the formation of Kadima was that Israel is no longer threatened by conventional warfare. The main threat was demographic and Kadima was for separation."

In Gaza, a Hamas spokesman said Sharon's death an “historic moment.”  Sami Abu Zuhri said Sharon was “a tyrant, with lots of Palestinian blood on his hands.”

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: PermReader
January 13, 2014 6:54 AM
I`s so difficult to love your enemies, but the Arabs` ability to be happy with their enemies` tragedies, deaths or disasters is staggering! Dragging Arab child`s corpse along the whole city while mourning, and dancing happily when the Israeli children are killed .

by: Ray Hanania from: Chicago
January 12, 2014 10:40 AM
Not all Arabs are celebrating Ariel Sharon's death. We don't all support violence and we find no join in anyone's loss of life. Here's my take on Ariel Sharon: http://thearabdailynews.com/arabs-celebrate-death-ariel-sharon-just-recognize/

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs