Ariel Sharon was the most formidable opponent that the Palestinian people have ever faced. Militarily, he was one of Israel’s most gifted military generals, brave, brilliant but ruthless. His talents helped Israel win wars in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. Ideologically he was a Greater Israel fanatic, championing the settler movement, devising strategic settlement plans that would erase the Green Line, separate Jerusalem, fragment the West Bank and control strategic resources, particularly water. He entered politics to execute this vision for Israel with extraordinary success. More than any other Israeli figure, he has engineered the cantonised West Bank of today and the devastating Palestinian geographic (West Bank and Gaza) and political divisions (Fatah and Hamas) that make a final political settlement now so remote.
Sharon’s Gaza disengagement plan was designed to smash the Palestinian national movement and, as his senior adviser boasted, “freeze the peace process”Chris Doyle