Jan. 11 - Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died, after being comatose since a 2006 stroke. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, comatose since a 2006 stroke, has died. Sharon had been on life support at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv for the past eight years, far from the public gaze. Sharon was one of Israel's most famous generals who left his mark on the region through military invasion, Jewish settlement building on captured land and a unilateral decision to pull Israeli troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005. Sharon lead the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, during which Israel's Lebanese Christian allies killed hundreds of Palestinians in two refugee camps. Sharon was forced to resign as defence minister after an Israeli inquiry found him indirectly responsible. Many thought his political career was finished. But Sharon won the election as prime minister twice - in 2001 and 2003 - as leader of the right-wing Likud party, where he had promoted Jewish settlement in territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Battling a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000 after peace talks collapsed, Sharon initiated the building of a contentious barrier across the occupied West Bank and oversaw the withdrawal of troops and settlers from Gaza Strip. Sharon's illness began shortly after he quit Likud and founded a centrist faction with the declared aim of advancing peace with his long-standing foe, the Palestinians. A state funeral is planned for the former Israeli leader.