Last updated on: 5/12/2008 1:25:00 PM PST

Was Sharon a good leader for Israel?

PRO (yes)

Michael B. Oren, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Shlaem Center, Jerusalem, in a Jan. 6, 2006 Wall Street Journal commentary titled "The End of the Beginning," wrote:

"Now, with his withdrawal from the political scene, Israel stands to enter a new phase in its national existence. Less divided, perhaps, and more certain of the borders it wants and the type of society it aspires to create; separated from the Palestinians but open to compromise with them; preserving productive relations with the international community and an unshakeable alliance with the United States. That is the Israel that Ariel Sharon has left us, a formidable legacy for facing the future."

Jan. 6, 2006 - Michael B. Oren, PhD 

Benny Morris, PhD, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, in a Jan. 6, 2006 New York Times Op-Ed titled "In the Shadow of Sharon," wrote:

"His defeat, as prime minister, of the second Palestinian intifada will doubtless be carefully studied, once the hysteria and hype die down, as a model of a relatively clean, successful counterinsurgency."

Jan. 6, 2006 - Benny Morris, PhD 

Charles Krauthammer, MD, MA, syndicated columnist, in a Jan. 6, 2006 Washington Post Op-Ed titled "A Calamity for Israel," wrote:

"Sharon represented, indeed embodied, the emergence of a rational, farsighted national idea that seemed poised in the coming elections to create a stable governing political center for the first time in decades...

The success of this fence-plus-unilateral-withdrawal strategy is easily seen in the collapse of the intifada. Palestinian terrorist attacks are down 90 percent. Israel's economy has revived. In 2005, it grew at the fastest rate of the developed countries. Tourists are back, and the country has regained its confidence. The Sharon idea of a smaller but secure and demographically Jewish Israel garnered broad public support, marginalized the old parties of the left and right, and was on the verge of electoral success that would establish a new political center to carry on this strategy."

Jan. 6, 2006 - Charles Krauthammer, MA, MD 

Peter Berkowitz, PhD, JD, Professor of Law at George Mason Universty School of Law, in a Jan. 6, 2006 Weekly Standard comentary "Ariel Sharon's Legacy," wrote:

"Sharon never departed from his fundamental tenet: Israel's security comes first. And he was the man to determine and implement Israel's security requirements. For 30 years, Sharon believed that Israel's security was best served by Israeli settlements criss-crossing the West Bank. As prime minister he saw that in light of changing demographic realities and the savagery of Palestinian terrorism, Israel's security was better served by disengagement."

Jan. 6, 2006 - Peter Berkowitz, PhD, JD 

CON (no)

Ghassan Khatib, MA, Palestinian Authority Minister of Labor and Co-founder of, in a Jan. 9, 2006 Bitter Lemons commentary titled "Potential for Change," wrote:

"At a time of serious crisis, he managed to govern Israel with almost no serious political opposition while also almost completely neutralizing international criticism and even influence. Yet, such an unparalleled achievement should not hide the fact that as far as the basic, legitimate Israeli objectives of peace and security are concerned, he achieved little."

Jan. 9, 2006 - Ghassan Khatib, MA 

Frank J. Gaffney Jr., President of the Center for Security Policy, wrote in a Jan. 10, 2006 Washington Times article titled "Sharon's Place in History":

"Few statesmen have worked harder or more self-consciously at defining their 'place in history.' In recent years, particularly as he and his family became embroiled in a corruption scandal, he strove to ensure he would not be remembered for his controversial role in the 1982 massacres in Lebanon's Sabra and Shatilla Palestinian refugee camps.

Instead, Ariel Sharon curried favor with his critics by recasting himself as a peacemaker. Though he justified his unilateral 'disengagement' from the Gaza Strip as a security measure, its true character was evident in the fact he was suddenly lionized by those on the left who reviled him for decades. Overnight, he joined the peculiar pantheon reserved by the world for Israeli leaders who surrender territory to Israel's enemies in hopes the Jewish State would thereby, somehow be left alone in peace...

Historians may see Ariel Sharon's weakening of his country in the face of its enemies as the precursor to a devastating new phase in the War for the Free World."

Jan. 10, 2006 - Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., MA 

The Daily Star, the Lebanese-based English lanuage newspaper, in a Jan. 6, 2006 editorial "Ariel Sharon's Intriguing Journey Remains For Others To Define, Continue," contained the following:

"Tragically, ironically, all the violence he used - whether sanctioned by his country or carried out surreptitiously - never really achieved his stated goal of ensuring the security of the Israeli people and their wider Jewish community around the world... His daring military reputation and forceful personality never were fully matched by successfully securing Israel's place in this region as an accepted, legitimate nation living in peace with its neighbors."

Jan. 6, 2006 - Daily Star 

Rami G. Khouri, Editor-At-Large of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, in a Jan. 7, 2006 commentary titled, "Arial Sharon, Agent of Perpetual War," wrote:

"He ends his public service having patently failed to achieve the one thing he says he strived most passionately for his entire life: to ensure the security and acceptance of Israel in the Middle East...

Sharon's policies leave a fractured, bloody landscape defined by tension, mistrust and confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians, and confusion within Israeli society. He used his immense power in public life during the past quarter century to create fragmented, often leaderless Palestinian communities of deeply angry and indignant people."

Jan. 7, 2006 - Rami G. Khouri