Sharon's death triggers mixed reactions

Updated: 2014-01-12 08:18


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RAMALLAH/GAZA - The Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have reacted to the death of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon on Saturday, with moderates showing their apathy toward it and hardliners hailing his departure.

Hanan Ashrawi, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) told Xinhua that the Palestinians don't celebrate the death of any human being, "but we don't feel sorry for his death."

"Sharon's history is linked to the Palestinian people's suffering for more than three decades," she charged.

"The only thing the Palestinian people remember about Sharon is that he was so violent and aggressive against them," Wassel Abu Yousef, another PLO official contended.

"We do believe that Sharon was responsible for many massacres committed against the Palestinians in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank," he added.

In the Gaza Strip, Islamic Hamas movement on Saturday said Sharon was "a distinguished war criminal."

"The Palestinian people remember Sharon as someone who caused destruction, ordeals and displacement to them," Salah al-Bardaweel, a Hamas official, told Xinhua. "We are not sorry for his death."

In the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, dozens of hardliners burnt posters of Sharon and celebrated his death. They accuse him of being responsible for the killing of thousands of Palestinians and for their historic suffering.

A girl from Gaza named May Shehada wrote on her Facebook page that "Death is a merit on all human beings, but today is a good day because (Ariel) Sharon is declared dead."

In 1983, after a massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Sharon was held responsible and resigned from his post as Israel's defense minister.

In late September 2000, Sharon went on a controversial visit to al-Aqsa Mosque, which provoked the Palestinians and touched off the second Intifada, or Uprising, against Israel.

Sabri Seidam, an official with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party, said "the death of Sharon doesn't mean that the file of the crimes, which were committed against the Palestinians, will be closed."