From the Archive
January 11, 2014
by Magnum Photographers
Israeli general and statesman Ariel Sharon has passed away at the age of 85.
Considered one of Israel's greatest generals, Sharon joined the Haganah in 1948, fought in the War of Independence and then served as a commander during the 1956 Suez War, Six Day War, and Yom Kippur War.
As Minister of Defense, Sharon oversaw military operations during the 1982 Lebanon War. In September of that year, Christian Phalange militia entered the Sabra and Shatil refugee camps in Beirut and massacred between 800 and 3500 Palestinian civilians while Israeli forces surrounded both. Though his forces were only indirectly involved, Sharon was considered responsible for allowing the killings to occur and resigned in 1983.
Soon after, he returned to politics and served as Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, Minister of Housing and Construction, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Sharon was elected Prime Minister in 2001. In 2006, while still in office, he suffered a stroke which forced him to spend his final years in a vegetative state.