Messages of mourning and friendship poured in from world leaders over the weekend, following the passing of Ariel Sharon.
Sharon, a past prime minister of Israel who has been in a coma since 2006, died Saturday and was laid to rest today.
“On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to the people of Israel on the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel,” said US President Barack Obama said Saturday.
“We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples.”
“We continue to strive for lasting peace and security for the people of Israel, including through our commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country.”
Other notable leaders joined Obama in expressing warm memories of Sharon, and hopes for Israel’s future.
Past US President George W. Bush:
“Laura and I join our friends in Israel and around the world in mourning the loss of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. I was honored to know this man of courage and call him friend. He was a warrior for the ages and a partner in seeking security for the Holy Land and a better, peaceful Middle East. Laura and I send our heartfelt condolences to Ariel’s family and all who will dearly miss him.”
Past President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton in a joint statement:
“It was an honor to work with him, argue with him, and watch him always trying to find the right path for his beloved country. Ariel Sharon gave his life to Israel — to bring it into being, to sustain and preserve it, and at the end of his long service, to create a new political party committed to both a just peace and lasting security.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry:
“I will never forget meeting with this big bear of a man when he became Prime Minister as he sought to bend the course of history toward peace, even as it meant testing the patience of his own longtime supporters and the limits of his own, lifelong convictions in the process.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron:
“Ariel Sharon is one of the most significant figures in Israeli history and as Prime Minister he took brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace, before he was so tragically incapacitated. Israel has today lost an important leader.”
UN head Ban Ki-Moon:
“Sharon will be remembered for his political courage and determination to carry through with the painful and historic decision to withdraw Israeli settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip.”
Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel:
“With his courageous decision to withdraw the Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip, he took a historic step on the path to a deal with the Palestinians and a two-state solution.”