Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza Strip and Lebanon rejoice at news of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's death • Gazans burn his pictures, hand out candy • Hamas spokesman: Ariel Sharon's death is an example to all tyrants.
Daniel Siryoti, Dan Lavie, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
Gaza residents hand out sweets in celebration of former Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's death
Photo credit: AP
Palestinians burn a poster of the former Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, celebrating his death
Photo credit: AP
Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's death Saturday elicited a wide range of responses from Palestinians, but sadness wasn't one: Some cheered and distributed sweets while others prayed for divine punishment for the former Israeli leader, calling him a criminal.
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said that the Palestinians will remember him for "his crimes against the Palestinian people."
"He tried by using the weapon to uproot the Palestinian nation again from his land. He gave an order to the settlers to occupy the hills of the Palestinian West Bank to prevent the establishment of the Palestinian state," said Abu Yousef.
"As any Palestinian I am happy," said Hebron resident Fawaz Al Karaky.
"May God realize the death of all those who are like him and thank God for taking him and relieving us of him," said Najee Al Tawil, another Hebron resident.
Sharon, who was reviled by Arab foes over generations of conflict, died at Sheba Medical Center, near Tel Aviv, where he had been in a coma since being hit by a stroke at the pinnacle of his power as prime minister in January 2006. His condition had declined precipitously since the middle of last week.
Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, whose organization has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, welcomed the news.
"The death of Sharon after eight years of being in coma is something from God and an example to all tyrants. Our Palestinian people are living a historic moment with the death of this criminal whose hands are stained with the bloods of our people and leaders," he said.
Palestinians who survived the massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut in 1982 had no sympathy or forgiveness when they heard the news of Sharon's passing.
He was widely despised by Arabs over the 1982 massacre by Israeli-allied Lebanese Christian militiamen of hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Beirut during Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
"Sharon is dead!" a 63-year-old Palestinian woman in Sabra said, pointing to a text message from her daughter. "May God torture him," said the woman who only gave her first name, Samia. "We should celebrate. We should be firing in the air."