There has been condemnation of Ariel Sharon in the West Bank and Gaza where many believe that his life was one of war and aggression.
Palestinians were quick to welcome news of his death, especially the Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
Sami Abu Zuhri a spokesman for the movement said: ‘‘The death of Sharon after eight years of being in a coma is a sign from God and a lesson for tyrants. The departure of this criminal who killed our people and our leaders represents an historic moment for the Palestinian people.’‘
Sharon infuriated the Arab world by encouraging Israelis to build settlements on occupied Palestinian land before pushing for the historic withdrawal from Gaza settlements in 2005.
Wasel Abu Yossef, a Palestinian Executive Committee member said: “With the death of former Israeli prime minister Sharon our people remember his aggression against them, where he used weapons and thought that he will be able to remove the Palestinian people from their land and where he thought he can impose his conditions on the Palestinians by force”
To many Israelis, he was a heroic warrior but Palestinians widely saw him as a war criminal and murderer.
One Palestinian said: ‘‘As a human being Ariel Sharon deserves to be welcomed by god. But as an Israeli he was a murderer. Maybe he killed to defend Judaism and his country, but above all he was a murderer.’‘
Another passerby in Gaza said: ‘‘God has given us this victory. It is a victory for Egyptians and for the Arab world. He was a war criminal.’‘