A Lebanese minister has joined those in the Arab world who have expressed happiness over the death of Israel’s former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The Daily Star quoted Lebanon’s Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abu Faour, as having expressed hope that “Palestinians may feel some sense of comfort from Sharon’s passing.”
“Perhaps the souls of the martyrs from the Sabra and Shatila massacres can get a bit of comfort from the death of Sharon,” Abu Faour said in a statement quoted by the Lebanese newspaper.
He was referring to the massacre of Palestinian Arabs in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982, during the 1982 First Lebanon War. Sharon, who served as Defense Minister at the time, was indirectly blamed for enabling the Christian Phalanges' operation and eventually was forced to resign.
“There should be no gloating in death, even when it’s of a criminal who made his life the source of death and suffering of others,” said Abu Faour, who added that Lebanese, Palestinians and Arabs “sympathetic to the Palestinian cause” would remember those who perished as a result of Sharon’s actions.
“With the passing of Sharon, there is now less evil in this world,” he declared.
Abu Faour was not alone in rejoicing over Sharon’s death. Palestinian Arab leaders from both the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist group celebrated his death, with a senior official labelling him a "criminal" and accusing him of being responsible for the death in 2004 of former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.
"Sharon was a criminal, responsible for the assassination of Arafat, and we would have hoped to see him appear before the International Criminal Court as a war criminal," said Jibril Rajub, a senior official of the Fatah party.
Hamas, which now controls Gaza in the aftermath of Israel's 2005 "Disengagement", also under Sharon's leadership, hailed Sharon's death as a "historic moment," marking the "disappearance of a criminal whose hands were covered with Palestinian blood."
"We have become more confident in victory with the departure of this tyrant," said Sami Abu Zurhi, a spokesman for the terrorist group. "Our people today feel extreme happiness at the death and departure of this criminal whose hands were smeared with the blood of our people and the blood of our leaders here and in exile."