Ariel Sharon
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister who died last night after an eight-year coma, is an historical enigma.

The most controversial figure in modern Zionism, the admired and brutal military commander, the uncompromising opponent of reconciliation with the Palestinians, he proved upon becoming the prime minister to be the one Israeli politician willing to make the type of concession that could have propelled the peace process forward after years of stagnation.

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