The Lonely Warrior

Sharon spent much of his life stoking the rage of Israel's enemies. So how did he become their best hope for peace?

To his detractors, Ariel Sharon will always seem the fanatic. He convinced Menachem Begin that invading Lebanon in 1982 would be worth the costs, and in 2000 he insisted on visiting the Temple Mount, the Muslim-controlled holy site in Jerusalem—a walkabout that helped trigger the second intifadeh. As Israel's Foreign Minister, he refused to shake Yasser Arafat's hand at the Wye Plantation peace talks in 1998 and eventually made sure Arafat spent his last years barricaded in his offices in Ramallah, unable to jet around the world espousing the Palestinian cause. His planetary dimensions—at 5 ft. 7 in., he weighed as...

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