Sharon faces ‘imminent’ death

January 06, 2014 - 4:40:57 am

TEL AVIV: Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was yesterday facing “imminent” death, the Tel Aviv hospital where he is in critical condition said.

The health of the 85-year-old Sharon, who was dubbed “the Bulldozer” both for his style and physique, has been worsening since Wednesday when he suffered serious kidney problems after surgery.

And yesterday, the director of Tel Hashomer hospital said Sharon was “still in danger of imminent death” although his “heart is holding out better than we thought”.

“I am more pessimistic than I was before... his vital functions, especially renal, haven’t picked up,” Zeev Rotstein told reporters.

“I can’t see the future, but there’s not possible way out of this.”

On Friday the hospital said there were traces of infection in Sharon’s blood, and that it had not been possible for him to undergo renal dialysis since his other organs were in such a fragile state.

The long-time leader of the rightwing nationalist camp in Israeli politics, Sharon suffered a massive stroke on January 4, 2006, slipping into a coma from which he has never recovered.

Sharon was first elected premier in February 2001, just months after walking through east Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al Aqsa mosque compound, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, in an action that sparked the second Palestinian uprising.

In an extraordinary and controversial career stretching back more than half a century, he made it his mission to safeguard national security. Sharon became convinced Israel needed to separate from the Palestinians and unilaterally determine its own borders. While his administration was initially seen as the most hawkish in Israeli history, less than four years after his 2001 election, it withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza, Palestinian territory occupied in the 1967 war.

Morocco probes Salafist sheikh

RABAT: Prosecutors in Morocco said yesterday they will open an investigation into a Salafist sheikh who accused a politician of “apostasy” for calling for a ban on polygamy in the country.

Driss Lachgar, head of the opposition Socialist Union of Popular Forces, called for the ban several days ago and urged a debate on the share of women’s inheritance, which is half what men receive on the death of a relative.

In response, Salafist sheikh Abdelhamid Abounaim distributed a video in which he accused Lachgar of “apostasy”.

“After the statements of Abdelhamid Abounaim that undermine organised bodies, an investigation will be opened,” the Casablanca prosecutor said in a statement. King Mohamed VI reformed Morocco’s family code in 2004 to make polygamy more difficult, with the consent of other spouses and the permission of a court needed for a man to take another wife, but he stopped short of banning it.

Erdogan for retrial of coup-plot cases

ANKARA: Turkey’s embattled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday he would favour retrials for hundreds of military officers jailed for coup-plotting.

“Our position on a retrial is a favourable one,” he told reporters in Istanbul before taking off on a tour of Asia.

Erdogan had on Saturday hit out against a corruption probe that has dragged down members of his government, calling it an “attempted assassination” and a “judicial coup”. At a luncheon in Istanbul with generally pro-government intellectuals, writers and journalists, Erdogan reiterated his view that shadowy groups in Turkey and abroad are conspiring to oust him from power.