Around the globe, leaders offered prayer and concern for Sharon’s condition. US President George Bush said he was praying for a quick recovery for Sharon. “He is a man of courage and peace,” Bush said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac wished Sharon a speedy recovery. Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas wished the prime minister good health and a quick recovery. “If Sharon does not run in the next election, it would change everything,” he said. Unexpectedly, a Palestinian commentator on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network praised Sharon. “A living Sharon is better for the Palestinians now, despite all the crimes he has committed against us,” said Ghazi al-Saadi. But a radical Palestinian leader in Damascus called Sharon’s health crisis a gift from God. “We say it frankly that God is great and is able to exact revenge on this butcher. ... We thank God for this gift he presented to us on this new year,” said Ahmed Jibril.
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