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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), a strong advocate of the U.S.-Israel relationship, released the following statement today concerning Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who suffered a severe stroke on Wednesday:
“My thoughts and prayers today are with Prime Minister Sharon, his family and the citizens of Israel, who hope for his full recovery.
“Ariel Sharon is a monumental figure in Israel’s 58-year history, who has devoted his life to maintaining the nation’s security and strengthening its democracy. And, he is a steadfast friend of the United States who is committed to the special bond between our two nations.
“Prime Minister Sharon’s personal and political courage are legendary, and were demonstrated most recently by his decision to move forward with Israel’s disengagement from Gaza. When I last spoke with the Prime Minister – during a Congressional delegation visit to Israel in August – there was no question that he was at peace with the controversial disengagement plan, and was convinced that it was in Israel’s best interests. He was calm, resolute and generous with his time, spending more than an hour with 14 Members of Congress.
“While we all hope for Prime Minister Sharon’s full recovery, I believe he would be the first to acknowledge that Israel’s cause is not dependent upon any one person and will endure.”