Donald Macintyre: History will have more to say on this titanic warrior

It is surprising that the legacy of so titanic a figure as Ariel Sharon does not figure more in Israeli public discourse than it does. But the left never wholly warmed to the scourge of the Palestinians; those on the right, meanwhile, felt bitterly betrayed by his withdrawal from Gaza.

Had his protégée Tzipi Livni become prime minister as leader of Kadima, instead of Benjamin Netanyahu taking power, it might have been different. As it is, the old warrior is in limbo: alive, but unable to pronounce on current affairs.

Yet historians will surely have much more to say about the last politician-general who fought in almost every war waged by Israel-and played a leading role in most of them – and whose career started earlier than the state itself.