In this 2005 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pauses during the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office. Picture: Oded Balilty, Pool, File

Jerusalem -

US Vice-President Joe Biden eulogised former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon on Monday as a man whose “guiding star” was the security and survival of the state of Israel.

With “incredible, visible courage,” Sharon “never, never, never deviated from that preoccupation,” Biden said in Jerusalem.

Sharon was a “complex man” who at times sparked “controversy and even condemnation,” Biden conceded but added, “History will also judge that these were complex times.”

Referring to Sharon's 2005 unilateral pullout from the Gaza Strip, he praised him for his “political courage” to “command 10 000 Israelis to leave their homes in Gaza in order to strengthen Israel.” - Sapa-dpa