Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel who has been in a coma for the last five years, was mistakenly declared dead on Sunday over a social media network by one of Europe’s leading politicians.
Former Secretary-General of NATO and former European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana sent a message over the Twitter network that Sharon reporting that Sharon had passed away. Sharon remains alive, though he is in a vegetative state.
Solana tweeted on Sunday that Sharon had finally succumbed, after suffering a stroke in January 2006. Solana also recalled that he had a number of difficult meetings with Sharon, from the time period when he was personally involved in efforts to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, based on the Quartet road map.
Solana was questioned by Twitter users as to how he learned of this news, and he replied that he was informed by friends in Israel. Reporters investigating the veracity of the story were told by Tel Hashomer Hospital that news of Sharon’s demise were incorrect, and that Solana had been misinformed.
When first presented with news of the hospital’s denial of Sharon’s death, Solana stood by his version of events, claiming that his source was a high-ranking Israeli official. Eventually, though, he apologized for the error.
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This story "Tweets Wrongly Say Ariel Sharon Dies" was written by Haaretz.