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Sharon Given Time Apology in Libel Case

January 22, 1986|Associated Press

TEL AVIV — Time magazine apologized today to former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and agreed to pay some of his court costs, ending a protracted libel action that first was heard in New York.

Shmuel Barzel, a lawyer for Time's European subsidiary, said a Tel Aviv District Court approved the compromise and dismissed the case.

Sharon sued Time Inc. seeking damages of $250,000 for an article that alleged he discussed avenging the 1982 murder of Lebanese President-elect Bashir Gemayel with Gemayel's family two days before Israel-allied Christian militiamen killed hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Beirut.

Sharon, who now serves as trade and industry minister in Israel's coalition government, first sued Time in the United States in January, 1984.

A New York District Court ruled that the magazine's story was false and defamatory but cleared Time of actual malice and did not award Sharon damages. The Tel Aviv court later accepted that ruling in connection with Sharon's second libel suit, which began after the New York case ended.

Sharon told reporters after the decision that "I accepted with satisfaction the expression of regret on the part of the weekly" and "as far as I am concerned, the affair is over."

An Israeli commission of inquiry ruled in February, 1983, that Sharon was "negligent" in failing to prevent the killings of hundreds in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps.

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