Conservative Christian evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson on Thursday linked Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke to God's "enmity against those who 'divide my land.' "
"He was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations, or the United States of America," Robertson said on his television program, "The 700 Club," broadcast from his Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach. "God says 'this land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.' "
Last year, Sharon, a longtime hawk and supporter of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, changed tack and withdrew from the Gaza Strip and some settlements in the West Bank - as the best hope for achieving a peace deal with the Palestinians.
The unilateral Israeli pullout was supported by the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States. But it was strongly opposed by many members of Sharon's right-wing Likud party, prompting the Israeli leader to quit and form a new centrist party.
Some US evangelical Christians also opposed the Israeli withdrawal from lands that they believe constitute the biblical land of Israel and link to prophecies foretelling the second coming of Christ.
Robertson said that he had personally prayed about a year ago with Sharon, whom he called "a very tender-hearted man and a good friend." He said he was sad to see Sharon in this condition.