Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Sivan 5761 - June 20, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Sharon: I Won't Start a War
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Speaking to Likud Knesset members on Monday while protesters outside urged him to take a firm hand against the Palestinians, Sharon said there is a limit to his restraint, but that he would resist calls to escalate the conflict.

"I hear this and I say unequivocally: I will not lead this nation to war," Sharon said. "War is the last resort, and we currently have other options to try and resolve the security situation. To go to war today, in my opinion, is totally incorrect and inappropriate. This is not something we should do."

Sharon said that the cooling-off period that is to follow the cease-fire, as stipulated in the Mitchell Report, will not begin until the violence ceases completely and he pledged to be absolutely meticulous in monitoring Palestinian compliance.

The continued violation of the cease-fire by the Palestinians and murderous attacks "create an unbearable situation that will not enable Israel to continue with its present approach over time," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Monday night speaking at a meeting with the leadership of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Conference leaders Mortimer Zuckerman, Ronald Lauder and Malcolm Hoenlein were present.

A senior aide to Sharon said the prime minister stopped well short of saying that Israel believes the cease-fire is breaking down, only that Israel will not carry out its commitments under the Tenet plan for "redeployment and easing economic restrictions" in areas where the Palestinians are not abiding by the truce.

Charging the Palestinians with more than 40 violations since they agreed to the Tenet plan, Sharon said the only loser from Palestinian aggression will be Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat himself.

He rejected charges that Israel has lost its ability to respond to Palestinian terror by agreeing to the cease-fire, declaring that Israel will respond and do everything possible to make traveling safer in Judea and Samaria.

"We will not surrender to the demands of Arafat," Sharon said. "Arafat has not issued orders to stop incitement or arrest terrorists. He proved with Beit Jala that he can stop the violence if he is willing.

"Pressure must be placed on Arafat in order to bring about a complete cessation of the violence, terrorism and incitement and lead to the implementation of his commitments according to the agreements that he has signed and as per the Tenet document. This includes a halt to the incitement and the re- imprisonment of the terrorist leaders who have been released and who are behind the continued attacks," Prime Minister Sharon said.

"Any concession on the issue of the Palestinian Authority's honoring of agreements today is liable to have serious repercussions regarding the honoring of our agreements with other Arab countries," Prime Minister Sharon stressed.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said at a ministry policy meeting Monday that in certain high profile areas "such as Beit Jala and Netzarim" the Palestinians have enforced a cease-fire. In Rafah, he said, Arafat has trouble exerting control.

Peres, like Sharon, demanded that Arafat implement the cease- fire fully before moving on to the cooling-off period. That period, he said, will be for six weeks, followed by confidence-building measures, which he said will extend for some three months.

Peres said there is presently no pressure from the U.S. administration to have the clock start ticking now, and that they too believe there needs to be cessation of bloodshed, and not merely a drop in the level of violence.

Sharon, addressing his dispute with Peres over the wisdom of meeting Arafat now, said that anyone who thinks his government is in danger of falling is incorrect. The prime minister said that his real differences with Peres only apply to later stages in the Mitchell plan that may never be reached. He reiterated that there are no plans for Peres to meet with Arafat now.


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