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Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK
Don't sacrifice Israel, warns Sharon
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Sharon: From now on, we will count only on ourselves
By Barbara Plett in Jerusalem

Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has warned that he will not accept attempts to appease Arab states at Israel's expense.

This was Mr Sharon's toughest criticism yet of the United States, Israel's closest ally.

Washington has pressured Israel to agree to a ceasefire with the Palestinians in order to cool the conflict enough to bring Arabs on board its coalition against terror.

But the truce has been a failure on the ground.

Since it was signed, at least 21 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire and five Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks.

Israel has been showing increasing impatience with the violence.

Not Czechoslovakia

On Thursday Mr Sharon said that Israel would fight what he called terrorism without let-up, cancelling its earlier promise to suspend military strikes.

He compared the situation to events leading up to World War II, when European countries gave approval to Nazi Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia.

"We will not be Czechoslovakia," he said.

"This is unacceptable to us. From now on, we will count only on ourselves".

Palestinian leaders have accused Mr Sharon of failing to keep his side of the deal by lifting the army's stranglehold on Palestinian cities.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has said that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat faces a tough task holding back extremists opposed to the ceasefire.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Reynolds
"A speech which has pleased right-wingers but which has surprised, even horrified, others"
Former US Senator George Mitchell
is asked if Israel is indeed being 'sold out'
Discussing the issues:
Zalman Shoval, senior adviser to Ariel Sharon & Richard Murphy, former American ambassador to Saudi Arabia
See also:

02 Oct 01 | Middle East
Bush 'endorses' Palestinian state
30 Sep 01 | Middle East
Israel gives Arafat ceasefire ultimatum
20 Sep 01 | Middle East
Risks and rewards of Mid-East truce
10 May 01 | Middle East
Claiming the 'Promised Land'
03 Oct 01 | Middle East
Gaza violence clouds Rumsfeld mission
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