BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Middle East
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Sunday, 31 March, 2002, 22:06 GMT 23:06 UK
Sharon addresses nation 'at a crossroads'
Ariel Sharon
Suicide bomb attacks on Israeli targets are continuing
Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon made a televised address on Sunday after calling a cabinet meeting to discuss the current military operation and ongoing suicide bomb attacks on Israeli targets.

Here is the text of his speech.

Citizens of Israel: The state of Israel is in a war, a war against terrorism.

This is a war that was imposed on us. It is not a war that we decided to embark upon. This is a war over our home.

We withdrew military forces from the cities, and we received terrorism in return

The state of Israel, under my direction, made all the efforts to arrive at a ceasefire.

All the time, since I was elected, in the midst of a wave of Palestinian terror, we placed before us the goal of doing everything to achieve calm and arrive at political accords.

We co-operated with the US envoy, Anthony Zinni, and we received terrorism in return.

We acted together with US Vice President Dick Cheney, and we received terrorism in return.

Demands conceded

We decided to advance the prospects of a ceasefire and concede my demand for seven days of quiet, and we received terrorism in return.

We withdrew military forces from the cities, and we received terrorism in return.

Everything we received in return for our efforts was terrorism, terrorism and more terrorism.

We must fight against this terrorism, fight with no compromise, pull up these wild plants by the roots, smash their infrastructure, because there is no compromise with terrorism.

It is impossible to compromise with one who is prepared, like the suicide (bombers) on the streets of Israel's cities, and in the twin towers in the United States, to die only to kill innocent civilians, children, women and infants, to die in order to cause fear and horror.

This terrorism is activated, directed and initiated by one man - the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat.

Arafat is a danger to the whole region

Arafat is at the head of a coalition of terrorism. He operates a strategy of terrorism.

The chairman of the Palestinian Authority is an enemy of Israel.

He is the enemy of the entire free world. Everyone who seeks freedom, everyone who was brought up on the values of freedom and democracy must know that Arafat is an obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Arafat is a danger to the whole region.

The Israeli Government decided at its meeting on Thursday to begin a wide-ranging operation to root out the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian territories.

We will clean out the terrorist infrastructure from the foundations.

We know that in the end the only way to reach a ceasefire; negotiations; an accord; an agreement; peace, is if we succeed in wiping out the terrorism infrastructure.

Israel at crossroads

The state of Israel seeks peace. Our hand is, and always will be, extended for peace with the Palestinian people and the people of the whole region.

But no one should be deluded. Our extended hand does not mean that we will give in to terrorism or to terrorists.

Citizens of Israel: The state of Israel stands at a crossroads in its history.

The situation is not easy, but we have known worse situations than this, and we overcame them all.

This time, too, we will emerge victorious. This time, too, we will win, and when that happens, we will be able to live here together in peace.

Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon
"This terrorism is activated, co-ordinated and directed by one man"
See also:

31 Mar 02 | Middle East
Sharon vows to crush 'Arafat terror'
31 Mar 02 | Middle East
Jordan warns Israel over crackdown
21 Mar 02 | Middle East
Israel's history of bomb blasts
02 Dec 01 | profiles
Who are the suicide bombers?
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories