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Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 07:47 GMT
Sharon: Israelis yearn to stand together
Israeli Prime MInister-dewsignate gestures to supporters at a Tel Aviv victory rally
Israel's future lies in the Likud leader's hands
Excerpts from victory speech by Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon at Likud election campaign headquarters at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, broadcast live by Israel TV

I would like to tell you that a few minutes before I entered this hall I received a telephone call from US President George W Bush.

He wanted to relay his best wishes to you, and he told me that the United States wishes to maintain close co-operation with the government under my leadership.

Today, the State of Israel embarked on a new path. A path of domestic peace and unity, while striving for security and real peace.


I am calling on the Labour Party to join us

Ariel Sharon

This is a very emotional and meaningful night for me.

Since the earliest days of my youth, I have devoted all my efforts in the service of the state in order to bolster its security and help in its construction. In all the positions I held, and during all the difficult and happy moments, I was always accompanied and supported by my wife Lili.

Now, after the Israeli people have expressed their confidence in me to lead the country over the coming years, I miss Lili, who is no longer with me here.

Consensus

I would also like to take the opportunity this evening to thank each and every one of Israel's citizens who gave me their vote of confidence.

likid
A Likud supporter joins the celebrations
I will do everything in order to succeed in the mission you have charged me with. The government belongs to all of us, and all of us share a common future and fate.

In the course of the years, the disagreements and rifts have deepened in our nation and among our people. We have had enough of anger and gratuitous hatred.

The time has come to discover what unites us and to seek the broadest possible consensus.

I know that the Israeli public yearns to stand together in facing the challenges of the future. I take this opportunity to call for the formation of a national unity government with the broadest possible base.

I am calling on the Labour Party to join us on the basis of a real partnership on the difficult path to security and peace.

Dialogue with Palestinians

Citizens of Israel, the government under me will act to restore the security of Israel's citizens and to achieve real peace and stability in the region.

I know that peace requires painful concessions on the part of both sides. Any political arrangement will be based on security for all the peoples in the region.

I call on our Palestinian neighbours to abandon the path of violence and to return to the path of dialogue in order to resolve the differences between us through peaceful means.

The government under me will try to achieve realistic political arrangements that will safeguard Israel's vital and historic interests, on the basis of mutual respect and the upholding of mutual commitments.

We will act to strengthen our special relationship with our great friend and ally the United States.

We will also strive to bolster the ties between the State of Israel and the international community.

Israeli society is afflicted by many problems, which I am familiar with. We will act to resolve these problems. A nation cannot exist unless it maintains social cohesion.

We will take steps to narrow social gaps and provide equal opportunities to everyone.

We will turn over a new leaf in our relations with Israel's Arab citizens in order to create a real partnership and a sense of equality between all the country's citizens.

Jerusalem

The government that I will form will work to strengthen and bolster united Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and the eternal capital of the Jewish people, on which we always swear: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.

Citizens of Israel, we have a small country which is blessed with abundant talent and innumerable achievements. Tonight, we will all, as one man with one heart, embark on a new path.

Together we will be able to surmount all the challenges facing us. Together, we will be able to realise all our hopes and dreams.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

06 Feb 01 | Middle East
Sharon claims victory
07 Feb 01 | Middle East
Cautious response to Sharon victory
01 Feb 01 | Middle East
Sharon's victory
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