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P.M. Sharon: 'Palestinians Have Right To Liberty & Independent State'

'Palestinian's Most Important Test Will Be To Eliminate Terrorism and Incitement'

'U.N. Must Prevent ( Iran) From Acquiring Nuclear Weapons'

PM Ariel Sharon

In his address, to the U.N. General Assembly, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spelled out the historic right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. At the same time, Sharon said he recognized the rights of the Palestinians and he would be ready in the years ahead to make the painful concessions necessary to live in peace and co- existence.Without referring to Iran by name, Sharon stressed the danger of Tehran acquiring nuclear weapons.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

Addressing the nations of the world, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon first praised the right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. This right, he says, went back to more than 3,000 years and he spoke of Abraham, Moses leading the people of Israel back to the Promised Land and the prophets and their massage to the world. He spoke of Jerusalem being the capital of the Jewish people for some 3,000 years.Therefore he said that territorial concessions of the Jewish state were very painful and painful to him personally. Of course he had the disengagement, the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements in the back of his mind. But nevertheless, Sharon also realized that these painful concessions had to be made for the good of Israel and he said he also recognized that the Palestinians had rights and they also had the right to live in liberty in their own independent state. The first test, he said, to the Palestinians would be to also show the world and to the people of Israel that they were ready for peace the way that Sharon had taken the step with the disengagement. Their first step would be getting rid of terrorism and incitement and replacing it with law and order. Sharon said that while he extended his hand in peace to the Palestinians and peace and co-existence as he put it, he also would make sure that Israel defended itself against Arab terrorism as long as it continued. He said that the disengagement had opened a window of opportunity with the Palestinians and now it was their turn.

On another issue, he pointed specifically at Iran, without mentioning that country by name, saying the combination of fundamentalism with terrorism and a drive for nuclear weapons while declaring that Israel should by wiped off the map, he said this should all cause peace loving people to lose sleep at night and he expected the UN to take steps to cope with this problem. Overall, it was a speech that stressed peace and conciliation between Israel and the Palestinians. Sharon spoke of terrorism but he did not warn the Palestinians of what might happen to them. He said the security fence would be continued because this was vital, it saved lives and any other country would do the same, facing the terrorism that Israel face today. But his main message was now is the time for the Palestinians to exploit the opportunity before them.

Here in Israel, pondents have been saying that because of him speaking in Hebrew, Sharon would exploit his opportunity of speaking to the UN to appeal directly to members of his Likud central commity, which will soon meet to decide whether perhaps to oust Sharon and to select his rival, the former finance minister Bibi Netanyahu. But overall Sharon ignored party politics in Israel, other than saying that society now had to heal itself after the disengagement and that his mission in the coming years would be to make peace with the Palestinians. So on this count, I think he is going to earn more popularity points with the public at large because he did not exploit the opportunity to act as a politician, in fact Sharon, I think, did tonight behave as a statesman.

David Essing

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