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PM Sharon: ‘I’m Not Afraid Of Jewish Terror Threats To Me - Final Cabinet Vote On Withdrawal Next Sunday!’

MK Eitam: ‘Sharon Is Manipulating Incitement By Jewish Extremists To Arouse Public Opinion Against Withdrawal’

Warnings: ‘We Got Rabin, We’ll Get Sharon!’

P.M. Sharon

A major confrontation between Prime Minister Sharon and his withdrawal opponents erupted in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Sharon said it was clear who was behind the recent wave of incitement by opponents to his withdrawal plan. MK Effi Eitam of the National Religious Party retorted that Sharon was manipulating the incitement for his own political purposes.

'We got Rabin, we'll get Sharon!' One of the warnings scrawled on walls by right wing fanatics opposed to the Prime Minister's withdrawal plan. Ariel Sharon, cabinet ministers and Knesset members are facing a mounting wave of condemnation and outright incitement over the plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements. However, the Prime Minister says he will not by deterred be Jewish terror and the cabinet will give the final green light for the evacuation when it convenes next week.


Two cabinet ministers were attacked by withdrawal opponents recently. Bibi Netanyahu had a plate of food thrown in his face and bodyguards had to whisk him away from a social gathering; Limor Livnat and her elderly mother had to be protected by her bodyguards while visiting a graveyard. Protestors have also been bearing placards accusing Sharon of being a dictator and selling out Israel to the Palestinians. In Tel Aviv, graffiti painted on a wall also branded Sharon a traitor.

Appearing in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Sharon was asked whether the Shabak Security Service was now more worried by Jewish terror than by Palestinian. Sharon replied that he will 'not be deterred by the terror' and the cabinet will take a final vote on executing the withdrawal when it convenes again next week. Sharon added that it was clear who was behind the incitement.

MK Effi Eitam, a withdrawal opponent: 'What do you mean, explain yourself!'    

Sharon: 'It's interesting to see who is now reacting.'

Eitam: Your very statement is incitement against all the settlers. Why don't you catch the handful of people inciting, you are exploiting them to arouse public opinion against opponents to the withdrawal.'

Committee chairman Yuval Steinitz of the Likud expelled Eitam from the session, when Eitam refused to leave the chairman called the Knesset guard to escort him out.

The Prime Minister revealed this summer's evacuation will be carried out within a number of weeks. So the Knesset is expected to pass the final votes on withdrawal this week, and the cabinet next Sunday. The settlements to be evacuated will be divided into four categories. But while the first group is being evacuated, the cabinet will vote on immediately withdrawing from the second and so on. The PM explained that he had no intention of spreading the evacuation over several months as demanded by Bibi Netanyahu. Sharon explained it was impractical to mobilized the IDF and Israel Police each time a group of settlements was to be evacuated.

As for the buildings left behind, Sharon has appointed his deputy Shimon Peres to study what to do with them. Sharon says he has an interest in transferring the buildings to the Palestinian Authority because this could prevent Hamas from taking over control of the area.

And speaking of the Labor Party leader, Shimon Peres says he sees no danger of a civil war over the withdrawal issue. 'Yes, there are differences, but a national referendum would not change that.' Peres went on to say the legal authorities should determine where to draw the line between freedom of expression and outright incitement.

And this footnote: Sharon was asked today if he's following the instructions of the Shabak Security Service when it comes to his personal safety. The Prime Minister replied that he was because he didn't want to make it any harder for his bodyguards. Everywhere he goes now, the PM is surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards. Over the past five years he had been to a restaurant only a couple of times. And what about a bullet proof vest, a must for many national leaders in this age? Sharon cracked: 'They don't make them my size!'

David Essing

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