Arik Sharon at the Conference of Presidents
"Israeli Defeatism is on the March"
by Gad Nahshon
"Israel does not behave like a strong country. Essentially, the attitude of the Arabs to Israel has not changed. The Jews became weak. Israel does not exist in their maps.
The Arab or the Muslim terror is on the rise. Most of the wars in the Middle East were caused by terrorist activities. The war in the future is going to be a war against international terror. One should also be aware of the fact that the Arabs keep buy- ing arms and weapons. Also the Arabs are trying to settle their refugees in the West Bank which, according to their statistics, number four million refugees. This is a terrible picture," said Gen. (ret.) Arik Sharon in his speech as a guest of the Conference of Presidents in Manhattan. Arik Sharon, who came with his fa- mous wife Lili, discussed the peace process and the situation in the Middle East.
In the audience were many Jewish leaders such as Abe Foxman, Phil Baum, Malcolm Hoenlein, Alan Hevasi, Rabbi Fabian Shoenfeld, and many Israel officials such as Dr. Dore Gold and Ron Haimovsky. Arik Sharon, today, is the new elected leader of the Likud, Israel's opposition party. Sharon is still a charismatic tough leader and he must rebuild his party which has only 19 members in the Knesset. Sharon told the guests: "I am, first of all, a Jew. And I believe that a weak Israel means a weak Jewry in the Dias- pora. You must carry the burden together with us." Sharon views American Jewry as one uniform camp, a pro-Israeli camp. But at the same time, he said that in Israel, there are too many socio-economic divisions. "We have two nations - one in Tel Aviv and the poor one in the south and the north of Israel. We called them 'development cities.' We in the Likud try now to develop relations with this poor or underprivileged nation," said Sharon.
He is very pessimistic now because of domestic issues and the wronged policies of Israel. Sharon did not attack Ehud Barak openly but he condemned Israel's defeatism. "We do not behave like a strong country," Sharon complained. And he explained: "The Palestinians simply do not fulfill the agreement. They do not fulfill the Wye Agreement. We detailed everything in the Wye Agreement. The reality is clear: We did ful- fill the agreements. We even released many terrorists who murdered women and children. But the P.L.O. did not even try to dismantle the infra-structure of terror. So why are we the only side which gives in? Where is the rule and the principle of reciprocity? The Jews became weaker and weaker," warned Sharon.
"You in America should tell the Americans to press the Palestinians to fulfill their commitments. They do not fulfill even the last agreement of Sharam El Shiek. We released so many murderers but failed to ask the Arabs to give us something in return such as information about out 'Missing in Action.'
And what about Azam? Azam, an innocent man who was jailed in Egypt as a spy for Israel. He is innocent and Israel had to ask for his release in return for the release of the terrorists," argued Sharon, a leader who believes that Is- rael's peace process or gestures has not changed the Arab's dream to destroy Israel or, at least, to shrink her into a small weak Jewish ghetto in the Middle East.
Sharon condemned the Israeli defeatism and said: "I salute the Palestinians because they never gave up an inch." They are more sophisticated than our leaders. Israel gives too much and too fast. The only solu- tion to Israel weakness according to Sharon is more Aliyah. "We need a million new Olim, perhaps from Russia, perhaps from France," he said.
As to the Syrian problem, Sharon said: "Lebanon is one separate issue from Syria. I am against the Syr- ian-Lebanese linkage. When Syria is asking to go back to the June 6, 1967 borders, Syria also wants to con- trol land which she conquered from Israel in 1951. You must alert the U.S.A. to this fact. You also must know that Assad keep supporting the terrorism in Lebanon. In the past, once a month the cargo of arms from Teheran landed in Syria. Today it lands once a week. But as I pointed out, the Lebanese issue is dif- ferent. We can withdraw from south Lebanon. But we must tell the Lebanese government. If someone will still attack Israel from over there, Israel systematically will destroy the Lebanese infra-structure in the same manner used that the U.S. used in Serbia during the war in Kosovo.
As a matter of fact, I suggested this idea in the past but Bibi hesitated. We could have already withdrawn from south Lebanon," said Sharon, who served as a Foreign Minister in the last Likud government. At the meeting, Sharon also stressed the need to achieve one and for all a Jewish unity in America. He said that Jewish education must be the top priority of the Jewish community.
1928 - Born in Moshav Kfar Malal
1942 - Joined the Hagana
1948 - War of Independence - platoon commander and subsequently infantry company commander in the Alexandroni Brigade. Wounded at Latrun in the battle to break the siege over Jerusalem.
1949-1950 - Golani Brigade reconnaissance company commander.
1951-1952 - Intelligence officer of Central Command and Northern command.
1952-1953 - Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and infantry reserve battalion commander.
1953 - Founder and commander of the special 101 unit established to fight against Arab terror raids.
1954-1955 - Parachute battalion commander, wounded during a raid in the Gaza area.
1956-1957 - Parachute brigade commander in reprisal operations and the Sinai war.
1957 - Studied at the Staff College in Great Britain. Promoted to rank of colonel.
1958-1962 - Infantry School commander, infantry brigade commander and armoured brigade com- mander.
1964-1965 - Appointed Head of General Staff, Northern Command.
1966 - Appointed Head Training Department and promoted to Major-General.
1967 - Six Day War: commander of the armoured division which stormed the main Egyptian fortified deployment, at Um Katef - Abu Agilla in Sinai and, after large scale armoured battled in Central Sinai, reached the Suez Canal.
1969-1973 - G.O.C. of Southern Command, including command of the Suez Canal front in the war of At- trition and the war against terror in the Gaza area. In 1971, destroyed PLO terror bases in the Gaza area, which remained calm for many years as a result of this operation.
1973 - Retired from the IDF, but recalled three months later from his farm to command an armoured di- vision in the Yom Kippur war. Planned and executed the crossing of the Suez Canal, an operation which brought the victory in the war and finally resulted in peace with Egypt. After he left the IDF, Sharon initi- ated the establishment of the Likud political block, which brought about the political turnover of 1977.
1974 - First elected as Knesset member.
1975 - Appointed as security adviser to Prime Minister Rabin.
1977 - Appointed Minister of Agriculture in the first government which Menahem Begin established. Member of the Inner Cabinet. Chairman of the Ministerial Settlement Committee. Initiated and executed large scale plan to settle Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip and Galilee.
1981-1983 - Minister of Defense, during "Shlom Hagalil" (the war in Lebanon 1982) war which brought about the destruction of the infrastructure of the PLO in Lebanon and the expulsion of its members com- manders and headquarters from Beirut.
1984-1990 - Minister of Industry and Trade in the National Likud Government and a member of the In- ner Cabinet.
1990-1992 - Minister of Construction and Housing, member of the Inner Cabinet and chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Immigration and Absorption.
1996 - Minister of National Infrastructures, Members of the Inner Cabinet.
1998 - Appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of the Permanent Status Negotiations with the Palestinians.
1999 - Following the May 1999 National elections, appointed acting National Chairman of Likud Party. In September 1999, Elected as National Chairman of the Party. Member of the Knesset since 1974. LL.B (law) degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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