Address by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon following the seizing of the ship Karine A
Eilat, January 6, 2002
Allow me to open with two words - thank you.
From here, the Port of Eilat, on behalf of the people of Israel
and on my own behalf, I wish to say thank you. To each and every
soldier, to all members of the security forces and the
intelligence community and all those who played a part - either
large or small - in this complex operation, I say: thank you.
To Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, IDF Chief of Staff
Shaul Mofaz, Commander of the Navy, Major General Yedidia Ya'ari,
Commander of the Air Force, Major General Dan Halutz, Commander
of our Naval Commando Unit ('Flotilla 13'), and particularly to
the naval fighters - thank you.
Thank you all for what you have done.
Citizens of Israel,
This bold operation, in the dead of night and in the middle of
the sea, in which naval fighters took over a ship carrying 50
tons of weapons designated for the Palestinian Authority, is
another milestone in our ongoing and just battle against the
forces of terrorism of the Palestinian Authority and its leader.
This ammunitions ship behind us is part of a campaign of terror
being conducted against us by the Palestinian Authority. This
ship of terror, which was on its way to the Gaza shore, was
carrying what was to threaten each and every one of you - in
Tel-Aviv as in Emmanuel, in Haifa as in Ariel, in Herzlia and
Ashkelon as in Elei-Sinai and Netzarim.
The type and character of the weapons and ammunition discovered
on the ship prove once again that the Palestinian Authority has
been focusing all its efforts on terrorism and preparing the
operational infrastructure for the next waves of terror.
Let there be no mistake - this is the choice made by the Chairman
of the Palestinian Authority.
Arafat chooses to buy long-term Katyusha missiles, instead of
investing in children's education. He chooses to purchase mortars
in place of investing money in creating employment opportunities.
He chooses to allocate dozens of millions of dollars for
missiles, firearms and mines instead of investing in the welfare
of his people.
At the same time as Arafat was saying "my aim is to achieve
peace," he was sending the one responsible for military
acquisitions in the Palestinian Authority to purchase ammunition
in Iran. As he was declaring a cease-fire, he sent his Chief of
Naval Police to purchase a ship in Lebanon. When he announced
that he would be willing to accept the "Hudna" initiative, he was
already monitoring the journey of this ship toward the Gaza port
in the hope of succeeding in smuggling this Trojan horse by sea.
The Palestinian Authority is a major player in the network of
international terrorism, spearheaded by Iran and aimed at sowing
death and destruction throughout the entire world.
When Arafat gave the instruction to purchase the firearms
discovered on the ship, he made a strategic choice - to bring
about regional deterioration which would lead to war. When the
naval fighters took over the ship, they were implementing the
strategic decision of the Government of Israel - to prevent
Arafat from doing so - for the sake of the people of Israel and
all the peoples of the region.
Citizens of Israel,
Israel is a peace-seeking nation. The State of Israel is doing -
and will continue to do - everything in its power to achieve real
peace for generations of both Israelis and Palestinians. From
here, at the stern of this ship of terror, Israel is extending
its hand in peace to the Palestinian people.
However, let there be no mistake. Our pursuit of peace will not
cloud our judgement. Our desire for peace and tranquility will
not weaken our alert. The capture of this war-ship, full of
deadly weapons, proves once again how sharp and on the alert we
must be in everything we do.
The interception of this ticking bomb, which was headed towards
the PA shores, increases our particular caution in our efforts to
The path we have chosen is not a simple one. The road to peace
and security is long and full of obstacles. The path, as we see
it today, is laid with enormous successes, but also more than a
few moments of pain and bereavement. But we will continue to go
down this path - with caution and determination. This war which
we are fighting is a war for our home, it is a war for our lives
- and we will triumph.