PM Sharon's Address to the Nation
Jerusalem, March 31, 2002
Following is the televised address that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
delivered to the nation Sunday evening, March 31, 2002:
"First of all, I would like - from here, from Jerusalem - to send our
condolences to the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks
and wishes for a speedy recovery to the many wounded in hospital.
Citizens of Israel, the State of Israel is in a war, a war against
terror. This is a war that was forced on us. It is not a war that we
decided to embark upon. This is a war for our home.
Under my leadership, ever since I was elected, the State of Israel
has made every effort to reach a cease-fire. Amidst the wave of
Palestinian terror, we set before us the goal of doing our utmost to
achieve calm and make progress toward political agreements. We
cooperated with US envoy Anthony Zinni, and we received terror in
return. We cooperated with US Vice President Dick Cheney, and we
received terror in return. In order to promote the possibility of a
cease-fire, I decided to concede my demand for seven days of quiet,
and we received terror in return. We withdrew the IDF from the
cities, and we received terror in return. All we received in return
for our efforts was terror, terror and more terror.
We must wage an uncompromising fight against this terror, uproot
these weeds, and smash their infrastructure because there is no
compromise with terror. It is impossible to compromise with someone
who is prepared - like the suicide-bombers on the streets of Israel's
cities and at the World Trade Center in the US - to die in order to
kill innocent civilians, children, women and infants, to die in order
to cause fear and terror.
This terror is operated, directed and initiated by one man -
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Arafat heads a
coalition of terror. He operates a strategy of terror. The PA
Chairman is an enemy of Israel in particular and the entire free
world in general. All those who treasure freedom, all those who were
raised on the values of freedom and democracy, must know that Arafat
is an obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Arafat endangers the
stability of the entire region.
The Government of Israel - at its meeting last Thursday, March 28, 2002 -
decided to begin a wide-ranging operation to root out terrorist
infrastructures in the PA areas. We will wipe out the terrorist
infrastructures from their foundations because, in the end, we know
that the only way to reach a cease-fire, negotiations, a settlement,
an agreement and peace is if we succeed in eliminating the
infrastructure of terrorism. The State of Israel seeks peace. Our
hand is - and always will be - outstretched for peace with the
Palestinian people and the peoples of the entire region. But let no
one delude himself, our outstretched hand does not mean that we will
capitulate to terror or to terrorists.
Citizens of Israel, the State of Israel is at a critical moment in
its history. The situation is not easy, but we have known worse
situations than this, and we overcame them all. This time, as in the
past, we will be victorious; we will win this time, too. When this
happens, we will be able to live here together in peace."