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Sharon warns U.S. not to 'appease' Arabs

Sharon: "We can only count on ourselves."  

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon bluntly warned the United States on Thursday not to "appease" Arabs at Israel's expense and said Israel would chart its own course in the fight against terrorism.

"We can only count on ourselves," Sharon said. "From now on, we will count only on ourselves."

He said Israel would take "whatever steps necessary" to protect Israelis from terrorism.

He accused Palestinians of repeatedly violating the recent cease-fire agreement, reached under pressure from the United States.

"Every effort by us to reach a cease-fire was torpedoed by the Palestinians," he said. "The fire hasn't stopped for a minute."

But Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the September 11 suicide attacks had provided a "golden opportunity" to return to peace talks.

U.S. efforts to solidify a cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians have been complicated by the Bush administration's plan to build a broad-based coalition to fight terrorism following the attacks. Included in the coalition are several Arab and Islamic countries.

Sharon's remarks followed those by President Bush on Tuesday that a Palestinian state has always been "part of a vision," as long as Israel's right to exist is respected.

Secretary of State Colin Powell later expanded on Bush's comments, saying:

"There has always been a vision in our thinking, as well in previous administrations' thinking, that there would be a Palestinian state that would exist at the same time that the security of the state of Israel was also recognized, guaranteed and accepted by all parties."

On Thursday Sharon compared current events to Western acquiescence in 1938 to Nazi Germany's takeover of Czechoslovakia.

"I call on the Western democracies and primarily the leader of the free world, the United States: Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938 when enlightened European democracies decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for a convenient temporary solution," Sharon said.

"Do not try to appease the Arabs at our expense," he said. "This is unacceptable to us. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia. Israel will fight terrorism."


• Government of Israel
• Palestinian National Authority

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