Text of Ariel Sharon's address
The following is the translated text of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's address Monday as provided by the Israeli government.
I first send my condolences to the families of those who were murdered and hope the many who were wounded will get well soon.
I got back from the U.S. after speaking with President Bush. He asked me to express to the Israeli people his deep grief and honest condolences. He said the U.S. is a true friend and partner of Israel in peace and in the war against terrorism; the U.S. and Israel stand together.
We have fought many wars and won them all. We defeated our enemies, and we made peace. We held the sword and made the desert bloom. We built cities, developed agriculture and industry and turned Israel into an example to many countries. We will continue doing this, and we will never stop.
A war of terror was forced upon us -- a war which has many victims every day. It's negotiated, managed systematically. The purpose of terrorists and those who send them and aid them is to expel us, to drive us to despair, to lose our vision. This will never happen. No other nation would display such maturity and steadfastness. I am aware that even in other things we face difficulties and display strength.
While they already understand that they will never succeed, they continue to slaughter innocent civilians. Just for killing's sake, just to murder.
I say from Jerusalem, our eternal capital forever, whomever chooses to kill us will pay a price. Like the U.S., under the courageous leadership of Bush, going full force against terrorism, so shall we, with every means we have.
Don't be tempted by false prophecies. This battle will not be easy or short, but we'll prevail. We don't start wars: This war was forced on us. Arafat is responsible for all. He made his strategic decision of terrorism to reach diplomatic achievements by murdering. In this, he chose terrorism.
For a long time, the world didn't realize Arafat's true nature. Lately, there's a change. People have begun to see the real Arafat. He's the biggest obstacle for peace and stability in the Middle East. But he will not fool this government. This time, he will not fool us. The situation that Arafat has brought upon us hurts them, first and foremost. We will prosecute the terrorists, perpetrators and abettors; they will pay the price.
Today I convened all the security chiefs, and soon I will meet with the government. We will make decisions on fighting terrorism. I will not elaborate on that. The government is a unity government. This is a time of emergency, and it's important to have a unity government representing all the people of Israel.
I'm not afraid for the future of the unity government. It is the most important thing now in our fight in the war against terrorism, so that there can be quiet and we may negotiate. We will do whatever it takes; the government will reach decisions.
Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority and Arafat are directly responsible for the serious situation we now face. It's impossible for the terrorists to do what they do without receiving shelter and aid from Arafat. They are allowed headquarters and training camps next to Arafat's headquarters. He has done nothing to deter them.
We see Arafat as directly responsible for what is going on. We will make our decisions in the proper time and place. The person directly responsible for the deaths in Israel and the plight of the Palestinians is Arafat. We will act accordingly.
We will take the necessary measures, but I think that Arafat brought us to this situation as a result of the strategy of terror he's adopted. We will act until we put an end to terror. He is the one who's responsible for terror, and we'll take the necessary steps.
In due time we will end the war on terror, and when we reach an agreement, which I'm committed to and want, then we'll see. Now is not the time. We did the right thing, but considering the escalation in terror, we need further steps.
Unfortunately, I fought in all of Israel's wars. One thing I learned and taught is that during war everybody must stand together. It's unfitting at a time like this, before we even acted, to criticize. The best example we have right now of a nation standing united together is the United States of America. We shall learn from the Americans how a nation stands together at a time of war.
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