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Text - Ariel Sharon: Speech at the Likud Meeting

01/07/2004

Below is the complete text of Israeli PM Ariel Sharon's address to the Likud Central Committee Meeting as provided by the Likud spokesperson.

Sharon did not say much that was new about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. He pledged yet again to remove illegal outposts. He reiterated his commitment to the roadmap and Palestinian independence, provided only that the Palestinian Authority could become democratic and cease terror operations, which is about like saying, "provided that they can all learn to walk on water." If for some strange reason however, the Palestinians fail to become democratic and cease terror operations while Israel is occupying them (and fail to walk on water) then he will implement his "Disengagement Plan." in which "a portion of the settlements will be relocated." Interestingly, according to Middle East Newsline, Israel has pledged to the USA help implement a "provisional" (whatever that means) Palestinian state in 2004, regardless of whether or not Palestinians comply with the roadmap. The nature of this state and who will govern it remains to be seen.

Sharon actually said less here than he had said on former occassions, when he explained that the plan would be implemented within months if there is no progress in implementing the roadmap. Nonetheless, "relocating" settlements and removing illegal outposts are not popular in the Likud pary, and Sharon's speech was met with a great many boos.

Ami Isseroff


Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Address at the Likud Committee Meeting

January 5, 2004

Ministers of the Lukud Party,

Membbers of Knesset

Recently elected Mayors and their Deputies,

Members of the Likud Committee

I would like to dedicate tonight to the concerns of the members of the Central Committee. I meet
with Ministers and Members of Knesset, hear what they have to say and listen. However, due to the
constraints of my position, it is difficult for me to meet with all the members of the Central
Committee, and therefore, it is important to me to hear all opinions, even those I disagree with.

Because in the end, it is the Prime Minister who must make the decisions.

It is my responsibility to make all due considerations, hear all the points of view and decide. I,
together with the other elected officials, decide, and I must implement the decisions. I was elected
to do so. This is what the people expect, both Likud voters and those who voted for other parties.
And they are right to expect this.

The State of Israel is facing an historic decision. Either we cusseeed in ending once and for all
the terror against us, or we will have to act, wihout an agreement, in order to provide maximum
security to all citizens of Israel.

We aspire to implement the Roadmap, together with the 14 resrvations, in all its stages, as quickly
as possible. The Roadmap is the only political plan that can bring about peace, since its first step
is the total cessation and uproouting of terror. The likud has always insisted that only security
will bring peace. Only security will bring peace.

This is the genuine vision of peace, and our hands are extended to anyone who is ready to adopt and
realize it. However, the test will be of actions, not words.

We have not, nor will we ever, conduct political negotiations under fire. No prize will be awarded
for terror. We will not give in to the pressures of our political opponents who have adopted the
Arab position almost without reservation.

However, if we achieve exeurity, we will give a great deal. If terrorist infrastructuures are
completely dismantled, if weapons are collected, if a new Palestinian Authority is set up that is
democratic and terror-free, if the incitement is stopped, the Government of Israel that we, the
Likud Party, lead, will be ready to fulfill its part and enable the establishment of an independent
Palestinian state, at first with temporary borders, and finally through a permanent agreement.,
Clearly, in the permanent agreement we will have to give up some of the Jewish settlements.

Only abandoning terror will allow the Palestinians to take a place of honor in the community of free
nations and achieve the freedom and prosperity to which they are entitled.

The United States, our friend and ally, has given its complete agreement to this. I am acting, and
will continue to act in fool coordination with President Bush and his team. The Roadmap has been
accepted by the international community, which is today united in its fight against terror, wherever
it is found, under the brave leadership of the President of the United States.

Israel will fulfill all of its commitments, including putting an end to lawbreaking inJudea, Samaria
and the Gaza Strip. The Jewish settlers are among the best in this country, men and women who are
courageous, full of dedication to the State and to Zionism. However, they must also, like all of
us, abide by the law and obey the instructions of the Government and security forces.

If, within a few months, it becomes clear that we have no partner, that the Palestinians insist on
rejecting our hjand that is extended toward peace, if they continue their terror attack, if they
remain entrenched in the camp of the enemies of humanity, then we will have to act alone, in full
coordination with our allies, led by the United States, in order to provide maximum security for the
residents of Israel.

We will undertake political and physical disengagements until they change their path. We will extend
a security line that will prevent any passage to our territory. The IDF and the settlements will be
deployed along the security line, a portion of the settlements will be relocated in order to reduce
friction and protect our soldiers, the settlers, the residents of Jerusalem and the central resion
ald all citizens of Israel in the best way possible.

An agreement would be better than a unilateral move. An agreement would be better for us, and better
for the Palestinians, who will gain much less from the Disengagement Plan than they would from a
political agreement.

Howver,if we reach the conclusion that we have no choice, I will act without hesitation. In the
absence of a Palestinian partner, my plan, the "Disengagement Plan," constitutes the best security
plan.

That is my plan and I will pass it.

My fellow Committee members.

The security challenge is the most important challenge we face, but it is not the only one. The
Government under my leadership has introduced a determined economic policy, headed by the Minister
of Finance, of which all the ministers are party to, each in his or her own field. We ere not
deterred for an insstant from tackling the most painful problems that have deterred every Government
in Israel.

Now that we have successfully passed the "braking" phase, there is more than one indication that we
are on the path of recovery and growth. The economic crisis has left a trail of actual problems. The
situation is not easy for many people, and even extremely difficult in some cases. There is great
distress. The Ministers and Members of nesset are sensitive to this distress and are acting to
reduce it as much as possible.

Allow me to present an example.

I am especially concened with the condition of children at risk, from the disenfranchised sectors.
This week, following a conversation with several members of our party, I decided that we must push
harder for the introduction of a long school day, and at its center, proper nutrition for every
child. It is better to cut back child allowances that go to the parents, and instead use the money
to provide a warm meal and educational learning framework for every child who needs it. That is one
of the steps in the socio-economic field that the Likud must - and will - lead.

This is but one example of the way the entire Likud Party is leading, and will continue to lead in
the socio-economic sphere. This is how the largest party in the Knesset works, with a sense of
responsibility, through mutual conviction, by making brave decisions and acting determinedly
together, only together, to carry them out.

We are the ruling party. We were elected in order to lead and implement. Evert one of us has a role
to play, because only together, as one person, with one heart, can we realize the hopes of our
voters.

We have four more years ahead of us. We have the time and the strength to act.

I am convinced that with your contributions and with our help, we wll lead the state of Israel to
prosperity and growth, tranquility and peace.

[Document courtesy of IMRA News Service]

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