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Sharon 27 Years Ago

Editor: In the Winter of ’74-’75, in our Bible Light publication, Elmer wrote about Ariel (Arik) Sharon, and gave some quotes from Sharon’s address at a Greater Los Angeles Press Conference. The following are some excerpts. Sound familiar?

General Ariel Sharon, whose military genius was instrumental in, not only in two days turning the tide of the battle against Egypt, but wresting the initiative from the enemy, crossing the Suez Canal with an army of 12,000 men and on the way to Cairo when the U.N. (though no voice was raised the first two days) called vehemently for a cease-fire. Though Israel did not begin the war, and lost upward to 3,000 of their choice sons winning it, still had to give up much of the territories they had rightfully won in the Six Day War with the blood of other hundreds of war-dead.

[At that time, Sharon said that the US Secretary of State], “overpromised the Arabs and overpressured Israel. He has promised the Arabs much more than Israel can give . . .[At the negotiating table] the Egyptians achieved much more than their military goals.” They got at the conference table that which they could not get on the battlefield, he noted. “We should have been more firm about our demands. . . .The West Bank is the most complicated problem . . .Sinai is not the future of Israel. The future of Israel lies on the West Bank. . .We cannot give up the West Bank. It will remain a part of Israel. It cannot be part of Jordan or an independent Arab State unless we want to bring upon ourselves a disaster. . . .”

“The West Bank,” he said, “always was a part of Israel until 1922,” pointing out that it was split from the Jewish National Home by the British to create an Arab kingdom. “In 1967 almost all our airfields – and civilian centers, too – were within range of Jordan artillery (on the West Bank). Now with missiles, no planes, military or  civilian could ever take off from our airfields (if the West Bank returned to Arab hands).”

[In the same Bible Light publication Elmer put a clip from the JTA bulletin we receive:]

General Arik Sharon (Res.) who led his troops behind the Egyptian lines during the Yom Kippur War and is now a leader of Israel’s opposition Likud block in the Knesset. When asked if a new Arab-Israel war is likely to erupt, Sharon replied, “It is up to the Arabs.” Throughout his press conference he repeated that there must be an overall settlement and said he was opposed to giving up “pieces of land for pieces of peace.”

A Vote Against Arafat

It is noted by the Editor of The Jerusalem Report that it was ”Israel was maturely contemplating concessions that entailed both security risk and a loosening of ties to the holiest site in Judaism. The Palestinians spared us the decision by standing firm in demanding one further, unthinkable concession – a “homecoming” to Israel of millions of refugees – that would spell national suicide: the establishment not of an Israel and a Palestine side-by-side, but of two Palestines and no Israel at all….

(Through the recent elections, Israelis said:) “We offered you everything we have to give. You spurned us, and condemned us all to conflict.”

When Sharon was a child, his father Shmuel imbued him with a farmer’s respect for land and the need to protect it. “When the land belongs to you physically, when you know every hill and wadi and orchard, when your family is there,” Sharon wrote in his 1989 autobiography, “That is when you have power, not just physical power, but spiritual power.” The only way to keep land, he notes in his book, is to live on it.

Sharon worked to establish no fewer than 64 new settlements. To this day, Sharon’s strategic thinking is based on retaining large tracts of the land captured by Israel in 1967. As prime minister, he has recently indicated, he will authorize no further land handovers to the Palestinians in the West Bank, and no dismantling of the settlements that mark out Israel’s claim to that land. “No one should be surprised by his peace plan, keeping all the settlements in place,” says a close aide. . . Sharon himself has made it plain he has no intention of adopting the Clinton parameters for peacemaking. (Source: The Jerusalem Report)

Mr. Sharon has always emphasized the need for hard deterrence, has always said Mr. Arafat is not to be trusted, has always thought the Oslo peace process a mistake, has always warned that a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza posed a grave threat to Israel’s security.

So the vote for Sharon was a decisive vote against the “peace process” as it has been pursued. Sharon is a man whose virtues become more attractive to Israelis as the country’s situation became direr. Many Israelis see a man of real humanity, notably generous, but unyielding in his defense of Israel’s cause.

He is also a seasoned politician who knows how to give and get favors. Mr. Sharon thinks that a failure to respond forcefully to terrorism is an invitation for more. The new prime minister will surely crack down hard if Palestinians choose to test him. Israelis expect this of him and rightly. Most Israelis know that Sharon is not the hard-line caricature of which he is often depicted.

When Israelis went to the polls they were not saying no to peace, much less choosing war. What they rejected was a process in which things were supposed to get worse before they got better. They rejected the idea that the deliberate killing of some 550 Jews since the Oslo accords could be tolerated by the Jewish state. They rejected the fear that has motivated a secular government that Israel must get whatever peace it can because it no longer has the stomach to go to war. They rejected submitting to the cant of liberal elites in order to win the approval of the Western governments. They rejected a policy of giving without getting, as if only that could expiate the terrible guilt of their existence on this land. This is why Ariel Sharon won.  -

(We are indebted to the Nat’l. Unity Coalition for Israel for much of the above information.)