Transcript: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

This partial transcript of Fox News Sunday, August 5, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.

SNOW: And now joining us to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East is the Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon.

Mr. Sharon, thanks for joining us.


SNOW: We've seen shootings today in Tel Aviv. There was a violent evening in the West Bank in Gaza. Friday, you said that you no longer think peace is an immediate objective; instead, you would aim for what you called nonbelligerence.

Other guests and topics for Aug. 5, 2001 included:
• Interior Secretary Gale Norton
• DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe
• RNC chairman Jim Gilmore
• Parting Thoughts
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The question: Is the policy of either killing or abducting suspected terrorists and effective way of contributing to nonbelligerence?

SHARON: No, it's nothing to do with that. Israel is committed to peace. Myself, I'm committed to peace. No doubt, I'm committed not to create any escalation, and I can assure you there's not going to be any war in the Middle East. We -- myself -- declared the report, unilateral cease- fire. The Palestinian reaction was terrorist acts and murder and assassinations all over the country.

Since a tentative plan, we had over 1,0750 acts of terror. We lost many people. We have many injured, murders of shells, shooting, suicide bombers, car bombs, all this happened since the tentative plan was accepted.

And no doubt the strategy of the Palestinian authority is a strategy of terror. They would like to bring us to conduct negotiation under terror, and though we are committed to peace, one thing I can assure you, we are not going to negotiate under threat of terror and fire.

Once it will be quiet, completely quiet, full cessation of terror, hostilities, violence and incitement, I can assure you, we're not going to waste one day, I'll start negotiating immediately.

SNOW: Yasser Arafat says that he is committed to a cease-fire. Do you believe him?

SHARON: Usually, I think that one should look not at what one says but at what one did or does, not the declarations, but deeds. Since Arafat declared, I think three days ago in Rome, we had 88 acts of terror already since then. So I think that we have to look, not at words, but at deeds and acts.

By now, we don't see any change whatsoever. Myself, I asked Arafat. I sent him a message. I sent him a list of names of terrorists, those that were preparing for acts of murder and terror and violence, those that are preparing suicide bombers, those that are preparing car bombs.

SHARON: I asked him to arrest them. No steps have been taken by him, and I made it very clear that we have to defend our citizens. We have to defend our lives, and therefore, we had to take a counter-terrorist preventing -- counter-terrorist steps. That's what we have been doing. It's not a cycle of terror here. On the one hand, we have murders, killers, suicide bombers. On the other hand, we ourselves, we are taking defensive counter-terrorist measures. That's what we are doing.

SNOW: Mr. Prime Minister, the State Department, at least according to an issue of Time Magazine that has just been released, says that your tactics may be counterproductive. Let me read you just a sentence out of the Time magazine article. It says: "U.S. officials have told aides to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinians it accuses of terrorism compromises American influence among Arab states because Israel uses American-made weapons to make its hits." Has the State Department told you to back off?

SHARON: Again, I would like to say that I think that it's an entirely different situation here. We have on one hand, we have terror, mostly carried out by the Palestinian Authority, terror acts, murder, assassinations, suicide bombers.

On the other hand, we have defensive means, we are taking defensive means. We are intercepting suicide bombers on the way to commit their crimes. And of course, the question is what United States would have done if United States would have known that the group of terrorists are on their way to commit a terrible crime in the center of civilian populations. Would they -- would the United States be waiting until that will happen? I don't think so.

I think that what we are doing is, of course, exercising our right of self-defense. We are all out against -- I'm against killing. I wouldn't have liked to kill anyone. Every casualty is a tragedy, but we have to avoid, I would say, massive tragedies, and that's the only way that we can do it.

But of course, one must understand Arafat could avoid it. That's in his hands. He got the list of about 100 terrorists which are preparing now all those car bombs and roadside bombs and are mobilizing those suiciders - - are preparing them, of sending them to commit the crimes.

What he has to do is just to stop them, and personally, I believe that the free world has to join in that warfare against terror. Terror is a danger to all of us.

Israel, Israel is a democracy. The only...

SNOW: I'm sorry to break in, Mr. Prime Minister, I wanted -- go ahead.

SHARON: That Israel is a democracy. The only democracy that exists in this region. From Iran, across the Middle East, across Africa to the Atlantic, there is one, tiny, small country, a great democracy, but a tiny small country, that's Israel, and we have the right to defend ourselves like every other nation in the world, and that's what we are going to do. I made it clear many, many times that, for true peace, I'm ready to make painful compromises.

But I would like to say it very, very clearly, I'm not going to make any compromise whatsoever, not now and not in the future, when it comes to the security to the State of Israel and the security of its citizens.

SNOW: Mr. Prime Minister, ...

SHARON: He is not being -- not compromise whatsoever.

SNOW: Mr. Prime Minister, Chairman Arafat has suggested or asked a number of heads of state including President Bush to put an international observer team into the region. What is your reaction to that request?

SHARON: We will not be able to accept international forces or international observers. Just now, we had as a very, very hard experience. In Lebanon we saw what happened with the (inaudible), how they acted when our soldiers were kidnapped.

We have not heard by now any real step by the United Nations or the international community to put real pressure upon the Lebanese and the Syrians in order to just to get information: What really happened to our kidnapped soldiers, what really happened to them? Nobody puts any real pressure.

Therefore, I would like to make it very clear, Israel will not accept any international intervention here. Israel will not accept any international observers. That, we're not going to do.

We believe, as a matter of fact, that the present system that exists - - I'd say those, the teams, Israelis, Palestinians, with the presence of the representatives of the CIA -- that is the right way how to deal with those complicated problems. Beside that, as a matter of fact, nobody had discussed that with us, but I'm already saying, Israel will not accept any international observers here in our region.

SNOW: All right. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, thank you for joining us today.

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