This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, April 15, 2002. Click here to order the entire transcript of the show.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon tells Fox News that his troops will be out of all but two Palestinian towns within a week. Fox News Channel's Todd Connor joins us from Jerusalem.
TODD CONNOR, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Greta.
Well, Israel is on high alert tonight, worried about a possible retaliation attack after its military arrested a top Palestinian. Marwan Barghouti is a top aide to Chairman Yasser Arafat, and Israel accuses him of being the leader of a group that's claimed responsibility for dozens of shooting and bombing attacks. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vows to try him in an Israeli court, but a warning from a Palestinian security chief that, "Killing or humiliating him will bring catastrophes for Israel."
Also, Prime Minister Sharon told our Jennifer Griffin he expects to pull back from all Palestinian towns by the weekend, with the exception of Ramallah and Bethlehem, though in the last few hours, Israel moved back into the town of Tulkarm. And Sharon believes a Mideast peace conference is possible in a few weeks, though he doesn't want Chairman Arafat to be a part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARIEL SHARON, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: There is one man responsible for their suffering. It's only one man, and that is, Mr. Arafat. He's the one who is responsible for them. I offered so many times a ceasefire. We'll reduce activities. Their reaction to that was only one -- terror. And terror and more terror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CONNOR: And in an interview with an Arabic language magazine, Chairman Arafat's wife, Suha Arafat, described suicide attacks as a legitimate resistance to Israeli occupation. She said if she had a son, there would be no greater honor than to sacrifice him in the Palestinian struggle for independence. Now, Chairman and Mrs. Arafat have a daughter, but she said nothing about sacrificing her in a suicide attack, though four young women have recently done that exact thing -- Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Todd Connor, thanks very much for reporting live from Israel.
Here with me in Washington is the deputy prime minister of Israel, Natan Sharansky. Welcome.
NATAN SHARANSKY, ISRAELI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Good evening.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, you just heard Todd Connor talk about Marwan Barghouti, who is the Palestinian who is in custody and that Israel is on high alert, as retaliation. Do you expect a problem as a result of his arrest?
SHARANSKY: Well, first of all, you have to remember that Barghouti, who started as almost the leader of a youth movement, turned this movement into the leading terrorist organization. In fact, in the last month, more terrorist attacks were done by his movement than any other organization, including Hamas, including suicide bombers. Even when Yasser Arafat was calling to stop the violence, he was saying that he will continue to send in his terrorists. And we have enough materials to send him on trial immediately, and I hope we will do it.
As to the retaliation, we are under attacks of terror for a year and a half already, and we have to be ready.
VAN SUSTEREN: When do you expect his trial? Prime Minister Sharon said he would go on trial likely for murder. When is that likely to happen?
SHARANSKY: Well, we just now arrested a lot of people. And of them, there are some dozens who were directly organizing massive killing and terrorist attacks. Barghouti is definitely one of the generals...
VAN SUSTEREN: Is he talking?
SHARANSKY: Well, he was arrested only today.
VAN SUSTEREN: But do you expect that he's going to...
SHARANSKY: I would say the fact that he was arrested proves that some of those who were arrested in the last days were talking. There was lot of information flowing in the last days, when we arrest -- after arrest of some of the top leaders.
But you know, even if he is not talking, it does not -- there are so many materials, there are so many witnesses, there are so many statements of his own about responsibility for one or another terrible acts of terror when dozens of innocent people were killed. So we have enough…
VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, clearly, somebody's lying, and somebody's lying about Jenin. The Palestinians say that there were 500, approximately, who have been massacred -- women and children. The Israelis say that it's about 100 who died and that they were -- they were people who were fighting, the Palestinians, that they are terrorists. How do we know which to believe?
SHARANSKY: Well, you compare the history and compare the societies. We're a democratic society with free press, with free political activity.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me stop you on the free press.
SHARANSKY: There is criticism in the Knesset on everything what is done, including what prime minister is checked and tested by opposition, but press, with the courts, and so on. Here we're talking not even of a structure but with a group of terrorists who are -- where all the system, beginning from the schools and finishing with the media, is built...
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you a question...
SHARANSKY: ... for the terror.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... though. I mean, it's a big difference between the Palestinian view of what happened at Jenin and the Israeli. And the Israelis wouldn't let the journalists in, or even the Red Cross till today. So of course, at least in my mind, that raises red flags as to, you know, what happened in Jenin. What do you believe happened in Jenin?
SHARANSKY: I can tell you what happened in Jenin because it was a question which was raised in the military and in the government during the operation. When our forces came to Jenin refugee camp, it was like the autonomy of terror. For 10 years, nobody was entering there. Every house was a fortress. There were booby traps on every door, car and even dead bodies. And it was known that there is a lot of also civilians who are used as living shields.
The army had to decide whether to use artillery, tanks, airplanes, and to erase this mess of terror from which dozens of terrorists...
VAN SUSTEREN: But -- but...
SHARANSKY: ... came or to go from house to house. It was decided to go from house to house. There was 23 of our soldiers were killed. Dozens of terrorists were killed or arrested. And hundreds, hundreds of women and children could leave safely.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did -- did...
SHARANSKY: Our soldiers were killed also to save these people.
VAN SUSTEREN: But did -- when you hear the Palestinian number, 500 women and children and non-terrorists, is that false in your mind?
SHARANSKY: It is absolutely false. Time will show there are non- existent bodies. There are non-existent people. Less than 100 people were killed. Almost all of them, 90 percent of them, were soldiers, people in the uniform, shooting to our soldiers. We lost 23 soldiers in that very difficult struggle. They lost some dozens of those people who were shooting. Some dozens of terrorists were arrested. Tons -- tons -- of munitions were confiscated, and hundreds of Palestinians were saved because we decided -- and this was decision which was made twice, on political and military levels -- not to use artillery, not to use tanks, not to use airplanes.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. In the minute we have left -- the prime minister said that in the next few days, there'll be a pullback out of the West Bank cities, except for Ramallah and Bethlehem. When will there be a pullout of those two places?
SHARANSKY: First of all, we are not interested to say when we are ready to leave. The moment those 200 people who, in fact, occupied the Church of the Nativity and were captured there, the people inside of there among those people... Church of the Nativity are murderers who themselves killed dozens and dozens of people. The moment this problem is solved, we are ready...
VAN SUSTEREN: That's Bethlehem.
SHARANSKY: I have to say that I was speaking today -- I was with him today, with Condoleezza Rice, and I understand that there is absolute understanding between America and Israel how this case has -- can be solved. And when it is solved, we will leave Bethlehem.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right.
SHARANSKY: As to Ramallah...
VAN SUSTEREN: I got to -- unfortunately -- just -- can you give me a date, because we're running out of time? Any time?
SHARANSKY: Well, look, in a week from now, we will not be in those cities if there will be no terrorist activity. If there will, we'll have to continue dealing with it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, thank you very much for joining us.
Click here to order the entire transcript of the April 12, 2002 edition of On the Record.
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