Hot and Cold Reactions to the Sharon Victory

Sunday, August 27, 2000 | Tag Cloud Tags: ,

QUOTES FROM SHARON SUPPORTERS:

"[The Oslo Accords were] illusions that one-sided concessions to an authoritarian regime, who is ready to use terror as the leverage on us, can really bring peace. Ariel Sharon will no doubt try to build the government which will be based on the broad consensus and to negotiate, to negotiate on the basis of reciprocity." - Natan Sharansky, noted Soviet refusenik and head of the Yisrael B'Aliyah party.

"[Sharon's victory] is a new beginning for the peace process." - Former Israeli ambassador to Washington Zalman Shoval.

"Sharon: The nation has acquitted you for Lebanon." - Sign held by a Tel Aviv resident after the election results were announced.

"I'm secular, but today I now believe that there is a God." - Yoni Levav, 23, resident of Haifa.

"I hope that finally we have a government in Israel that will make peace in order to bring security, and not for the sake of signing a piece of paper." - Resident of Ramat Gan.

"I voted for Sharon so that he can fix the current situation. I think he's smarter than Barak." - Ninel Zelichenko, 76, a new immigrant from Russia.

"I saw what Barak did and I am disappointed in him. A worse situation won't happen with Sharon." - Rosa a 72-year-old recent immigrant from Kharkov, Russia.

"We know the Arabs. They respect strength. If there is a strong leader they would be more afraid to steal from us." - Roni David, an elderly Kurdish immigrant.

"Barak's mother is probably the only voter in the nation who has faith in one of the candidates." - Efrat, a university student from Tel Aviv.

FROM THE BARAK CAMP:

"We may have lost the battle, but we will win the war." - Defeated Prime Minister Ehud Barak, in his concession speech last night.

"I don't know anyone in the party who is smarter or greater than Barak… Barak should not be punished for putting his political life on the line, for his beliefs." - Labor MK Elie Goldschmidt, as the devastating exit-poll results came in.

"Sharon should send flowers to Arafat. He is as much responsible for Sharon's victory as anyone." - Labor MK Colette Avital.

"In my worst dreams, I never thought that a man as extreme as Sharon could be elected. From tomorrow morning, we will begin to fight to bring down this government." - Tel Aviv City Councilwoman Michal Eden.

"We don't deserve Sharon, but the Arabs deserve him." - Dan Marcipar, from a kibbutz that borders Gaza.

"I'll sleep OK, even if Sharon is in charge." - Ureil Sivan, who recently finished reserve duty in Judea/Samaria.

FROM THE ISRAELI PAPERS:

"The [Barak] resignation and the struggle within Labor are liable to delay - and perhaps even prevent - the establishment of a unity government as proposed by Sharon... [Sharon's sweeping victory] gives him a large measure of rehabilitation from the stain that has clung to him over the Sabra and Shatila affair... Many voters were pushed into supporting Sharon after Barak, with his generous concessions to the Palestinians, revealed their true demands regarding Jerusalem and the right of return, which even the Left could not accept." - MA'ARIV lead editorial on Wednesday.

"Barak lost the trust of a decisive majority of Israeli citizens well before the elections and before the negotiations with [Yasser] Arafat. The erosion in his credibility was caused, first of all, by the frequent sharp changes in his positions on domestic Israeli issues regarding the nature of civil society... [By] rapidly crossing red lines, he was - in the end - portrayed as Arafat's sucker." - YEDIOT AHARONOT lead editorial on Wednesday.

"The tempting and most hopeful analogy to apply to Sharon's incredible comeback is to the career of Winston Churchill. The British leader... was also considered a quirky and militant extremist before being ushered into power in a time of crisis... Israelis have not given up on peace but, like the people of Britain in 1940, they have given up on what had for some years been billed as the only path to peace." - JERUSALEM POST editorial on Wednesday.

ARAB REACTION:

"We are insisting on continuing the process, the peace process, the peace of the brave." - PLO chief Yasser Arafat last night.

"[J]udging from Sharon's past, there is no way we can make any progress [towards peace]." - Senior Palestinian negotiator Nabil Sha'ath.

"We don't think that Mr. Sharon is coming to plant roses ... on the road between here and Jerusalem." - Marwan Kanafani, media adviser to Arafat.

"Ariel Sharon will very quickly find out that he has no magic wand to suppress the intifada." - Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.

"It makes no difference whether Sharon or Barak is elected, as both have Palestinian blood on their hands... I say that Sharon will fall just as those who came before him." - Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

"PA fear of Sharon is exaggerated. Sharon may be brutal, but so is Barak… Sharon will offer, in terms of the peace process, less than Barak ... what Barak could not deliver, certainly Sharon will not deliver. I think that this exaggerated fear of Sharon or this exaggerated confidence in Barak -- both are entirely unrealistic." - Palestinian mouthpiece Hanan Ashrawi

"This intifada had increased the fear factor for Israelis, and they needed a father figure." - Palestinian man interviewed on CNN.

"This man is obsessive [about war] and he is full of hatred. He will end his life with revenge. He might carry certain military attacks against Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinians, not a full-scale war but certain attacks." - Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi al-Aridi.

"They are both butchers but the difference between them is that Sharon is a butcher in wolf's clothing and Barak is a butcher in sheep's clothing."- Hizb'Allah deputy secretary-general Sheikh Naim Kassem.

"In any decent country, this man should not become prime minister. He should be tried as a war criminal." - Kamal Ibrahim, 61, whose wife and three children died during the battle for Beirut in 1982.

"These elections show that whoever kills more Palestinians wins." - Abdallah Salhani, 77, a survivor of Sabra and Shatila.

"The election of Ariel Sharon is a declaration of war." - Syrian government newspaper AL-BA"ATH.

"We have heard plenty of talk recently on the climate in the region… I wanted to stress to everyone that we have seen a lot in the past and we survived the most difficult circumstances… what is happening in the region will not affect the future of Jordan." - King Abdullah of Jordan.

"His ribald tongue and iron fist make Ariel Sharon uniquely unqualified to restore Arab confidence." - JORDAN TIMES editorial on Tuesday.

"Sharon displays the true face of the Israelis, so at least Arabs will now know who they are dealing with." - Civil servant from Gulf state of Bahrain.

"Sharon will play tough at the beginning, but at the end will guide the train of peace." - 40-year-old civil engineer from Kuwait, as he followed the election results on TV.

INTERNATIONAL REACTIONS:

"The president told prime minister-elect Sharon he looked forward to working with him, especially with regard to advancing peace and stability in the region. The United States has worked with every leader of Israel since its creation in 1948. Our bilateral relationship is rock solid, as is the US commitment to Israel's security... We wish him well." - White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, discussing US President George W. Bush's congratulatory call to Sharon.

"This is a time to be patient, give the winner an opportunity to decide what kind of a government will be formed... and to encourage all the leaders and all the people of the region to refrain from any acts that would lead to violence." - US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"In many ways, Israelis voted against violence... against Chairman Arafat." - Former US national security adviser Sandy Berger.

"It is the hope of the European Union that Ariel Sharon will keep the peace process alive and continue the dialogue according to the wishes of all the parties concerned." - Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson, current holder of the rotating presidency of the EU.

"For now, the only thing we have to say is that we are ready to co-operate with the person and the people who have been elected." - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana

"It is important that continued peace negotiations build on the progress already achieved and that they are based on the relevant Security Council resolutions 242 and 338." - Official EU statement.

"If Sharon implements what he said he would during the election campaign, there is every reason to fear what will happen." - Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder urged Sharon "to pursue and complete the peace process on the foundation of what has already been achieved."

French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine lamented the "missed opportunities of the past months."

"I congratulate Mr. Sharon. I express my admiration for the courage displayed by his predecessor Ehud Barak who tried very hard and went as far as I believe any Israeli prime minister could possibly go in trying to achieve peace. And I think it is a great tragedy that the Palestinians didn't take advantage of the peace offer than Barak made because it is a very fraught tragic situation." - Australian Prime Minister John Howard

"Washington should counsel the new government to maintain a steady course and avoid the impulse to escalate military confrontations with the Palestinians. Israel cannot afford to abandon the search for peace in the Middle East that has lasted more than two decades." - NEW YORK TIMES editorial.

"Israelis have opted for Mr. Sharon because the immediate threat to their personal security was plainly a more relevant concern than the pursuit of a political dialogue in which compromise seemed impossible." - THE TIMES OF LONDON.

"For once, the nation that so often points to the bloodstained hands of its Arab enemies will have its very own home-grown blood-spattered leader." - A commentator in the British paper THE INDEPENDENT.

"It's as if Jean-Marie le Pen had become president of France or Ian Paisley ruled over Northern Ireland." - Jonathan Freedland in THE GUARDIAN.

"Sharon the Threat" - Front-page headline in the daily LIBERATION of France.

"Time will tell... I think that Sharon has a chance to prove himself as a statesman and there are many things motivating him to make a positive move toward peace with the Palestinians or the Syrians." - Jonathan Jacoby, strategic consultant for the dovish Israel Policy Forum.

"The people of Israel have spoken. Amidst the backdrop of ongoing Palestinian violence in the streets and intransigence at the negotiating table, Israelis have chosen Ariel Sharon as prime minister to guide Israel's security and peace process policy." - Statement released by the Anti-Defamation League.

"I think Arafat elected Sharon. The Barak government made the most far-reaching concessions imaginable and Arafat, rather than choosing peace, chose violence. The Israeli electorate has turned to a person in a different camp. [We] will support the government of Israel and will insist it pursue the path of peace." - Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress.

Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

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