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Sharon: '2005 will be a year of great opportunity'
The Jerusalem Post ^ | 16 December 2004 | JPOST.COM STAFF

Posted on 12/16/2004 2:36:08 PM PST by anotherview

Dec. 16, 2004 20:08 | Updated Dec. 16, 2004 22:45
Sharon: '2005 will be a year of great opportunity'

PM Sharon speaking at Herzilya conference
Photo: AP

Speaking at the Herzliya conference Thursday night, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said 2005 "will be a year of great opportunity" for Israel, the Palestinians and the Middle East.

"Last year I presented here the outlines of the disengagement plan before outlining the goals of the state," Sharon said.

"I've outlined the way in which I'll move the future of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state.

"Israel will be the heart of the Jewish world. It will provide a secure future for its citizens. A state with a modern education system, 20th century infrastructure, a prosperous economy, a society which offers everybody a decent living," the prime minister added.

"In the past year, since I set these goals, the state has taken a huge step in this direction. You all know that in the last four years we have had to deal with two big problems, terrorism and economic recession.

"We needed to prevent a security and economic crash. We did it thanks to our courageous soldiers and financial reforms, which place the State of Israel in a position to grow its economy and integrate into the global economy.

"An improvement in the security situation will allow us to invest in social areas and narrow the socio-economic gaps and invest more in education. This year we have spent 1.7 billion in implementing the Dovrat report.

"Education is the key to the development of the State of Israel.

"I would like to say to you that in contrast to previous years, I have felt an increase in the optimism of the speakers. This did not come about from nothing.

"Important strategic opportunities lay ahead in 2005 for the state of Israel. In 2005 we will have the opportunity to coordinate the fight on terrorism with the international community. Also, we will have an historic opportunity to reach a long-awaited agreement with the Palestinians.

"To achieve big breakthroughs one needs to make concessions. Israel' biggest concession is the disengagement plan and the withdrawal from Gaza.

"Israel's international standing has improved greatly because of the painful, very painful concessions we are ready to make.

It is clear that in a permanent peace accord, we will not be in Gaza," he said.

Sharon said that the Palestinians must "eliminate terrorism" as a condition for progress toward a peace settlement with Israel.

He added that the Palestinians should have their own state, because to continue Israeli control over Palestinian areas would mean "one people maintaining control of another people," an untenable situation.

"Palestinians must take concrete steps against terrorism and stop teaching hatred. The US pledged not to force Israel to agree on any deal other than the road map.

"Thank you to (Egyptian President) Mubarak who freed Azzam Azzam," Sharon said in a reciprocal appreciation gesture to the Egyptian president who praised Sharon as the only partner with whom the Palestinians can genuinely sign a peace agreement.

Sharon also evoked the prospect of Egypt playing a security role in Rafah, which will "allow Israel to leave the Philadelphi route."

He said that if Egypt works to prevent Palestinian arms smuggling through tunnels under the border, Israel would withdraw from the Philadelphi Route, the Israeli-controlled, 25-mete-wide road that separates Egypt from the Gaza Strip.

"I hope the Palestinians' newly elected leaders will seek peaceful means to resolve their cause. Israel will take the necessary steps to make sure fair and successful elections take place in PA areas.

"The Palestinian government should be ready to take control of the areas Israel evacuates. If this happens we will be living in a world in which terror is no longer an existential threat. We will be able to enjoy living in our land and to build our economy peacefully.

"Peace requires sacrifices from both sides. We already took steps to make the first sacrifice without giving up our right to secure the lives of our citizens.

"2005 is the year of great opportunity; the end of the threat to peace and the beginning of a long-lasting Palestinian-Israeli agreement. We will act with all our might to make sure that this year of opportunity will not turn into a year of missed opportunities.

"The Iranian and Syrian support of terror organizations thwarts US efforts to bring reform and democracy to the region, the support of Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad. Iran publicly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel therefore, is still in danger.

"We stand today before a great opportunity. We are forced to defend ourselves from terror attacks and we know how to do that very successfully.

"We have no desire to interfere in your (Palestinian) affairs. I have taken a great deal of risk to make sure that we leave space for peace. I hope you too can take risky steps to make peace possible."

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: arielsharon; herziliyaconference; herzliya; israel; israelssecurity; opportunity; palestinians; sharon

1 posted on 12/16/2004 2:36:09 PM PST by anotherview
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To: anotherview

I have to say that Sharon has a good plan.
He is willing to make concessions while still covering himself and Israel in terms of security with the barrier.

2 posted on 12/16/2004 2:39:45 PM PST by kingsurfer
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
3 posted on 12/16/2004 3:44:13 PM PST by SJackson ( Bush is as free as a bird, He is only accountable to history and God, Ra'anan Gissin)
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To: Thinkin' Gal; Sir Gawain
Sharon: '2005 will be a year of great opportunity'

You bet-ya! Happy Birthday to Me, happy birthday to me…

His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein (Arabic: ÚÈÏÇááå ÇáËÇäí Èä ÇáÍÓíä) (born January 30, 1962) is the current King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The proposed elections in Iraq, scheduled for January 30, 2005…

You can’t make this stuff up!

4 posted on 12/18/2004 1:35:56 PM PST by Jeremiah Jr
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To: Jeremiah Jr; Sir Gawain; Quix
You can’t make this stuff up!

No kidding.

Happy Birthday to Me, happy birthday to me…
What a great day to be

Ooops. And then there's...

When I'm 64

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings...

5 posted on 12/18/2004 2:54:08 PM PST by Thinkin' Gal
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