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Posted: 4/4/2002 9:30:07 PM EDT
[size=4]Israeli operations will go on despite Bush demand as Sharon augments right wing[/size=4] By israelinsider staff April 5, 2002 Advisers to Ariel Sharon say that the [b]anti-terror campaign in the territories will continue despite President George W. Bush's call for Israel to halt the operation immediately and begin withdrawing from the six cities it occupies[/b]. While FM Shimon Peres welcomed the decision to send Sec. of State Colin Powell to the region, Sharon strengthened the right flank of his government so that it could survive a brewing revolt by Peres' Labor party. Sharon did not respond directly to the Bush speech, but a statement released by his office said that negotiations prior to decisive victory over terror, will only strengthen terrorist forces. The statement said that the military operation would continue till a decisive victory over the terrorists and their organizers, and it demanded that the terrorists surrenders and hand over their illegal weapons. Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin, who spoke to Sharon after Bush's address, said [b]"We accept the part of the speech that explains why Arafat is not a partner for peace, but Israel must continue its military operation to act against terror. It is impossible that the Americans will demand that we will cease action when there is no one else that can do so, and that is also the position of the prime minister."[/b] Fellow Likud Minister Dani Naveh said "we must say no to the United States. We are in a war for our homes, our lives, and our children, and we must continue to act without regard to world opinion until the IDF completes its mission. Foreign Minister Peres, in sharp contrast, issued a statement in which he "welcomes the American President's commitment to bringing about a ceasefire with the Palestinians, in order to renew the peace process that constitutes a fundamental Israeli interest. We note with satisfaction President Bush's words on the necessity to put an end to terror." He also "welcomes Secretary of State Powell's mission to the region, and we will spare no effort to make it a successful one." The conflicting reactions from Labor and Likud representatives underscores a growing tension with Israel's national unity government. Today, after a meeting with Sharon, the National Religious Party, a right wing party associated with the settlement movement, agreed to join the government, after more than a year staying outside due to what it perceived to be Sharon's less than resolute stand on security issues. The party will be led by General Effi Eitam, a charismatic figure and one of Israel's highest ranking religious military leaders. Sharon is also conducting negotiations will David Levy's Gesher Party. Sharon also met for the first time in many months with party rival Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister. While Netanyahu's initial assignment will be to represent Israel before the media, starting with a weekend trip to the United States, there has been speculation that Netanyahu may be a candidate to become foreign minister should Shimon Peres bolt from the government. See article at:[url]http://israelinsider.com/channels/diplomacy/articles/dip_0188.htm[/url] Eric The(Ecstatic)Hun[>]:)]
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