|Sunday, November 28, 2004|
|Text - Newsweek interviews - Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas|
No Guts, No Glory, No Peace
Yasir Arafat's death has opened an unexplored landscape of hopes and hazards
WEYMOUTH: What made you decide that you would lead this country in a new
SHARON: I believe we have to find a solution to the situation here. The left
By doing this, you have opponents threatening not only your political career
I don't worry about my life. Arabs always wanted to act [against me] but now
After Arafat's death, do you think you might have a Palestinian partner?
I have met Abu Mazen many times and he was against terror, because he did
Will you coordinate your disengagement plan with the new Palestinian
I am going to make every effort to coordinate our disengagement plan with
You recently asked the Palestinian Authority to end incitement in
There are things they can do immediately-stopping incitement in the
Your chief of staff said publicly that Israel missed an opportunity to
We are not going to release any murderers.
What will Israel do to facilitate the Palestinian elections?
We will take all the necessary steps to enable them to conduct their
Are you ready to meet with Abu Mazen?
When they would like to meet, we will meet.
Do you worry about Iran's getting a nuclear weapon?
Iran is making every effort to possess a nuclear weapon. It seems that the
How big is Iran's role in instigating and financing terror on the West Bank
Close to 80 percent of all terrorist activity in Samaria [the northern West
What is Syria's role?
Syria continues to provide shelter, sanctuary, operational bases and
Reportedly, you gave Secretary Powell some secret information about the
We had a very good meeting with Secretary Powell. It's a very friendly
Do you think there will be a lot of resistance [to a Gaza withdrawal] from
There might be. We will make every effort that it be done quietly.
The Palestinians and Americans are saying the Israelis have got to stop
It's our responsibility to secure Israeli lives.
In 1988 you started talking about separation from the Palestinians.
I suggested in 1988 during the government of Shamir that in order not to be
Are you going to hand the [ settlers'] houses to the Palestinians?
We will discuss that. There will be no political initiatives other than the
Are you going to run again for prime minister?
Yes, the answer is yes. [The disengagement] is complicated and one should
WEYMOUTH: Many say that Arafat's death is a turning point. Do you see it
ABBAS: Arafat was a symbolic leader for the Palestinian people. I did the
How do you envision the upcoming Palestinian elections?
The elections will take place for the presidency on Jan. 9.
Do you think you will be elected?
In the United States, Prime Minister Sharon is perceived to be a man who has
I received many signs from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and from the
He's going to let East Jerusalemites vote?
Yes, and he will [ease] checkpoints here and there.
Do you like Sharon's idea of unilateral disengagement from Gaza?
We are ready to take [Gaza] when we rebuild our security apparatus. If you
Disengagement must wait for you to rebuild your security apparatus?
Now we have some sort of chaos, especially in Gaza.
Reportedly, your security services and your jails have been destroyed.
We have to rebuild and rehabilitate. It will take some time. The Europeans
I understand people are afraid to go out of their houses[in the West Bank].
Now, we are not controlling anything in the West Bank. Until now we are
What will you do about Hamas?
I started a dialogue with Hamas, PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] and the Al
Reportedly, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are backed by Iran.
I cannot say that I have evidence that they are backed by Iran.
They almost killed you when you went to Gaza.
No, it was random shooting. Two [people] were killed. But they didn't intend
There was widespread disappointment after Oslo when the Palestinian
We fought Hamas in 1996. Now things have changed. We have to deal with them
What will they ask of you in return?
They want to participate in the parliamentary elections. I said yes, why
Sharon, reportedly, is under threat of assassination because of his plan to
I think he has received some warnings. [But] he is a strong man. He's strong
Do you think Sharon is getting out of Gaza to keep the West Bank?
I don't know the way he thinks. I don't know if he wants Gaza to be first
When are you going to meet with him?
After the elections, I'm ready to meet at any time with Sharon.
Why did you start talking about how you would never give up the right of
I didn't say that. I'm not talking about anything beyond the Roadmap.
Israel's chief of staff has said Israel missed a chance in your first term.
They missed many chances. They didn't help me. I concluded a ceasefire for
This time, what would you like to see Israel do?
They should... stop the wall. I believe it is uncivilized to build this
On the Israeli side it will always be the same question: can you curb
This is one of our objectives - to cool down the whole situation, to stop
Do you see this as a second chance for the Palestinians?
Of course. For the region and the international community as well. But if we
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