Prime Minister Sharon Addresses United Nations

PM Ariel Sharon told the United Nations Thursday night that the Arabs living in the Land of Israel deserve a state, and that Israel is ready for more "painful concessions."

Ezra HaLevi , | updated: 8:33 PM

Sharon opened his speech with a declaration on the eternity of a united Jerusalem and then expressed sorrow for the victims of the Katrina disaster. Sharon added that Israel is offering whatever aid that is needed.

"I stand before you as a Jew and a citizen of the democratic State of Israel." Sharon continued by speaking about the Patriarch Abraham, Mt. Sinai and Moses, in a brief review of the Jewish people's relationship with the Land of Israel.

Invoking the verse that Jews recite beneath every wedding canopy, Sharon stated, "If I forget thee Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning." The Prime Minister then declared, "We have no desire to rule over the Palestinians, who also desire freedom and who deserve their own state."

He told the world leaders that he grew up as a farmer and not a soldier, and that it caused him great pain to surrender part of Israel because the land "is dear to us."

"I see it as my mission in the coming years to bring the struggle between us and the Palestinians to an end," Sharon said.

Sharon asserted that Israel would continue to defend itself against terror, explaining in that regard that the separation fence would continue to be built. "The fence is a lifesaver," he said.

The Prime Minister expressed hope that the United Nations would in the future begin to be more fair in its treatment of Israel. "The Jewish people has a long memory - we remember both positive decisions and negative ones made in this building," Sharon said.

Sharon also alluded to the Iranian nuclear threat, saying "there are those in this room who still seek to wipe Israel off the map."

Sharon emphasized that Israel has no responsibility for the Gaza region now, and that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is responsible for events that take place there. "I call upon the Palestinian leadership to conduct a determined struggle against terrorism," Sharon said. "Together we will look toward a new horizon."

Political commentators hailed the speech as signifying Sharon's choice to appeal to the left-wing in Israel by speaking of readiness for further concessions. Had he wanted to appeal to the Likud Central Committee they opined, he would have promised to preserve blocs of Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

"Ariel Sharon told the United Nations that the Land of Israel is dear to him - but apparantly not as dear as keeping his family members out of prison," said MK Tzvi Hendel (National Union), evicted from his home in Ganei Tal as part of the Gaza withdrawal. "The entire Gaza withdrawal was aimed at having the criminal files of Sharon and his sons closed."

"Sharon has revealed himself to be a complete leftist, and he is not embarrassed of it," MK Rabbi Benny Elon (National Union) said in response to the speech. "He intends to create an independent Arab state in Judea and Samaria, with Jerusalem as its capital."