Excerpts from Speech by
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
to the Likud Congress

Jerusalem, October 23, 2002

(…)

The national responsibility is a heavy one. No one can disdain it. It obligates us to make difficult and weighty decisions, decisions of life and death – to act considerably, cautiously, and responsibly. (…)

We live in hard times. We are facing a difficult trial – a trial of determination and willpower. Just this week, terror struck another blow – a painful, difficult blow.

Terror is trying to strike us at all times – even in times of seeming quiet. Therefore, every time there are cries in support of an agreement, a wish to ease restrictions, an attempt to find a way to break the cycle of violence – at the same time that we are trying to formulate a new solution, a new plan, an outline for advancement – the murderous terrorist gangs, and their leader, quickly illustrate that they have no desire for a solution, and that there is no compromising with them. They do not want peace!

With blood and fire they try to break us. Our desire for peace is interpreted as weakness. The voices in our midst that appeal to them are construed as a willingness to surrender. Every fissure in our unity is a breach that invites a terrorist, a murderer, a bomber.

It is easy, at this time, to give in to division and contention. There will always be those who try to secure cheap political gains by throwing fuel on the fire of dissentions. But we must not forget that the enemy does not differentiate between Jews, between right or left, secular or religious, immigrants or native-born Israelis.

Therefore, the decree of the hour is to stand united and consolidated, and together – only together – to protect our lives, the lives of all citizens of the State of Israel. I call on all of

us, members of the Likud and members of other political parties, I call to all the citizens of the State of Israel: Do not allow those who are murders in this dispute to do this. We will stand together because we wish to survive.

There is one more thing everyone should know: there will be no compromise with terror. The IDF and the security forces will continue to be everywhere there are terrorists, those that help them, or give them protection, in order to arrest them, thwart their plans, and provide protection. We will uproot this regime of murder and blood, a regime which has imposed itself on the Palestinian people, and will lead them to another disaster, one greater than any they have ever known. And I tell them from here: Our people will not be deterred and will not give up. There will be no compromise with terror. We will not accept it. We will struggle, we will strike at it until it is destroyed, we will triumph, and we will achieve peace! Peace will come. Eventually, it will come!

The Palestinians know, and the world knows that we want peace. Everyone knows that, for the sake of peace, Israel is willing to make painful compromises. I tell you that we cannot realize all our dreams. (…)

But we are willing to do so only in return for a genuine and complete peace – a peace which will enable the people of Israel to live in their land with full security, freedom from murderous threats, in a Jewish and democratic country, whose capital is the eternally united and undivided Jerusalem.

I said these things to President George Bush during my recent visit to Washington. The United States believes in the economic power and the strength of the security of the State of Israel. The United States accepts and understands our need to protect ourselves against any enemy. The United States knows and believes in the honesty of our intentions to achieve peace.

The leader of the free world is a true friend of Israel and its citizens. We share complete trust and full cooperation on the means and steps we must take in order to overcome the threats we face, and reach stability, calm, and peace.

I have also said these things to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, who understands and supports Israel’s struggle against terror.

This is something that is in our power and in our grasp. With patience, determination, and faith in the justice of our cause, we will maintain our unity, overcome all the threats, and achieve peace. (…)

For the unity of Israel,
For a just society and a dignified livelihood for everyone,
For security and peace for ourselves and our children,
For the great future that awaits all of us together.