New York Times: The Rift: U.S. Strongly Rebukes Sharon for Criticism of Bush, Calling It 'Unacceptable' (October 6, 2001) Soon After Rebuking U.S., Israel Moves Into 2 Arab Neighborhoods (October 6, 2001) Sharon Invokes Munich in Warning U.S. on 'Appeasement' (October 5, 2001)
October 6, 2001 NEWS ANALYSIS Raising Munich, Sharon Reveals Israeli Qualms By SERGE SCHMEMANN UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 5 Israeli officials have been quick to try to contain the damage done by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's outburst on Thursday against the United States, in which he invoked the appeasement of Hitler in 1938 to warn Washington against making deals with Arab states at Israel's expense. But exaggerated or not, the statement exposed a frustration many Israelis feel with the Bush administration's antiterror campaign, and a serious political problem that this campaign poses for Mr. Sharon. Though any declaration of war on Islamic and Arab terrorism should delight Israelis and did when it was first declared the virtually exclusive focus on Osama bin Laden and his network, Al Qaeda, and the expansive American courtship of most Arab countries, has left Israel feeling isolated and uneasy. The logic is simple.
This is a war in which Arab allies are vital to Washington. Their price imposed in part by the need of the Arab governments to justify working with the United States to their own publics is a visible American effort on behalf of the Palestinians. That means American pressure on Israel for more concessions, and an American readiness to overlook the organizations and states that Israel would like to see crushed as terrorists and supporters of terrorists: Hamas, Hezbollah, the various armies of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Syria, Iran. It is an irony Israel has tasted before. President Bush's father took similar steps to shape an alliance against President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and then, too, Israel was asked basically to stay out of the way. So Israelis, then under Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, put on gas masks, taped up their windows and endured a hail of Iraqi Scud missiles without striking back. At the core of the difficulties is the simple fact that the national interests of the United States and Israel have never perfectly aligned.
Although the United States has long been Israel's best friend in the world , the geopolitical interests of a global superpower are inevitably different from those of a small nation surrounded by hostile countries. Whether because of the exigencies of the cold war, or huge Arabian oil reserves or the need to form alliances against other foes, the United States has frequently taken steps that Israel perceives as threatening, like supplying Awacs surveillance aircraft to Saudi Arabia. The United States, moreover, has long understood that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also poses a major problem for American relations with moderate Arab states, which consider Washington too friendly to Israel and too timid to put real pressure on the Israelis. Israel, for its part, has often chafed at what it sees as American pressure to take steps that might undermine Israeli security. More broadly, Israelis have always been tacitly aware that, however great American aid and support, Israel always had to be prepared to defend itself with its own means. Israel is widely known to have developed a nuclear weapon, although it has been ambiguous about it.
These tensions, however, have always been a given in American-Israeli relations, and they have never led to anything approaching a real breach. Mr. Sharon's reference to Munich went beyond what any of his predecessors have allowed themselves to say in public, and, in Israeli eyes, beyond what the current frustration warranted. "Mentioning Munich was a gross exaggeration, a mistake, and even Israeli public opinion cannot buy that argument and saw it as hysterical," said Nahum Barnea, a columnist for the newspaper Yedioth Ahronot. What Mr. Sharon's comment confirmed is that he is not the sort of man to retreat when a fight is shaping. A hawkish general who led tanks into Egypt in 1973 and, as defense minister, directed the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, he would be unlikely to hunker down if an American attack against Al Qaeda prompted someone to drop a missile on Israel. Mr. Sharon has also never concealed his view of Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, as a terrorist, and has often invoked Hitler when discussing him.
"I don't know anyone who has so much civilian Jewish blood on his hands since Hitler," was a typical comment before he became prime minister. Almost from the time the United States began building a coalition against Al Qaeda, Mr. Sharon has warned that it should not be at Israel's expense. According to Israelis who have observed Mr. Sharon since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the prime minister has felt frustrated some said betrayed by Washington. After Israel immediately and unconditionally shared its extensive intelligence on Islamic terror groups with the United States, they said, Mr. Sharon felt that instead of showing gratitude, Washington went to the Arabs. On the same day Mr. Sharon made his controversial comments, for example, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld was munching dates with Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman in his desert tent.
The frustration, however, might not have been enough to draw so provocative a comment. Not surprisingly for Israel, there were also critical political factors at play here. First among them is that Mr. Sharon is sitting on a very fragile coalition of left and right. He is keenly aware that both his predecessors, Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu, fell from power because they could not keep their coalitions together, and he is determined not to follow suit. But that requires a keen balancing act, for example, excoriating Mr. Arafat at every turn while letting the dovish foreign minister, Shimon Peres, meet with him.
So if Washington now puts further pressure on Mr. Sharon to start dealing, it would also put serious pressures on his government the left would leave if he refused, the right if he complied. The situation is all the more difficult for Mr. Sharon because Mr. Netanyahu is pressuring him and could force a leadership battle in the party. For a veteran survivor like Mr. Sharon, a tough battle requires tough words.
October 6, 2001 THE RIFT U.S. Strongly Rebukes Sharon for Criticism of Bush, Calling It 'Unacceptable' By JANE PERLEZ and KATHARINE Q. SEELYE WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 The White House reprimanded the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today for what it called his "unacceptable" remarks about President Bush, as the administration frantically tried to discourage Mr. Sharon from carrying out threats to take further military action against the Palestinians. The use of the word "unacceptable" constituted unusually strong language for relations between the United States and Israel, a measure of the strains placed by the Bush administration's scrambling to draw Arab countries into a coalition against terrorism.
On Thursday, Mr. Sharon stunned and surprised the Bush administration when he called on the United States not to "repeat the terrible mistake of 1938, when enlightened European democracies decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia so as to reach a convenient temporary solution." He warned Mr. Bush not to "appease the Arabs at our expense; we cannot accept it." Stung by the implicit comparison of President Bush to the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, and his appeasement of the Nazis, the White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, said that Mr. Bush had instructed Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to call Mr. Sharon Thursday night to convey the president's disapproval.
The Associated Press Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was rebuked for saying that President Bush might "appease" the Arabs. News Analysis: Raising Munich, Sharon Reveals Israeli Qualms (October 6, 2001) Soon After Rebuking U.S., Israel Moves Into 2 Arab Neighborhoods (October 6, 2001) Sharon Invokes Munich in Warning U.S. on 'Appeasement' (October 5, 2001) "The Prime Minister's comments are unacceptable," Mr. Fleischer said. "Israel can have no better or stronger friend than the United States and better friend than President Bush.
President Bush is an especially close ally of Israel." As an indication of how strongly the President felt about Mr. Sharon's remarks, Mr. Fleischer said that Mr. Bush's rebuke was sent through three channels: via the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv, the National Security Council and General Powell. The administration was given no warning of Mr. Sharon's statement, leaving senior officials angered, even shocked, that Mr. Sharon would choose a moment of unusual tension and national grieving in the United States to criticize the president, who had gone out of his way in the first eight months of his administration to favor Israel.
Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, the administration has been placing enormous pressure on Mr. Sharon, urging him over and over to allow his foreign minister, Shimon Peres, to meet with the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, several officials said today. As Mr. Bush and General Powell pressed Mr. Sharon to reach out to Mr. Arafat, they failed, Israeli diplomats said, to give the Israeli leader "a pat on the shoulder" for taking a step he did not want to make. Acknowledging some shortcomings, one senior administration official said of the approach to Mr. Sharon after Sept. 11: "We were straining on too many fronts.
It was a little like President Clinton pressing so hard at Camp David," a reference to the failed talks between Israel and the Palestinians last year. Unlike the period leading up to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Under Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger was dispatched to Israel to confer with the then Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir, this Bush administration has yet to send a top-level official to reassure Mr. Sharon. In a flurry of phone calls from Washington today, the administration urged Mr. Sharon to proclaim the strength of the relationship between the United States and Israel. Concerned about Mr. Sharon's declaration that "from today forward we will only rely on ourselves," they asked Mr. Sharon to use restraint in dealing with the Palestinians.
There was particular worry because the Israeli cabinet had instructed the army to take "all necessary measures" to ensure security, an official said. By this afternoon, the Israeli Embassy here released a statement extolling the friendship between the two countries and "especially" with Mr. Bush. But it is clear that Mr. Sharon has been deeply unhappy. He interpreted the administration's approach as an effort to keep Arab countries in the often-shaky anti-terror coalition. But he saw little advantage for Israel in reaching out to Mr. Arafat. Mr. Sharon was angered that the administration did not place Hezbollah and Hamas, two militant Muslim anti-Israeli organizations, on a list of terrorist organizations whose financial assets would be seized. Both organizations have been involved in attacks against Israelis since Sept. 11, Israeli officials said.
The Israeli Prime Minister also was angered earlier this week when administration officials said they were considering a new diplomatic initiative that would embrace the idea of a Palestinian state. The Israeli leader was described as surprised by the initiative and Mr. Bush's subsequent statement that a Palestinian state had always been "part of a vision." For Mr. Sharon, Mr. Bush's statement looked like a reward to Mr. Arafat. The statements by Mr. Sharon forced American Jewish groups to begin debating in public some of the longstanding questions about their priorities at a time when the United States is seeking alliances with some of Israel's bitterest enemies.
"There has always been a debate in the Jewish community about the role the United States should play in facilitating the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians," said Jonathan Jacoby, a consultant to the Israel Policy Forum. "By and large, American Jews support an honest brokering role by the American government. The debate is whether there should be an active diplomacy in the Israeli-Palestinian arena at this time." Stephen Cohen, a visiting professor at Princeton University, said that Mr. Sharon's comments "crossed the line," but said the prime minister "was expressing the fundamental fear of Jewish expendability." At the same time, the White House received a letter today from more than 50 American Jewish figures expressing their support for the administration.
The letter followed criticism from other Jewish groups of the administration's plans to make alliances with Israel's enemies. The letter seemed to reflect a split among Jewish figures but those earlier critics were more supportive today. Howard Kohr, head of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the leading pro-Israel lobbying organization in Washington, said, "The most significant thing is the decision by both sides that we don't want to go down this path." David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, said that he perceived Mr. Sharon's comments as made under the pressure of the situation.
"Israel understands that this is an extraordinary moment in American history that takes precedence over everything else," he said. "Israel wants to be supportive of the United States, and the United States understands that Israel's challenges haven't been put on hold, the Palestinians have not stopped the violence and the terror in order to accommodate the United States and that means that Israel must defend itself."
October 6, 2001 October 6, 2001 Soon After Rebuking U.S., Israel Moves Into 2 Arab Neighborhoods By JAMES BENNET EBRON, West Bank, Oct. 5 Hours after rebuking the United States for its role in the Middle East and declaring that Israelis would "depend only on ourselves," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began one of the biggest military assaults of the yearlong conflict today, sending troops, tanks and Apache helicopters against Palestinian gunmen here. By late this afternoon, 5 Palestinians had been killed and more than 40 wounded. Blue-and-white Israeli flags were fluttering from new Israeli outposts in Palestinian homes in Harat al Sheik, one of two hilltop neighborhoods in Palestinian-controlled territory that Israel reoccupied to stop snipers from firing on settlers below.
Blood-stained sidewalks, shattered windows and four bullet-riddled Palestinian jeeps testified to the ferocity of the fighting. Machine guns at the ready, two Israeli armored personnel carriers and one tank dominated a patch of high ground in Harat al Sheik, beneath a Palestinian building newly hung with camouflage netting, its windows filled in with sandbags. The Israeli assault came after the killing of three Israelis by a Palestinian on Thursday. A man wearing the red beret of an Israeli paratrooper and carrying the M-16 that is standard issue for Israeli troops entered the central bus station in Afula, in northern Israel. Moments after two buses pulled into the station, he opened fire on the disembarking passengers. He killed 3 and wounded 13 before being shot dead. Elizabeth Dalziel/The Associated Press Samar Bani Ode, a Palestinian, leaving her children's sandbagged bedroom on Friday for the safety of another room during a battle between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen in her neighborhood in Hebron. __________________
News Analysis: Raising Munich, Sharon Reveals Israeli Qualms (October 6, 2001) The Rift: U.S. Strongly Rebukes Sharon for Criticism of Bush, Calling It 'Unacceptable' (October 6, 2001)
Sharon Invokes Munich in Warning U.S. on 'Appeasement' (October 5, 2001)
Raising Munich, Sharon Reveals Israeli Qualms By SERGE SCHMEMANN UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 5 Israeli officials have been quick to try to contain the damage done by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's outburst on Thursday against the United States, in which he invoked the appeasement of Hitler in 1938 to warn Washington against making deals with Arab states at Israel's expense. But exaggerated or not, the statement exposed a frustration many Israelis feel with the Bush administration's antiterror campaign, and a serious political problem that this campaign poses for Mr. Sharon.
The man was subsequently identified as a Palestinian from the area of the West Bank town of Jenin. Tonight, his wife appeared on Israeli television, together with his young daughter, to declare her pride in his action. "He was sent out on a holy mission," she said. The cease-fire urged on Israel and the Palestinians by the Bush administration has collapsed in all but name here, dealing a setback to the United States. Since the terrorist attacks on America on Sept. 11, the administration has promoted the cease-fire in hopes of coaxing Arab nations into an antiterror coalition. After enthusiastically endorsing the coalition, Mr. Sharon has grown alarmed at the way President Bush has gone about assembling it, people familiar with his thinking say. [Page B3.]
Mr. Sharon was blindsided by Mr. Bush's endorsement this week of the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, and offended, like many Israelis, by the decision to send Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to consult with Arab nations, bypassing Israel. What was once a tight relationship with the Bush administration has so deteriorated that in the last 24 hours, Mr. Sharon and the White House exchanged public slaps. Mr. Sharon warned that Mr. Bush risked acting like Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who appeased Hitler before World War II. The White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, today rejected Mr. Sharon's remarks as "unacceptable."
In a statement released tonight, the prime minister's office did not respond directly to Mr. Fleischer. Instead, the statement reported that in a telephone conversation with Mr. Powell on Thursday night, Mr. Sharon sent to Mr. Bush his "appreciation of the bold and courageous decision of the president to fight terrorism." Israel will cooperate with the effort, the statement continued. It added that it was Israel's duty to "defend its citizens and to prevent any and all forms of terror attacks."
Under the terms of the cease-fire, which officially remains in effect, Israel was to stop all invasions of Palestinian-controlled territory and to begin withdrawing its forces. In exchange, Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, pledged to deliver security for the Israelis. Each side accuses the other of reneging. Citing attacks in recent days on Israeli civilians, Mr. Sharon and his cabinet decided this week to return to using "all necessary measures" to protect Israelis.
The killing of the three Israelis on Thursday involved a novel method. It was the first time a Palestinian had disguised himself as an Israeli soldier, and Mr. Sharon referred to the attack in his remarks on Thursday night. "Do not try to appease the Arabs at our expense," he told Mr. Bush and other Western leaders. "We cannot accept this." After the stern response from the White House today, normally loquacious Sharon advisers were notably quiet. Shimon Peres, the foreign minister and the staunchest advocate of peace talks in the government, noted that "the prime minister writes his own speeches."
Yossi Sarid, the leader of the political opposition, accused Mr. Sharon of recklessly jeopardizing a crucial alliance. The attacks continued today. Hanonia Ben Shalom, an Israeli citizen, was driving his Isuzu near the West Bank when he was shot in the back and killed. The shot was apparently fired from the West Bank, the Israeli Army reported. The leader of Israel's forces in the West Bank, Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Gershon, said the army was compelled to act in Hebron today in part because of a sniper attack two days ago that wounded two Israeli women.
"The operation was forced upon us," he said. In Hebron, an ancient city set amid terraced vineyards, several hundred Israeli settlers live surrounded by more than 100,000 Palestinians. In 1997, parts of the city were handed over to Palestinian control. General Gershon declined to say how long Israeli forces would occupy Harat al Sheik and Abu Sneina, the two neighborhoods that they entered today. This afternoon, in the shade cast by a building, six Palestinian soldiers drank cups of sweet Arabic coffee, a half hour after trading shots with Israeli tanks, whose treads had carved ruts in Hebron's hilly streets. Up the hill, near the new Israeli outposts, Issa Shabani reached into a plastic bag to display the shell casings some, fired from helicopters, as long as and fat as rolls of quarters that his grandchildren had collected.
He gave a tour of the apartments in his building, their walls pocked by bullet holes as wide as half an inch. Later, two Israeli Army jeeps arrived to escort out a news photographer whose vehicle had come under fire from an unknown source. As six soldiers in battle gear leaped out with M-16's leveled, two dozen Palestinians who had been chatting in the street simply vanished, without a word.
Soon After Rebuking U.S., Israel Moves Into 2 Arab Neighborhoods By JAMES BENNET HEBRON, West Bank, Oct. 5 Hours after rebuking the United States for its role in the Middle East and declaring that Israelis would "depend only on ourselves," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began one of the biggest military assaults of the yearlong conflict today, sending troops, tanks and Apache helicopters against Palestinian gunmen here.
By late this afternoon, 5 Palestinians had been killed and more than 40 wounded. Blue-and-white Israeli flags were fluttering from new Israeli outposts in Palestinian homes in Harat al Sheik, one of two hilltop neighborhoods in Palestinian-controlled territory that Israel reoccupied to stop snipers from firing on settlers below. Blood-stained sidewalks, shattered windows and four bullet-riddled Palestinian jeeps testified to the ferocity of the fighting. Machine guns at the ready, two Israeli armored personnel carriers and one tank dominated a patch of high ground in Harat al Sheik, beneath a Palestinian building newly hung with camouflage netting, its windows filled in with sandbags.
The Israeli assault came after the killing of three Israelis by a Palestinian on Thursday. A man wearing the red beret of an Israeli paratrooper and carrying the M-16 that is standard issue for Israeli troops entered the central bus station in Afula, in northern Israel. Moments after two buses pulled into the station, he opened fire on the disembarking passengers. He killed 3 and wounded 13 before being shot dead. Elizabeth Dalziel/The Associated Press Samar Bani Ode, a Palestinian, leaving her children's sandbagged bedroom on Friday for the safety of another room during a battle between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen in her neighborhood in Hebron.
News Analysis: Raising Munich, Sharon Reveals Israeli Qualms (October 6, 2001) The Rift: U.S. Strongly Rebukes Sharon for Criticism of Bush, Calling It 'Unacceptable' (October 6, 2001) Sharon Invokes Munich in Warning U.S. on 'Appeasement' (October 5, 2001) October 5, 2001
Sharon Invokes Munich in Warning U.S. on 'Appeasement' By JAMES BENNET EL AVIV, Oct. 4 Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, warned the United States tonight that it risked appeasing Arab nations the way European democracies appeased Hitler on the eve of World War II. It was an unusually harsh and public rebuke of Israel's most valued ally, and it reflected rising frustration within the Israeli government over the Bush administration's approach to battling terrorism. "Do not try to appease the Arabs at our expense," Mr. Sharon said.
"We cannot accept this." In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Mr. Sharon and other Israelis predicted an even tighter partnership with the United States, and they warmly welcomed President Bush's plans for a global coalition against terrorism. But as Mr. Sharon's remarks tonight indicated, the alliance with the United States has instead been severely strained as President's Bush has tried to build support among Arab nations. Mr. Sharon addressed himself to Western democracies generally, but "first and foremost" to the United States. He alluded to the Munich Pact of 1938, when the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia was ceded to Germany.
"Don't repeat the terrible mistakes of 1938, when the enlightened democracies in Europe decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for a comfortable, temporary solution," he said. Israel, he said, "will not be Czechoslovakia." Mr. Sharon's comments came after a Russian airliner carrying 76 people from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk in central Siberia exploded over the Black Sea. But they appear to have been prompted more by what he described as "a severe Palestinian terror attack" this afternoon on a bus station in northern Israel. "I would like to thank the bus security guards who prevented a disaster that might have been a much worse one,"
Mr. Sharon said. "All of our efforts to reach a cease-fire were sabotaged by the Palestinians, and the fire never stopped, not even for one single day." Palestinian officials contend that it is the Israelis who have not upheld the cease-fire by withdrawing too slowly or not at all from positions occupied after the current conflict started. Under intense pressure from the Bush administration, the Sharon government agreed a week ago to resume high-level truce talks with the Palestinian Authority. Since the truce talks began, the violence has not abated. Now that the talks are under way, the predicament facing Mr. Sharon is that if he pronounces the cease-fire dead and blocks further talks he will risk the appearance of undermining Mr. Bush's war on terrorism.
After Shimon Peres, the Israeli foreign minister, and Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, agreed on a renewed push for peace last Wednesday, several days of clashes observing the one-year anniversary of this conflict took the lives of at least 19 Palestinians. Then, on Tuesday, two gunmen from Hamas raided an Israeli settlement in the northern Gaza Strip, killing 2 and wounding 15. The Israeli Army responded by shelling a nearby Palestinian town, killing 6. Mr. Sharon's cabinet, with Mr. Peres's backing, has now authorized the military to "take all necessary measures" to defend Israeli citizens. "We can only depend on ourselves," Mr. Sharon said tonight. .