TEXT OF LETTER FROM ARIK
TO SECRETARY OF STATE ALBRIGHT
Her Excellency Mrs. Madelaine Allbright
Secretary of State
The State Dept.
Monday October 2, 20000
Dear Secretarv Allbright:
I deeply regret, and I find it totally unacceptable that your spokesman was quick to make a false statement that my visit to The Temple Mount "may have caused tension," insinuating that it ignited the riots and disturbances in Jerusalem that spread to Judea, Samaria and Gaza and later, to Israel itself.
I find it most regrettable and disturbing that your spokesman has been swayed by slanderous propaganda on the part of the Palestinian leaders and media, intended to put pressure on Israel and the US to make additional concessions in the negotiations, under threat of violence if their demands are not met.
I have expressed my concern and regret at the widespread violence and the senseless loss of lives and injuries on both sides. But it must be clearly understood that it wasn't my visit to The Temple Mount the holiest site for Jews and under full Israeli sovereignty - that ignited the current outbreak of violence.
Israel's Security Establishment has publicly presented its conclusions that the violent riots and armed confrontations, are part of a premeditated and organized campaign initiated by the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). This campaign began over ten days ago in the Netzarim area in Gaza, starting with stone throwing and escalating to the use of firearms and explosives against Israeli soldiers and civilians travelling there.
These riots have spread out through the deliberate incitement (prior to the visit) by the 'Tanzim' (the armed militia of Chairman Arafat's Fatah organization). Last Friday Arafat instructed the 'Tanzim' to escalate the riots. Moreover, Palestinian Security Chiefs have been directly involved in inciting the violence and in ordering Palestinian Police to open fire on Israeli soldiers, Police and civilians.
Arab Members of the Knesset (MKs) have contributed to and joined this violent campaign by repeated incitement calling Arab Israelis as well as Palestinians to resort to violence prior, during and after my visit to The Temple Mount.
This is not the first time I'm visiting The Temple Mount. The Inspector General of the Police has explained that the large Forces which the Police deployed to safeguard the visit, were required due to Palestinian threats prior to the visit to resort to large scale violence in order to take control of the Western Wall area below The Temple Mount.
I wish to emphasize, Mrs. Secretary, that Prime Minister Barak has already stated very clearly that every Israeli citizen, be it Arab or Jew, has a right to visit any place which is under Israeli sovereignty.
The united city of Jerusalem, which you are all very familiar with, as well as The Temple Mount, are under full Israeli sovereignty. Neither I, nor any Israeli citizen, need to seek permission from the PA or from any foreign entity to visit there or any other site which is sovereign territory of the State of Israel.
As for myself, I wish to assure you that despite the recent violent events I remain fully committed to achieving peace with all our Arab neighbors including the Palestinians.
I believe we can reach peace, but it must be durable and real peace based first and foremost on complete negation of violence. Furthermore, it requires Arab Palestinian recognition and acceptance of the historical inherent rights that Jews have on their land in their undivided Capital Jerusalem and particularly sovereign rights and free access to our most sacred site on The Temple Mount. This right is granted and has only been safeguarded to every Israeli citizen as well as visitors, regardless of race, creed or religion since Israel united the city in 1967.
Ariel Sharon, Chairman
38 King George St. Tel Aviv 63298 ISRAEL
Tel. 972-3-5252925 Fax 972-3-5252932