Israel Prepared to Compromise for Peace, Prime Minister Tells ADL Leaders
Jerusalem, December 21, 2004 … Israel is prepared to make "painful compromises for peace" with the Palestinians, but will not take any measures that would jeopardize national security or the safety of its citizens, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) visiting Israel this week.
In a meeting today in Jerusalem, the Israeli Prime Minister thanked ADL for taking the lead in support for the disengagement plan and for continuing to raise awareness about anti-Semitism and urging governments around the world to take action against anti-Jewish incidents. Mr. Sharon said he wished the Jewish people would no longer have to continue that struggle, but is afraid that anti-Semitism will remain an issue for a long time to come.
On the Israeli-Palestinian situation, Mr. Sharon expressed optimism that the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has "opened a window of opportunity" for renewed contacts between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Much depends on the election of a moderate Palestinian leader who is willing to renounce terror and take risks to make peace, he said.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, assured Mr. Sharon that ADL would stand behind Israel's plan to move ahead with Gaza disengagement and would encourage European nations and the United States to support those efforts as well.
"We will be supportive of Israel's efforts, and we hope that the Europeans understand that one cannot substitute wishful thinking for reality," Mr. Foxman said in remarks to the Prime Minister. "Unless the Palestinian Authority begins to act on security and accept the reality of living with Israel in peace, we will not see an end of the conflict anytime soon."
Israel is the final stop on a three-country leadership mission that began in Turkey and was highlighted by the Rome conference, "Anti-Semitism – A Threat to Democracy" and a meeting with Pope John Paul II.
In other meetings today, Mr. Foxman met with Yonathan Bassi, head of the Disengagement Administration, Moshe Yaalon, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, and Tzipi Livni, who currently holds three ministerial portfolios: Justice, Housing and Immigration.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.