GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - http://www.gush-shalom.org/

Press release
February 21 2002.

Sharon calls for unity while inciting against  part of the population.
A speech of a bankrupt Prime Minister characterized by hypocrisy, hollow
promises and insinuations.

Here was standing a Prime Minister whose policy has reached bankruptcy
in  all spheres - he brought neither peace, nor security, the economy is
sliding into deep depression and the people are in a moral crisis. He exploited
the media for a speech without content other than incitement, lies and
hollow phrases. Sharon appealed for "National Unity" i.e. a closing of ranks
behind a policy of war crimes, a policy  bent upon ever more destruction and
killing.
At the same time Sharon himself chose to spew on camera words of
incitement against the best sons of the nation, the soldiers and
officers who follow the dictates of their conscience and refuse to take any further
part in the crimes of the occupation.

What he offers the Palestinians are "Buffer Zones" (in other words:
unilateral  annexation of big slices of the Occupied Territories). Palestinians know
full well what it means: more land confiscation, more house demolitions, more
uprooting of trees, more killings. In the past two days alone 30 Palestinians were
killed in the ever escalating cycle of revenge upon revenge, during increasingly
indiscrimiunate bombings and invasions of the self-governing Palestinian
areas.

To citizens of Israel Sharon's buffer zones remind of the disastrous
"security  zone" which he created in South Lebanon, and which entailed a
decades-long futile guerilla war in which more than a thousand Israeli soldiers were
among the victims.

Ariel Sharon has no intention whatsoever of giving up the occupation and
the settlements. Therefore, his government has no option but to go on
escalating the situation towards an invasion of all the Palestinian areas and
eventually an all-out regional war. It would be foolhardy to place any reliance upon
his pious  assurances of the opposite.

Israel's only hope lies in the "discordant voices" which the Prime
Minister so sharply denounced - the voices of protest and dissent which are
increasingly heard in the Israeli society, especially among the young, and which will
eventually bring the Sharon government down.

For comment: Adam Keller, spokesperson:
+972-(0)3-5565804 / +972-(0)56-709603 / +972-(0)56-709604