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Sharon Adviser Addresses Military Action in Palestinian Territory

Aired August 10, 2001 - 13:52   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHEN: I interrupt that report from CNN's Jerrold Kessel to bring you up to Washington. Right outside the State Department is Dan Ayalon. He is an Israeli delegation policy adviser to the prime minister. Ariel Sharon has just spoken at the State Department with the deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage about the current situation in Jerusalem.

Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DAN AYALON, ISRAELI FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: ... those who are actively engaged in terrorist bombs like the ones we had yesterday. And since they're not doing anything -- not arrests, no preventions, then we have to take measures of self-defense, what we call spoiling raids. Only -- we do it only when we know that there are actions planned and carried away. Thank you.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) as you know, the Bush (OFF-MIKE) the State Department's position today following your raids on both Orient House and then in the territories themselves, that they have said that you are undercutting the political process and that this wasn't a move taken to enhance Israeli security. What's your response?

AYALON: Well, we appreciate very much both the administration's engagement -- active engagement and policies in the Middle East.

I think what we're doing is really trying to contain the situation. And the fact that we took political steps and not the military ones, I think it's just for that reason: to de-escalate. You know, we have -- we buried, in Israel today, 15 people, children and women. There was no funeral on the Palestinian side.

And we're trying to minimize any casualties on the other side. What we have done is really trying to deny any political gains out of terror. I think that the Palestinian terrorists have zeroed in Jerusalem for quite some time now. And I think that no political gains should be made out of terror.

And here again, I think our response was very moderate, given the enormous tragedy. And what we have done both in the Orient House and Abu Dis is really working by the book. What we have done is set the record straight. The encroachment of the Palestinians in both these places, against all the agreements -- they were not supposed to be there in the first place.

So what we're doing, really, is on very -- on legal grounds and otherwise as well.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) State Department officials respond to that explanation (OFF-MIKE) Did they think that that was reasonable?

AYALON: Well, again, I think we had a very good and thorough exchange. I think all the personalities I have discussed, you know, knew the very details of the situation. And I think our position is quite understood.

QUESTION: Can you tell us that (OFF-MIKE) anybody at the State Department suggest that you should withdraw from the Orient House?

AYALON: No, the issue, I think, was not discussed in, you know, in too much details. Again, we have explained what we did. And it was a very moderate response. Again, we tried not to escalate.

If there is any phenomenon, I think now, is that there is a clear strategy, a terrorist strategy by the Palestinians who are trying to escalate and maybe deteriorate the situation. We are committed; Israel is committed to peace. We're are committed to the Mitchell Plan. And we are also committed for not deteriorating and not escalating. And in that spirit, I think we acted, and we want to make sure that the situation is contained.

CHEN: All right, you've been listening to Dan Ayalon. He's from the Israeli delegation representing Mr. Sharon meeting in Washington this afternoon. You see him outside the State Department. Just met with Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage. Earlier met with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, emphasizing the importance of the current situation in Israel in both administrations' view.

And for this figure from the Sharon administration speaking -- he said that he had a thorough discussion of the subject with the people that he's met with in the Bush administration and has emphasized, at least from the Israeli point of view, that they believed they had made a moderate response to the attack yesterday in Jerusalem, one which has resulted in a great deal of bloodshed and concern about a new escalation.

But again, this figure from the Israeli government emphasizing that, in their view they made an attempt to de-escalate the situation, to not allow any political gains from terrorism and, in what he described, as a moderate response from the Israeli government. Dan Ayalon outside the U.S State Department today.

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