JERUSALEM, Feb. 21 (JTA) — Following is the text of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon´s televised address, as transcribed by Federal News Service, in which he announced Thursday that Israel would create buffer zones to defend Israelis from Palestinian terrorists: Good evening, citizens of Israel. I wish, from this, the first point, to send my condolences to the bereaved families of all those who were killed in terrorist attacks and to wish a speedy recovery to all those wounded. We are facing a tough campaign which has been forced upon us and a cruel terrorist attack. These are very difficult days, and I wish to thank the IDF, the Israel police and the border police, the security forces, the Mossad for their firm stance in this campaign. These are difficult days, for parts of the public, and we hear grating voices from some parts of the public in these days when we need to calm and have to preserve coolness in times of war and peace. We must not act hastily. Everything in good time, neither too late nor too early. That is the only way we can be victorious in war, and that is the only way to achieve a stable peace. We are a people that has accumulated a great deal of experience in dealing with troubles. We have a tremendous reserve of ability and of talent to get out of these difficulties. And if there´s anything that worries me, it is not our ability to cope and to solve problems, but, rather, the difference between our actual abilities and the doubts, the unfounded doubts which we, ourselves, cast upon our own abilities. Let us consider for a moment in the past year and a half of the struggle that has been forced upon us, we have stood firmly in a most highly respectable way. New immigrants and veterans have every day displayed heroism and presence of mind, readiness to help others, and of volunteering. These are indications of a healthy society, a vital society, an energetic society. It is a society whose sons and daughters are no less wonderful than the generations that founded the state, and those that coped with the crisis of 1967, with the Yom Kippur War in 1973. The state of Israel is not collapsing; it will not collapse. It´s all up to us. The development of affairs is entirely dependent upon us, upon our behavior, upon our bravery, about the way we treat each other, about the way we put aside the conflicts between us and personal ambition, the way we know how to stand firmly together facing dangers. We are proud of our democracy, and we strive for peace with our neighbors, even at the price of painful concessions. All we seek is to preserve our freedom and our way of life. We are an open society. We insist that it remain an open society, in spite of the tremendous threats and dangers that have faced this state from the day it was founded. We wish to live in calmness and to see to the prosperity of our state, to the education of our children, for equal opportunity, to look after our old people. We want to study, to work, to trade and to develop, and to have our celebrations. Unfortunately, our neighbors have misunderstood our striving for peace and our way of life. They have interpreted it incorrectly, and also they have misinterpreted our internal debates, which are the very essence of a democracy and which are actually one of the sources of our strength. They do not understand that. They have misunderstood this situation. They think that there are cracks in our people. And of course they are encouraged to think that from the expressions of people calling for refusal to serve in the territories, but they are wrong. This people is stronger and more united than they could possibly imagine. The Merkava tank, which was developed by General Tal — that victorious tank, one of the best in the world, the idea of one of the best armies in the world — and the same could be said of our air force and our navy; they´re among the best in the world. We shall continue to fight terror. We shall continue to fight the terrorists with all our strength and intensify our activity. We shall not rest until the terrorist framework has been dismantled and until terrorism stops and the terrorist organizations are destroyed. At the same time, we shall do whatever we can, whatever could possibly bring about a cease-fire, a cease-fire that will lead to a settlement and to an agreement and to peace. I wish to stress that our security forces have no limitations imposed by the political echelon to take whatever steps are necessary to fight terror. Israel´s security needs are what determines what is going to happen. I reject the incorrect reports that Israel refrains from acting because of international pressures. The United States, which is at the head of the international struggle against terrorism, knows and understands us and our need to protect our citizens. In my efforts to bring to an end the terrorism and to bring about a cease-fire, I shall do everything possible to continue to meet with Palestinian personalities, to take the necessary security measures according to the decisions of the Cabinet. I shall continue my efforts and, so far as it´s up to us, to prevent any escalation and to prevent a slide into overall total war. In order to increase the security of Israeli subjects, we have decided to set up buffer zones in order to achieve security separation. At a discussion held at the Security Cabinet a few days ago, we decided to establish buffer zones and to set up obstacles along those border zones. We all want peace. We all are committed to peace. It is my aim to achieve peace, a total peace between ourselves and the Palestinians that will make it possible to live a calm and secure life, for us and for them. This arrangement will be based on two stages. First, a truce situation with non-belligerency. Full demilitarization of the Palestinian area is an essential condition. The second phase will be the permanent settlement in which the final borders will be drawn up between ourselves and the Palestinians. That will be the result of the relationships that will develop in the future between the two parties. But we have to bear in mind there are no miracle solutions and no one should be misled by miracle solutions proposed by various commentators. A permanent solution can only be achieved after a proper cease-fire. This is what happened in our agreement with Egypt. Prior to the peace treaty, there was a total cease-fire. There were interim agreements; I stress interim agreements. I said in the past, and I say it again today, for the sake of true peace, there must be painful concessions, but there will be no concessions with regard to the security of Israel and its citizens. First, terror must stop. There must be calm, and only then will we talk about peace. I would like from here today to appeal to the Palestinian people and tell them what I said in the past. I know that it is not easy to be a Palestinian. The Palestinians who do not want war and who are not engaged in terror — and there are such; the Palestinians whose only aim is to bring home — to win a livelihood and to see to the education of their children, you look at us Israelis and what you see is that Israel is a country of many achievements. In the last 53 years, Israel has developed a prosperous industry, one of the most advanced agricultures in the world, a high-tech industry which will prosper again when the high tech recovers in the world. We have modern cities with hundreds of thousands of residents, and a health and education system which are the envy of many countries. We have achieved all this in the past 53 years. What I suggest to you today is that you think very carefully about what you hope to achieve, you and your children, in the next few years. Is it your aim to continue to follow those who lead you to destruction and despair, who mislead you? Do you intend to go on sending your children to commit suicide as bombers? Or do you intend to follow those who suggest prosperity and advancement? I suggest to all, Jews and Arabs like, that there must be calm. Stop educating towards hatred. What we all see here today is prosperity and advancement. And I know that in the end, with God´s help, this is what will happen. Citizens of Israel, just as I am convinced that we will overcome terror, it will take time, and we need patience and determination. Thus, I also believe that we will overcome the economic crisis. After all, after a very difficult path, we at last confirmed the state budget, and we have started along the way, and I will speak about that soon. I know it isn´t easy today to say be patient. I said in the past that even self-restraint is strength, and I say that determination is also strength, and we have proved that in the past. It´s difficult for us, it´s difficult for me. But I appeal to you to behave in that way today as well. The economic situation and the security situation are far from easy. But together, only united, will we be able to overcome them both. I know that the terror war which was imposed upon us (17 ?) months ago bring forward tough questions. I hear the questions that are put forward every day: What is going to be? What should we do? I want to tell you, to tell each and every one of you, we shall overcome. We shall win, not only because we are right, but also because there is no alternative. Let me from this podium also turn to all those who talk about despair, about loss of hope. This is not the time for such words of despair. This is the time to stand united and look to the future. Let us help wherever it is possible. Let us demonstrate our togetherness, our unity of ourselves and the Jewish people. This is the time to show that we are proud to be Jews in Israel. Yes, proud to be Israelis and Jews in Israel. Citizens of Israel, our striving for peace will remain firm forever. But we will continue to fight anyone who tries to destroy our people. There can be no compromise. As in the past, we shall stand united together facing the common aim. And once we achieve a cease-fire that restores calm, we shall begin and be able to start talking peace. Thank you very much. The first — perhaps there are no questions? STAFF: (The rules state ?) that there will be an unlimited number of questions. Q: You have called today not to lose hope, not to talk of collapse. Perhaps you could tell us, tell the Israeli public where do you see hope? And how long do you think it will take — What are we — are we talking about weeks? Are we talking months? — until this confrontation will end, until the terrorism ends and we can achieve a cease-fire? Where, can you tell us, is there a sign of hope? We want to hear where is a sign of hope? You said following the arrest of those who killed Ze´evi, will you now permit Yasser Arafat to leave Ramallah? PRIME MIN. SHARON: The hope can be found in what we are actually doing, building, constructing, developing. In spite of our tough fight and resistance to the terror which has gone on for decades today — it´s gone on for 120 years. In spite of all that, we succeeded in bringing here millions of Jews. We´ve set up a wonderful infrastructure of the society — set up industry, research institutes, agriculture, wonderful medical institutions. We´ve set up cities of hundreds of thousands of residents. This is a country which absorbs immigration. It is a country of many talents. If we are — today have 5 million Jews; I believe that within the next 10 to (13 ?) years, we should bring another million Jews. And we shall continue to develop and to prosper, and we shall achieve — achieve security. That is my hope. We want to achieve peace, and we shall achieve peace. You have to look back and see what we have achieved till today in order to believe. Therein lies the hope. As to your second question, we are checking out the reports. We have heard various declarations in the — of this nature in the past. As you know, we demanded the arrest not only of the three terrorists but others to — connected with that attack, but also those who acted together with the chairman of the PA in bringing Iranian weapons to the PA. Whoever is responsible for that also must be arrested. That is another thing that we demanded. We are checking out what is happening. I would like to stress that, as always, we shall abide by all our commitments. Q: You said that the narrow cabinet confirmed the buffer zones. Are we talking about the beginning of a security separation from the Palestinians? Is Israel going to move in towards a security separation? PRIME MIN. SHARON: I spoke about buffer zones. This is the program of the government, as presented to the government and confirmed by the government. We are talking of buffer zones which would create a security separation. To the best of my knowledge, that too is the intention of the head of the General Security Services. Q: Could you tell us more details about which areas and how it will influence the lives of the citizens? Will it — what will happen to the Jewish settlers who will remain on the other side? PRIME MIN. SHARON: I think I have mentioned here the buffer zones. I explained that the buffer zones will lead to a security separation and will contribute to the security of all Israeli citizens. Q: Details about the size of the buffer zones? PRIME MIN. SHARON: I spoke of these buffer zones, which will have to give — the purpose of them is to give us a security separation to improve security situation of citizens of Israel, wherever they may be. Q: This is another question about the arrest of the murderers of Rehavim Ze´evi. Does Israel demand that they be handed over to — extradited to Israel? And could you also tell us more about the meeting between yourself and Mubarak, and the request to allow Arafat to leave Ramallah? PRIME MIN. SHARON: As to your first question, it was first decided by the Cabinet, which demanded the extradition of the murderers of Rehavim Ze´evi. We put forward this demand. But first of all, we asked for them to be arrested. After the Cabinet made its decision on this point, it will go back to the Cabinet and it will decide about extradition demand. Today I had a conversation — I would say it was a good conversation, a friendly conversation, and a very important one — with President Mubarak, following a letter which I received from the president a few days ago. We discussed in our conversation the question of regional stability as a condition for reaching peace, achieving peace in the area, which is something that we desperately want and Egypt is very keen to achieve. The conversation was on many different subjects, but of course I cannot go into detail. But I do attach great importance to this conversation. The contacts will continue. We decided that in this morning´s conversation. Q : (Off mike.) PRIME MIN. SHARON: I´d like to say I´m not in the habit of reporting what was said in private conversations. There was no plan that was presented to me. I think that there may be some plan presented in future meetings or conversations. Perhaps President Mubarak may want to present his position, and I will present my position. We, of course, are all interested in achieving calm, in achieving the end of the terror, and achieving stability in the region. Q: (Through interpreter) Mr. Prime Minister, will you continue your policy, in spite of the reactions from within your party and other parties? PRIME MIN. SHARON: It is difficult for me to follow after everything that is said or everything that you publish as though it was stated. Generally speaking, when I have a criticism or I want to express my opinion, I do not hide behind any other person; I state it out loud. The government has a policy, and as I said, it has a plan. Of course this plan, any plan, will have to be confirmed by the government. And as was said not long ago, I´m about to hold a strategic discussion in the government — it will probably begin first in the cabinet and then be continued in the government — regarding our position on the major issues that face us. I do not here want to relate to what — various comments that people make. I think that what is important for all of us today, in light of the situation in which we find ourselves — we find ourselves in an extremely complex and complicated situation — I think the right thing to do today, and everybody should bear this in mind, is to stand together, to act together to preserve our unity, and to give our responses together, united, to the situation in which we find ourselves. And I am convinced that with God´s help, if that is how we behave, we will succeed. INTERPRETER: Now going over to the questions in English. Q: (Off mike) — Radio. My colleagues and I are in your country, most of us for the first time, visiting. Every day that we´ve been here, there have been reports of more violence, escalating every day. And we all wonder how much longer the state of Israel — what does it need before it takes more decisive action against Mr. Arafat and the terrorism that he supports? PRIME MIN. SHARON: (In English.) Well, first, we´re taking decisive actions. And if you have been here several days — when did you arrive? Q: Sunday. PRIME MIN. SHARON: (In English.) Sunday. So you have been here several days. And I believe that you had a possibility to watch all the steps that are taken by us. That is the first thing. The second thing, your question, how long Israel will be able to hold or — Israel will be able to hold forever. You have to understand that. We have been facing Arab — that later turned to be Palestinian — terror for over 120 years. My grandfather was already facing Arab terror. I know families here that have been facing terror, Arab, Palestinian terror for five, six generations. And with all those things, by — while holding the sword in one hand, we managed to build here tremendous things. We brought over here millions of Jews from 102 countries, speaking 82 languages, and all, with all the difficulties, were integrated into and became one nation. We built here tremendous infrastructure. We built here towns and cities, and the most beautiful and sophisticated industry, the most interesting farming, systems of health and education. We have a wonderful music here, and maybe the best in the world — of the best in the world centers of research and science. And therefore, I think that we can look forward with optimism. Of course we´ll make every effort to reach peace. We would like to have peace. We are not going to negotiate under terror. One cannot negotiate peace under terror. First of all, it should be quiet, and we will bring it to such a situation that it will be quiet. At the same time, we have to make every effort, and I´m going to make every effort, to try and talk to those Palestinians.
Text of Sharon´s televised address