Ariel Sharon

Prime Minister of Israel from 2001 to 2006

Ariel Sharon (26 February 1928 - 11 January 2014) was a major-general in the Israeli army, Israeli politician and Prime Minister 2001–2006.

Abandon the path of terror and let us together stop the bloodshed. Let us move forward together towards peace.
What is happening is an occupation; to hold 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation. I believe that is a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians.
It is not in our interest to govern you. We would like you to govern yourselves in your own country. A democratic Palestinian state with territorial contiguity in Judea and Samaria and economic viability, which would conduct normal relations of tranquility, security and peace with Israel.




  • Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.
    • Quoted in Friedman, Robert I., Zealots for Zion: Inside Israel's West Bank Settlement Movement (New York, New York: Random House, 1992), 132-52.
  • Everybody has to move; run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements, because everything we take now will stay ours. Everything we don't grab will go to them.
    • Stated in 1998, New York Times (online).


  • I am for lasting peace... United, I believe, we can win the battle for peace. But it must be a different peace, one with full recognition of the rights of the Jews in their one and only land: peace with security for generations and peace with a united Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish people in the state of Israel forever.
    • Ariel Sharon. "I an for lasting peace." at New York Post Forum, November 13, 2000, cited at, November 14, 2000.
  • אני אכן חושב שמלחמת לבנון היתה מהמוצדקות במלחמות ישראל. ועכשיו לעובדות: אני שומע את האמירות של ברק על הטרגדיה של 18 השנים בלבנון. צריך לזכור שהכניסה שלנו ללבנון החלה לפני 25 שנה, כשיצחק רבין היה רה"מ ופרס שר הביטחון. בשלב הראשון נכנסנו לדרום לבנון ואחרי חודש כבר היינו נוכחים בצפון לבנון וזאת בשל טרור מצד אש"ף. הגענו למצב שמחצית מאוכלוסיית הארץ נטשה את הצפון וזזה דרומה. אחרי המלחמה השתרר בצפון שקט להרבה שנים [...] כבר באוקטובר 82' הייתי היחיד שאמר שכבר אפשר לצאת מלבנון, אבל אז כבר לא הייתי שר ביטחון
    • Translation: I do think that the Lebanon War was one of the most justified of Israel's wars. Now to the facts: I hear Barak's statements on the 18 years tragedy in Lebanon. It should be remembered that our entrance to Lebanon started 25 years ago, when Yitzhak Rabin was the Prime Minister and Peres was the Minister of Defense. At the first stage, we entered south Lebanon and after a month we were already present in north Lebanon due to PLO terrorism. We reached a situation in which half of Israel's population deserted the north and moved southwardly. After the war, the north became quiet for many years [...] As early as October 1982, I was the only one who said that it's already possible to get out of Lebanon, but then I was no longer the Minister of Defense.
  • Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.
    • in: "Clashes mar Mid-East inquiry," at, March 25, 2001 (online)
  • It had always been one of my convictions that Jews and Arabs could live together. Even as a child it never occurred to me that Jews might someday be living in Israel without Arabs, or separated from Arabs. On the contrary, for me it had always seemed perfectly normal for the two people to live and work side by side. That is the nature of life here and it always will be.... though Israel is a Jewish nation, it is, of course, not only a Jewish nation... I begin with the basic conviction that Jews and Arabs can live together. I have repeated that at every opportunity, not for journalists and not for popular consumption, but because I have never believed differently or thought differently, from my childhood on. I am not afraid of Arabs. I feel I can live with them. I believe I understand their problems. I know that we are both inhabitants of this land, and although the state is Jewish, that does not mean that Arabs should not be full citizens in every sense of the word.
    • Ariel Sharon, ‎David Chanoff (2002) Warrior: An Autobiography p. 343, 542-3
  • "Palestinian must pay the price (...). If possible they should get awake every morning finding out they get 10 or 12 corpses, without knowing what happened.(...) You must be creative, efficient, sophisticated" Ariel Sharon to his Chief of Staff (troop commander) Shaul Mofaz, in 2002.
  • I believe that Jews and Arabs can live together. It’s not an easy thing but I believe we can reach an agreement. I don’t want to pretend about talking to Arabs because I meet Arabs, here and on our farm at home. I would like to very careful not to pretend but I think I am one of the only ones here at the present time that will have the power and the strength to tell the citizens of Israel what they have to do and to make compromises and painful compromises, to look into their eyes and say that.
  • If we [are to] reach a situation of true peace, real peace, peace for generations, we will have to make painful concessions. Not in exchange for promises, but rather in exchange for peace.
    • in: "Report: Sharon willing to make 'painful concessions," at, April 2003 (online)
  • It is not in our interest to govern you. We would like you to govern yourselves in your own country. A democratic Palestinian state with territorial contiguity in Judea and Samaria and economic viability, which would conduct normal relations of tranquility, security and peace with Israel. Abandon the path of terror and let us together stop the bloodshed. Let us move forward together towards peace.
    • Address by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Fourth Herzliya Conference, December 18, 2003; cited in: Terje Rød-Larsen, ‎Fabrice Aidan, ‎Nur Laiq (2014), The Search for Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict. p. 373
  • As one who fought in all of Israel's wars, and learned from personal experience that without proper force, we do not have a chance of surviving in this region, which does not show mercy towards the weak, I have also learned from experience that the sword alone cannot decide this bitter dispute in this land.
  • We are very much interested in developing and strengthening our relations with India because India is one of the most important countries in the world. We believe in democracy... I hope my visit will contribute to strengthening our relations with India.
  • Today Israel and India are embattled democracies, sharing values and the challenge of terrorism. United in our quest for life, liberty and peace our joint determination to fight for these values can inspire our hopes for a better future for our people.

Quotes about Ariel Sharon

  • It is not true, however, that the solutions proposed by the Zionists, of whatever shade, represented historical realism as against the inconsistent utopianism of the Bund. Certainly the prophets were not numerous, but they have to be given their due: Kurt Tucholsky, for example, who already in the mid-1920s sounded the alarm, in a Weimar Republic prey to the demons of order, nationalism, xenophobia and dreams of revanchism; Leon Trotsky, who in the late 1920s warned that the fate of Europe was being played out in Germany, and understood that the bankruptcy of German communism in the face of Hitler bore within it the inexorable unfurling of horror. At this time they were preaching in the desert, including the desert of Judaea. The rabbis who called for obedience to the temporal power in all circumstances, and the inspirers of Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon who at the time paraded in black shirts, are not best placed to cast the first stone at these Jewish visionaries and militants who were struggling at this time for a better world.
    • Alain Brossat and Sylvia Klingberg, Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism (2016)
  • If I know Arik [Ariel Sharon's nickname], he'll head straight for Cairo and try to get votes for Likud.
    • Moshe Dayan, The Yom Kippur War, Rabinovich, pg 255; Defense Minister Dayan on the third day of the Yom Kippur War.
  • When Ariel Sharon, attempting to justify the Lebanese adventure, spoke of "over one thousand victims of terrorism," there was, as one had come to expect with him, a considerable disparity be tween what he said and the truth. According to the IDF spokesman, terrorism had been on an absolute decline: in the three years preceding the Lebanon War, thirty-seven persons were killed in all hostile actions, and, in the year preceding the war-one. Surely even one is too many, and every person killed is a heartbreak. But let us bear in mind that in the Lebanon War, fought at Sharon's initiative, more Israelis were killed in two weeks than fell at the hands of the terrorist organizations in Israel's harshest security periods, including the periods of pursuit operations and massive IDF offensive actions against terrorists.
    • Shulamith Hareven "Israel: The First Forty Years" in The Vocabulary of Peace: Life, Culture, and Politics in the Middle East (1995)
  • Today I view Sharon and Kahane and the Gush Emunim not simply as examples of the weaknesses of our yidishe mentshlekhkayt, Jewish humanness, but as a political evil. Some of my friends challenge this view as extreme. But I believe it. Kahane and Sharon are not concerned with Jewish values, Jewish security, Jewish survival. I don't believe that their policies are motivated by Jewish fears of annihilation. There are, I know, many Israeli Jews whose refusal to accept a Palestinian state is rooted in real fears, some of which I share. And because of this, I see their position differently, even though I strongly disagree with it. However, Kahane and his kind express blatant racism, chauvinism, a hunger for military power, a greed for territory, an insistence on religious and cultural supremacy. These can be easily analyzed as originating in feelings of inadequacy and insecurity and even fears of annihilation. Yet they are manifested in such hatred of Palestinians, such callous indifference to non-Jews and non-Jewish culture that I do not consider these "psychological roots" of fascism legitimate concerns. And so I continue viewing Kahane and his politics as an evil that impinges on my Jewishness because they actively try to redefine and reshape it through the actions and policies of the Jewish State. Everything Jewish in me resists their efforts
    • Irena Klepfisz "Khaloymes/Dreams in Progress: Culture, Politics, and Jewish Identity" in Dreams of an Insomniac: Jewish Feminist Essays, Speeches and Diatribes (1990)
  • [After Ariel Sharon's severe stroke] Ladies and Gentlemen I said last year that Israel was entering into the most dangerous periods of its entire existence as a nation. That is intensifying this year with the loss of Sharon. Sharon was personally a very likeable person, and I am sad to see him in this condition, but I think we need to look at the Bible and the Book of Joel. The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who "divide my land." God considers this land to be His. You read the Bible and He says "this is my land" and for any Prime Minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says "no, this is mine." I had a wonderful meeting with Yitzhak Rabin in 1974. He was tragically assassinated, it was a terrible thing that happened but nevertheless he was dead. And now Ariel Sharon who again was a very likeable person, a delightful person to be with, I prayed with him personally, but here he's at the point of death. He was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any Prime Minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations, or the United States of America. God says "this land belongs to me. You'd better leave it alone."
  • A bellicose man who seemed to be chomping at the bit to start a war.
    • Ronald Reagan, An American Life, chapter 58; describing then defense minister Ariel Sharon
  • Begin, Shamir and Sharon were the evil three. Sharon is the most evil man I've run across in Israeli politics. [I regarded myself when Prime Minister as] the best friend Israel had in the Western world.
    • Harold Wilson, Speech at Indiana University (4 October 1982) after the Beirut massacre, quoted in The Times (5 October 1982), p. 4

Evening Standard, Mon 13 January 2014, pages 18-19

  • He held to the idea that the Jewish people, so often victims of injustice and persecution, should have a state where they could be independent and free. Think good or ill of Arik Sharon, agree or disagree with him, but that calling - a noble one - was plain and unalloyed.
  • He defended this land like a lion and he taught its children to swing a scythe. He was a military legend in his lifetime and then turned his gaze to the day Israel would dwell in safety.
  • I didn't always agree with Arik, and he didn't always agree with me. But he was one of the big warriors for the nation of Israel.
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