UK Official Describes Sharon as ‘Cancer,’ Triggers Crisis

Published September 23rd, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

A diplomatic storm has erupted in London over remarks by an unnamed foreign office official who described Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as "the cancer at the center of the Middle East crisis," reported the Jerusalem Post.  

The comment, by a "senior British Foreign Office source," was quoted in a front-page article by the Guardian, said the paper. 

The Post said that the Guardian had consistently put Israel "in the frame" when discussing the causes of this month's terrorist outrages in the United States.  

A foreign office spokesman told the Jerusalem Post: "We totally dissociate ourselves from these unattributed remarks which in no way represent the views of the foreign office or the government. Whoever made them is not speaking for the government."  

The official was unable to say, however, whether such views were held within the foreign office. 

"They were in no way authorized," but he ruled out the possibility that the Guardian had made up the quotation, implying that the comments had indeed come from "a senior British Foreign Office source" of the newspaper.  

The Israeli embassy in London has protested the substance and the style of the remarks. 

"We're appalled that such comments could be made by a Foreign Office official about the democratically elected leader of a friendly state," embassy spokesman D.J. Schneeweiss, told the paper.  

He said that the embassy expected the foreign office to investigate the matter and take appropriate action against the official responsible.  

"We have made clear at all levels that we are utterly dismayed and that we expect the matter to be dealt with in an appropriately firm manner," he said.  

The Israeli paper quoted the Guardian article as saying that US President George W. Bush had "forced" a ceasefire on Sharon and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and it spoke of Bush using "America's enormous economic and political clout to bring Sharon in particular to heel" in order to avoid sabotaging the Arab and Muslim components of his evolving military coalition.  

"As part of a total rethink of the Bush administration's foreign policy since the New York and Washington attacks," reported the Guardian, "the president is taking a tougher line with Israel in an attempt to secure a speedy end to a conflict that feeds Arab hatred of the United States."  

After noting that the Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire opened the way for negotiation between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Arafat, the newspaper noted: "In an indication of the extent to which patience with Sharon has ended, a senior British Foreign Office source described Sharon as 'the cancer at the center of the Middle East crisis.'"  

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Guardian, frequently antagonistic toward Israel, has persistently "singled out" Israel for blame in describing the hatred of America that led to last week's devastation. 

The US supplies Israel with billions in military aid each year, and as such has a direct link to efforts to suppress the Palestinian rebellion against 34 years of Israeli occupation. 

Since September 2000, the occupation forces have killed over 620 Palestinains -including, according to Amnesty International, nearly 100 children. 

Muslim and Arab nations and leaders worldwide have long been trying to keep the lid on rising anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment sparked by the soaring Palestinian death toll – Albawaba.com 

 

 

 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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