Photo: Reuters
Under attack - PM Sharon
Photo: Reuters
Bibi: Sharon creating terror base
Former Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues scathing attack on Sharon Monday, says prime minister 'advancing blindly.' Earlier, right-wing parliamentarians slam Sharon as 'corrupt liar'
Attacks on Sharon continue: Former Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used Monday's Knesset debate on the state of poverty in the country to issue a scathing attack against his Likud rival, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.


Earlier, right-wing Knesset members slammed Sharon as a corrupt, treacherous leader.


"Terrorism flows when it sees an opportunity, and here we have a free terror zone," Netanyahu said in his speech, which on several occasions sounded like an elections speech. "I don't know how long it will take, maybe one or two years, it won't happen immediately. I tried to prevent it, I tried to influence, but I didn't succeed."


"Sharon is advancing in complete blindness," he said. "I voted against it three times, and after the third time I saw I had nothing left to do, so I resigned."


The former minister said he knows "raining on the parade is not a popular move, but an important man said: 'If you get carried away with dreams, it means you're deep asleep.'"


"The writing is on the wall and it must be read even if it undermines our sweet dreams," Netanyahu said. "Don't give them guns, don't give them a port, don't let them set up a terror base – because this is what they'll set up."


Sharon slammed as 'corrupt liar'


Earlier, right-wing Knesset members also slammed Sharon, resorting to some of the harshest rhetoric ever heard in parliament here.


"You brought Israel to new heights of corruption, you do not deserve to be a leader," Knesset Member Uzi Landau (Likud) told Sharon during a meeting of the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee. "You're a liar, cheater, and corrupt."


Knesset Member Effie Eitam (Religious Zionism) joined the fray, telling Sharon: "We're restrained, but our revenge will be your removal from the political map."


"Don't worry, nobody will touch your body," Eitam added. "We'll do everything to remove you from politics, we won't be ministers in your government, and we'll leave you to pet the sheep in your farm.


Shteinitz: I was embarrassed


Meanwhile, Eitam promised Sharon and others in attendance he would ensure that every year in the Tisha B'Av mourning day, "every Jew will say a special lamentation in the synagogue in memory of the destruction you sowed in an entire region and a whole country."


Committee Chairman Yuval Shteinitz asked Eitam and Landau to retract their comments so they can be deleted from the protocol. After they refused, Shteinitz apologized to Sharon.


Later, Shteinitz told Ynet: "It was a difficult session and the words uttered really embarrassed me. The most scathing criticism can be voiced in the committee, but I cannot agree to personal insults."


Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) left the session shocked and said he did not expect to hear that kind of language used in the meeting.


'Bunch of criminals'


Earlier,  Rivlin said that once the disengagement is over, the prime minister should personally act to heal the national rift. In response, MK Yossi Sarid (Meretz) issued a scathing attack on settler leaders.


"This criminal Yesha Council bunch made the country dance to its tune for 40 years," he said. "Today there is no possibility to heal the rift with a delusional cult that has nothing to do with Israeli democracy."


Meanwhile, MK Ran Cohen (Meretz-Yachad) praised Sharon for advancing the pullout plan but said it must be followed by talks with the Palestinian Authority.


"The continuation must be negotiations with the PA in order to avoid the creation of a vacuum terrorists can use," he said.


Sharon: PA must dismantle terror groups


There will be no progress on the U.S.-brokered Road Map peace initiative as long as the Palestinians fail to dismantle terror groups, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee Monday morning.


Opposition leader Yosef (Tommy) Lapid raised the issue after asking Sharon whether a Palestinian announcement that the PA managed to end terror attacks, without dismantling terrorist groups, would be taken to mean the Palestinians have delivered on their part of the Road Map.


In response, Sharon said that only the dismantlement of terror groups would count as Palestinian compliance with the Road Map.


'Delusional cult'


During the committee debate, which dealt with compensation to Gaza evacuees and the national rift in the wake of the pullout, the prime minister chose to read his speech instead of speaking freely with other Knesset members.


Committee Chairman Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) criticized the evacuation process and said the State should have prepared in advance to build a "second Gush Katif."


Doron Sheffer contributed to the story 


First published: 22.08.05, 12:06
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