Sharon urges U.S. Jews to oppose independent Kosovo
Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Wednesday, April 7, 1999
JERUSALEM [MENL] -- Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon has urged U.S. Jewish
leaders to oppose independence for the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.
Sharon told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish
Organizations on Monday that an independent Kosovo would merge with
Albania and create a huge Muslim state in the heart of Europe. He said
such a state would be aligned with radical Muslim elements and serve as
a base of terrorism.
The foreign minister said the Kosovo Liberation Army has obtained
significant aid from terrorist organizations backed by Iran, including
the mujahadeen fighters in Afghanistan, Hizbullah and Osama Bin Laden,
accused of blowing up two U.S. embassies in Africa last year.
Israel Radio quoted Sharon that an independent Kosovo would enable
Islamic terrorism to spread throughout Europe.
Sharon appealed to U.S. Jewish leaders to call for an end to the
fighting in Kosovo. "As faithful friends of the United States, we are
expecting from it and NATO to do whatever they can to stop the suffering
of innocent people and to renew as soon as possible negotiations and a
mutual agreement between the parties," Sharon was quoted as saying.
Some Jewish leaders have expressed unease with the NATO air campaign.
Last week, the Washington-based Jewish Institute of National Security
Affairs, influential in U.S. defense circles, warned that the KLA is
"armed by Iran and supports a fundamentalist Islamic state. Such a state
wouuld destabilize the Balkans and exacerbate existing problems in areas
of Europe with large Muslim minorities, including France and Germany.
The Albanian Kosovars are already victims. American support for an
Islamic insurgency in Europe would make them victims twice."
Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have
not publicly echoed Sharon's warnings of an independent Kosovo. But
privately, senior Israeli officials said Sharon's assessment is shared
by government leaders.
"I don't think this [fear of a Muslim state] is the key issue now,"
Defense Minister Moshe Arens said. "The main issue is to do everything
possible to stop the atrocities by Serbia."
In Gaza, Palestinian Authority Cabinet secretary Ahmed Abdul Rahman
warned Israel to learn what he called the lesson of Kosovo. He said
Israel could face the same international response now faced by
Yugoslavia if the Jewish state refuses to allow fulfill its accords with
the Palestinians and tries to prevent their plans for an independent
Five Israeli planes arrived on Tuesday in Albania and Macedonia as part
of an Israeli humanitarian mission to aid Kosovo refugees. The planes
flew 80 doctors and support staff to establish a tent camp near the
Kosovo border and help distribute Israeli medicine, blankets and other
Wednesday, April 7, 1999