PM Defends Tighter Immigration Laws

Aluf Benn
Aluf Benn
Aluf Benn
Aluf Benn

NEW YORK - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday vigorously defended last week's cabinet decision to tighten Israel's immigration laws, specifically regarding family unifications of Israeli Arabs married to Palestinians.

"The Jews have one small country, Israel, and must do everything so that this state remains a Jewish state in the future as well," he told reporters aboard his plane en route to the United States.

"There is no intention of hurting anyone here; there's merely a correct and important intention of Israel being a Jewish state with a massive Jewish majority," said Sharon. "That's what needs to be done, and that's exactly what we're doing. This is considered normal everywhere."

Sharon harshly criticized previous Israeli governments, which knowingly or unknowingly allowed thousands of Palestinians to obtain Israeli citizenship through marriage, particularly after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.

"They entered because of agreements made by previous governments, which hid the fact of the Palestinians' `return' via family unification," he said.

"And the number is very large, about 150,000 ... They [governments] agreed to 25,000, but they brought them in through the back door. That is one of the worst things that happened in the wake of the Oslo Accords."

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