Mokhiber: Ari, the President has called Ariel Sharon a "man of peace." This is the same Ariel Sharon that led the massacre of 69 civilians at the West Bank village of Qibya in 1953.
The Kahane Commission, the Israeli Commission of Inquiry, found Sharon indirectly responsible for the 1982 massacre of 900 civilians at Sabra and Shatilla. And as a result, he was forced to resign as Defense Minister. And now we have these press reports saying that the Israeli soldiers killed more than 20 innocent civilians in Jenin.
So, when he called Sharon a "man of peace," what was that based on?
Ari Fleischer: Russell, I think there is no question that the people of Israel want peace. The people of Israel -- Israel is a democracy. Ariel Sharon is the representative of the people of Israel. And all of the efforts that the President has made with Prime Minister Sharon, as well as with the Arab leaders, as well as with the Palestinian authority, have one goal in mind -- and that is to work for peace. And that is what he is continuing to do, productively, along with Prime Minister Sharon and the other leaders in the region.