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Holocaust taught Israel need to protect itself: Sharon (AFP-FRANCE PRESSE) JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 01/26/05 12:50 PM ET)Source: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1515&ncid=1515&e=16&u=/afp/20050126/wl_mideast_afp/wwiihistoryauschwitz_050126175017 AFP} Agence France Presse AFP} Agence France Presse Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
JERUSALEM (AFP) - The Holocaust taught the Jewish people not to rely on others for their protection, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a session of parliament marking 60 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.

"The state of Israel has learned the lesson of Auschwitz. It has learned to defend itself, to defend its people against its enemies and to serve as a place of shelter for Jews," Sharon said in the Knesset.

"The lesson is that we cannot rely on anyone but ourselves."

Sharon said that the allied countries knew about Nazi Germany´s efforts to wipe out the Jewish people but did nothing to prevent it.

"The allied countries knew about the extermination of the Jews but did nothing about it," he added. "They all did nothing to address the problem.

"They did not want to involve themselves with what was happening. For example, the refused to bomb the railways which were taking Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz where 10,000 Jews were being killed every day," he added.

Sharon angrily denounced people who he said sought to compare Israel´s "legitimate self-defence against Palestinian terrorists" with the Nazis´ treatment of the Jews.

Quoting the late US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Sharon said that anti-Zionism was merely anti-Semitism in disguise.

President Moshe Katsav, meanwhile, was flying out of Israel to attend commemorations marking the Auschwitz anniversary in Poland on Thursday.

Up to 1.5 million people were killed at Auschwitz in then Nazi- occupied Poland from 1940 until its liberation by the Red Army on January 27, 1945. At least six million Jews are thought to have perished in the Holocaust.

"Sixty years after Auschwitz, the witnesses are passing away and ignorance is growing. Much of the world does not know what happened during that period," said Sharon.

"We will continue to act so that the memories of Auschwitz are never forgotten."

Sharon said that Israel, whose creation in 1948 came three years after the end of World War II, was the only place in the world where Jews could feel safe.

"Israel is a little country ... It is the only country in the world where Jews have the possibility of defending themselves.

"We will never give up on that. It is our historic responsibility, it is my responsibility."

The Auschwitz commemorations also included a special session of the UN General Assembly earlier this week which began with one minute of silence.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said on Tuesday that the UN observance could mark a turning point in the role of the world body in the Middle East.

"For the first time, I felt as an equal member of the United Nations," Shalom said of the commemoration ceremonies. "It was the first time that they talked in a positive way and not attacking us as usual."

Israel has tense relations with the General Assembly which it complains delivers "automatic majorities" against it on all issues related to the Middle East conflict.

The assembly in 1975 adopted a resolution equating Zionism with racism but it has since been rescinded. (Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse. 01/26/05)

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