Sharon asks for U.S. solidarity

"In these times, we need you more than ever. We need you to express your public support for Israel," he said.

"Join us here, demonstrate your love and support," he told those on the call, which was sponsored by the United Jewish Communities, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod.

Sharon began his briefing by recounting the latest terror incidents over the Passover holiday.

Israel made a "real effort" to achieve a cease-fire, he said, including rescinding his demand of seven days of quiet before negotiations and a withdrawal of forces from Palestinian cities.

But this, he said, was "all for terror, terror and more terror."

Now, after Israel has "exhausted every effort to achieve a cease-fire" with the Palestinian Authority, the Jewish state "had no choice but to combat terrorism by ourselves in order to restore security to our citizens," the prime minister said.

The main purpose of the operation, he said, is to "uproot" terrorism in a "battle for our homes, values and way of life."

"This struggle is going to be long, difficult and complex," he said. "It requires unity, determination and faith in the justice of our cause."

"It will be carried on until we triumph."

"Only by overcoming terrorism and winning this battle can we achieve a cessation of hostilities," negotiations and the "much sought-after peace and security for generations, which we all want."

Sharon also addressed what he said was an imbalance in world opinion on the conflict.

"It seems today that everyone is concerned about Arafat, whether he will have two or three rooms, with or without electricity. I do not detect the same degree of concern in the world about the two little children" whose mother, pregnant with twins, and father were murdered by a Palestinian terrorist outside the entrance to a toy store.