Interview with Ariel Sharon

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Cal Thomas conducted an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Oct. 12, 2003 in which Sharon outlined the five conditions that must be met before the peace process can proceed. Also, Sharon commented on the security wall, which he continued to build in the face of U.N. disapproval, the probability for more attacks in Syria and the value of pre-emptive strikes. In light of Sharon's death, we are releasing this interview as a bonus offering. It is available for immediate release.

Q. Given the recent acts of terrorism, do you consider the "road map" dead?

A. No. If there will be a serious Palestinian prime minister who makes a 100 percent effort to end terrorism, then we can have peace. Each side has to take steps. If terror continues, there will not be an independent Palestinian state. Israel will not accept it if terror continues.

Q. Even you have said if we can just get the terrorist incidents down to a certain number, that would qualify for moving ahead. What level are we talking about?

A. I have said that in order to move forward, there should be quiet. If the Palestinians will make 100 percent of effort, but a crazy Palestinian person comes out shooting or something like that, we will take it into consideration. So the next question is, what do I mean by 100 percent effort?

First, the terrorists will be arrested, interrogated, punished.

Second, Palestinian terrorist organizations will be dismantled -- the Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Popular Front, Democratic Front and all those security organizations that are involved in terror.

Third, their weapons will be collected and handed to a third party -- that can be only the United States -- and destroyed.

Fourth, the Palestinians need to take serious preventive steps (to stop terror).

Fifth, there should be effort to start educating on peace.

If they would take these steps seriously, and there would be an act of terror, we will take it in consideration, but if they will not take these steps, every act of terror will be an act of terror.

Q. They have had several opportunities to do these things in the past, various agreements, covenants, pledges, promises. Have you any evidence that the Palestinians have fulfilled any of those?

A. Not so far.

Q. In what would you place your faith that they would do in the future what they have not done in the past?

A. Only performance. Promises are not going to be considered as something serious. And even written agreements are not a real step.

Q. Your critics, of course, say that they would like to see performance on Israel's side, a cessation of what they call the settlements. Do you have any intention of acceding to those wishes?

A. Yes. We do not build new Jewish communities in Samaria, Judea and Gaza. The United States has never accepted our building of communities or of the fence. Yet I've managed to develop relations between Israel and the United States even though President Bush never supported settlements.

I know that the United States doesn't like them, and the United States knows our position on these issues. The basis for our relations, of course, beside the strategic common interest, is that we look at terror in the same way, that we never compromise with terror, and understand that terror now is the greatest danger that exists in the free world.

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