(From left) Former Israili Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, former President George W. Bush, and former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan in June 2003.
Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite (file)
(From left) Former Israili Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, former President George W. Bush, and former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan in June 2003.

An interview with Ariel Sharon


Editor’s note: On Oct. 12, 2003, Cal Thomas interviewed former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who died Saturday at age 85. In the interview posted below, Sharon outlined the five conditions that must be met before the peace process could proceed. Also, Sharon commented on the security wall, which he continued to build in the face of UN disapproval, the probability for more attacks in Syria, and the value of preemptive strikes. (See also Marvin Olasky’s “A warrior’s last battle” from 2006.)

Given the recent acts of terrorism, do you consider the “road map” dead? 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.

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? 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?

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.

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.

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? Not so far.

In what would you place your faith that they would do in the future what they have not done in the past? Only performance. Promises are not going to be considered as something serious. And even written agreements are not a real step.

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? 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.

You mentioned the fence. What about the demands from the United Nations and elsewhere to take down the fence? For years I’ve been saying that when it comes to genuine, durable peace, I’m willing to make painful compromises. But I always say that when it comes to the security of Israeli citizens and the state of Israel, Israel will not make any compromises. It is for Israel to decide what are the security steps needed. And I don’t think that we can change our position about it. One must remember that the Jews have one, tiny country, the only place they have the right and capability to defend themselves by themselves. And it is our duty and my responsibility to see that we will never compromise about that.

You view this fence as essential to the security of Israel and therefore, by the definition you just gave me of Israeli security, demands to remove it are a waste of time. I will not be removing it, and we are going to continue to build it because it’s a very important means for increasing our security.

About the attack on the position in Syria. You have said you would not consider this a limited, one-time strike if you felt that there were other terrorist positions threatening Israel. Might there be other Israeli air strikes? I would be glad if it would be one act, but it depends on the involvement of Syria in terror. We and the United States have demanded from Syria the dismantling and deporting of the headquarters of terrorist organizations in Damascus, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front, and others—about 10 of them.

© 2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…