Virtual Voices

An interview with Ariel Sharon

"An interview with Ariel Sharon" Continued...

Syria is hosting the most dangerous terrorist organizations. Therefore, I would like the strike to be a one-time action, but that depends on the situation.

You have said on several occasions that you will expel Arafat, but he is still there. Is that still an option for you? I will not take it out of consideration. The option is there, hanging over his head.

You mentioned about the Palestinian prime minister—the last one is out, the current one is in for 30 days. Given the doctrines, beliefs, objectives, and goals that we have heard from the Palestinian leadership, does it matter who is in this position? Will he have any authority to do anything apart from Arafat? To take the case of Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], he fell for two reasons. One, Arafat was undermining him from the first day, and the second thing, instead of taking the necessary steps against the terrorist organizations, he decided to make a deal with them. We talked to him many times. I always warned him, I told him that they are going to hurt him, they are not going to hurt us, but he still preferred to make deals with them, and that’s what happened.

You are famous for, among other things, having given President Bush a helicopter tour, which greatly influenced him, when he saw how tiny Israel is. Do you have a sense that you reached him on a certain level, a personal level of understanding about what is at stake here? How deep is his understanding of the region? I think that he understands. Above all, he understands the danger of terror—local, regional, and international. I think he understands very well that one cannot compromise with terror, and that if we would like to secure our lives and to defend our values, we have to fight terror. He has shown leadership and determination.

You have been through so much, so many wars, so many threats that your enemies are going to wipe out Israel. Is there any cause for optimism? I’m an optimist. First, you have to know that this is not the hardest period that we have had; we have had much harder situations.

Second, we’ve been involved with terror for more than 120 years, Arab terror. And we’ve had many wars—the war of independence, ’56, ’67, ’72, ’82, and 2000. So we have had very hard days. But at the same time we’ve managed tremendous achievements here, though we were holding the sword in our hand. We brought millions of Jews here, from 102 countries, speaking 82 languages, and none of them spoke Hebrew. We managed to revive the Hebrew language, the language of the Bible. We managed to develop sophisticated industry, including high technology. And we managed to build serious centers of research and science, beautiful music, the most advanced agricultural system. Therefore, I think that we can look forward with optimism.

You have just observed Yom Kippur, a period of reflection for the Jewish people, a period of self-examination. When you look inside yourself, and when you look at your highs and your lows, and all you’ve done for this country and for the Jewish people, how would you hope that they remember you? I don’t think I have accomplished what I still have to accomplish. There is one thing that I would like to do, and that’s to bring security and peace to the Jewish people.

© 2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Cal Thomas
Cal Thomas

Cal, whose syndicated column appears on WORLD's website and in more than 500 newspapers, is a frequent contributor to WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Cal on Twitter @CalThomas.

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