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      Cal Doesn´t Trust Them

      First Publish: 5/29/2003, 6:35 PM

      Cal Thomas - a leading American political columnist and radio show host who appears in more than 550 newspapers and 300 stations - says he hopes the Road Map plan does not go through. "The question is what are the objectives of Arafat and his front-man Abbas," he said on Foxnews last night. "They say it outright: they want it all [all of Israel]. If you look at their maps of the Middle East, you can't find Israel anywhere… If they meant what they say publicly about accepting Israel, then they would stop the terrorism!"

      The interviewer interrupted to note that it could be that the PA simply cannot stop the fringe terrorist elements. Thomas responded,
      "All the more reason not to give them additional land that they can occupy and with which they can attack Israel. Look, if there is an official Palestinian state, a nation-state, an entity right next to Israel, it will be a location where terrorists from all over the world can come and train. It will also send an important message to terrorists that terrorism pays! The Palestinian side has given up nothing! They've given only empty promises, and yet they're about to get - if this goes through, which I hope it does not - a state of their own, and for what?! They promised to do all they can to end the violence - but violence is part of what got them to this point, so why should they give up what has worked so effectively for them?"

      Interviewer: "Ariel Sharon has said that what has *not* worked effectively for Israel is this 'occupation' - that's the word *he* used… If he acknowledges that, even he, the leader of Israel sees something that you don't."

      Thomas: "Power should not be given to old, former military men. Yitzchak Rabin tried to prove that he was a man of peace, Ariel Sharon is trying prove that *he* is a man of peace - Ronald Reagan tried to prove this, but his was 'peace through strength;' strength and power is all they respect, as we have recently demonstrated in Iraq… I've been to the region 13 times, and I've met people on all sides, I read the sermons coming from the mosques, I read the editorials in the Middle East in state-controlled newspapers, and I see the political cartoons in which Jews are vilified, Christians are vilified, all westerners are stigmatized and condemned - this is a Holy War… they see us all as infidels and deserving of distinction. It's pretty hard to reach agreement with people like that."