Thursday, September 23, 2004

French lawmakers amused by Sharon's disengagement expectations

At least someone is laughing.

Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin recently told the national-religious Hatzofeh newspaper the following anecdote about his last visit to Paris, where he had been invited to meet the heads of the French Parliament.

'I came, and after a few words of courtesy, they asked me, 'Tell me, Mr. Israeli Parliament Chairman, you are known as one of Prime Minister Sharon's close friends, so why is it that you do not support his disengagement initiative?'

I said, 'Well, the truth is that I should ask you. He has been trying to convince me that the moment we disengage, Europe will give us at least 15 years of quiet and won't put pressure on us [to make further concessions], and during this time we will be able to stabilize our control over areas on which we cannot compromise, such as the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem. So tell me: Will you in fact give us 15 years of quiet?''

'They started to laugh and said that they now understand why I don't support the Prime Minister. Later on, I asked them if they would give us 15 months of quiet. They laughed.'

'I asked, 'How about 15 weeks?' and they continued to laugh.

''15 hours?' I ventured, and they still laughed.

Regarding 15 minutes, they didn't laugh, but neither did they nod....' "