Sunday, May 6, 2007

Livni To ISL: "I'm Proud To Be A Wimp!"

In an exclusive interview to ISL, Israeli Foreign minister, Livni, tells all – where she learned her negotiation skills, her plans for the future, and what really happened in her confrontation with Olmert.

ISL: We are so glad to have you here with us in our Jerusalem studio.
Livni: How's my hair? Is it still blond? You know, I'm not a natural blond. I just color it that way. My PR guy says that it makes me more attractive.
ISL: I'm sure it does. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say, and…
Livni: The thing is, this weather really messes it up. Do you mind turning up the air-conditioning? It feels like a sauna in here.
ISL: Well, you know we're still getting off the ground here so it's not installed yet. Why don't you have a nice cold soft drink instead?
Livni (pouting): Well, all right. (Takes a sip). Hey, it's not cold at all!
ISL: yes, well, the fridge hasn't got here either.
Livni: I hear you. It took them hours to get a barber's chair and rinse bowl installed in my office in the Foreign Ministry. You would not believe the incompetence of these foreign workers.
ISL: Really? I thought only Israelis were allowed to work there.
Livni: Well, they might have been Israeli. I was probably too busy to notice.
ISL: Yes, you are a busy woman aren't you? Why don't we talk about that? For instance – what really happened between you and Olmert? Did you really threaten to resign?

Livni: Absolutely. I told him in no uncertain terms that if he does not do the right thing, that I will consider my position in the most serious manner possible.
ISL: Wow. That sounds quite harsh. Do you remember what terms you used exactly?
Livni: Of course. I told him that the Winograd report is very serious and that I am considering it very seriously as are many other people. I told him that he should consider it very seriously too.
ISL: And what did he have to say?
Livni: Oh, he capitulated almost immediately! He just couldn't face the logic of my position.
ISL: What did he say? Did he make any promises?
Livni: Of course! You don't imagine that I would come out empty handed from such a crucial meeting, on such an important issue!
ISL: So?
Livni: Well, he took my hand in his, looked me straight in the eyes and said: "Tzipi, you are absolutely right. I respect your position and I will consider it with all the seriousness it merits." So you see, I got what I wanted. I always do.
ISL: Yes, I see. Where did you acquire such formidable negotiation skills?
Livni: "Acquire?" Now, why does that word sound familiar?
ISL: Excuse me for being so unclear. Let me rephrase – where did you learn to be such a tough cookie?
Livni: Well, every foreign minister has to go through a refresher course in negotiations and foreign policy, and so did I. It's a very good program.
ISL: Yes. I can tell. One can only imagine what success you have met with in other areas.
Livni: Well, I haven't been given much a chance to use my skills yet. I did negotiate the agreement that ended the war though. That was fun.
ISL: Of course it did not exactly work out as planned, did it?
Livni: What, you mean because Hizbullah is rearming? Who cares about that? The important thing is that our soldiers are back home.
ISL: Except for those that were kidnapped. You do recall that they were the reason the war started in the first place.
Livni: Well, I guess so. Every war starts because of something. I'm just glad that I could help end a war – that's what we are here for. They have a saying in the Foreign Office: "Dignified surrender is better than ignominious defeat !"
ISL: I suppose that is one way to run a country.
Livni: It's the only way! How else could I be so successful? Do you think I am getting so much praise from the Europeans just because I look so good?
ISL: Of course not. Truly, I lack the words to adequately describe your diplomatic achievements. Will you forgive me for this lapse?
Livni: Of course. You are not the first one to be held speechless by my accomplishments.
ISL: I can well imagine. So, what are your plans for the future?
Livni: I feel that I am ready for bigger things – I want to negotiate a peace agreement with the Palestinians, and after that – the sky is the limit!
ISL: Why do you think you would succeed where everyone else has failed?
Livni: Well. For one thing, like you said, I am a skilled negotiator. Besides that, I have the original, compassionate, flexible view of a woman. I can just see Abbas and myself strolling along the beach in Gaza, discussing affairs of state, slowly reaching a mutual, personal understanding that will bring us, I mean , our peoples together – finally. After our first meeting, we will continue to negotiate secretly in Scandinavian countries. Within months we will reach an agreement – we will give his people enough arms and ammunition to overcome the resistance of the fanatics who oppose his moderate views. He will stop the terror, and in return we will give him Gaza and Ramallah - for starters - and as things progress we will withdraw from the whole Gaza Strip and West Bank, and everybody will live happily ever after . It's so simple, I wonder how no one has thought of it before.
ISL: Probably like you said – only an original thinker with a mind like a steel trap could think up such an unlikely scenario.
Livni: (sighs) Yes. I really am special aren't I?
ISL: You most certainly are. Thank you for agreeing to talk with us. We had a most unsettling time.
Livni: Funny you mention it - I don't like settlers either. No wonder we got along so well!

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