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TITLE: Mideast Road Map Hard To Read, Impossible to Fold
DATE: 5/10/2003 07:45:00 PM
Yesterday, a bitter dispute broke out between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas over whether to take an immediate left turn, or stop at the next service plaza and ask directions on the way to peace. At last report, the pair had pulled over to the side of the road to once again examine the road map.
Sharon insists on taking the Interstate at least as far as the West bank, but Abbas want to take backroads to avoid traffic. "The Interstate gets completely backed up this time of year," said Abbas. shaking his head in frustration. "It's crazy," he told Sharon. "We'll just be sitting there, inching ahead, barely moving -- we'll get stuck there a million miles from an offramp, I know it."
"Many of these roads are not even on the map, as far as I can see," Sharon replied. "We're just going to get lost."
Among other disagreements the parties have encountered are who gets to drive, who gets to ride shotgun, and whether to listen to Kelly Clarkson's "Thankful" CD (Sharon) or Duran Duran (Abbas) during the trip.
Finally, Secretary of State Colin Powell's backseat driving has become, according to the Prime Ministers, "intolerable." "I don't think he has a clue about how to get where we're going, but he won't shut up," said Abbas.
Sharon was more direct: "Don't make me reach back there."