(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
This morning, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met with the Republican Senator from Kansas, Sam Brownback. Brownback, 48, serves on the Appropriations Committee of the Senate, the Foreign Relations Committee and the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Since his election in 1996, he has been one of Israel’s closest friends in the Senate.

Prime Minister Sharon thanked Senator Brownback for his warm sentiments towards Israel, and for the unflagging support President George W. Bus’s letter dated April 14, 2004 received in both Houses of Congress.  Brownback responded to the Prime Minister, and noted that Israel is receiving increasing support from the United States.

The Prime Minister reminded the Senator that, during his previous visit to Israel in September 2003, there was a horrible suicide attack on a Jerusalem bus returning from the Western Wall. The Prime Minister stated that the aforementioned attack, after which Mahmoud Abbas resigned and Ahmed Qurei was appointed, accelerated the recognition that Israel does not have a partner on the Palestinian side who is committed and capable to fight terror.  Prime Minister Sharon also stated that if Israel had had a partner, it would not have pursued the Disengagement Plan.  "We would not have followed a different plan, but would have implemented the Roadmap."

The two discussed drug and weapons smuggling to the Gaza Strip and Negev, and Senator Brownback informed the Prime Minister that yesterday, during a visit to a shelter for women who were smuggled into Israel, he was surprised to discover that there are women who are being smuggled into Israel from Egypt.
The two further discussed the issue of disengagement, opinions regarding the International Court of Justice at The Hague, world terror and Iran.