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By David Podvin

What would happen in 2005 if President Howard Dean determined that peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians were hopelessly deadlocked, and he issued the following ultimatum: “Using the full force of American diplomatic, economic, and military power, the United States is now prepared to impose a permanent settlement. Those who are willing to extend the hand of friendship while making the concessions that are most painful will be rewarded by having former president Bill Clinton manage their economy and supervise their defense against terrorist attack. Conversely, the side that is least willing to show a positive attitude or make the excruciating sacrifices essential for peace will be required to accept the leadership of George W. Bush.”

What would be the result of such an ultimatum? The ensuing negotiations might go something like this:

Palestinian Negotiator: “As the first step towards peace, my beloved Jewish friend, we renounce the right of return.”

Israeli Negotiator: “Such a praiseworthy concession is totally unnecessary, my beloved Palestinian friend, because we have just announced our unconditional withdrawal from the West Bank. And ‘unconditional’ means ‘unconditional’.”

Palestinian Negotiator: “Please, don’t be rash. If you leave, we will miss you so very much.”

Israeli Negotiator: “We’re also getting rid of that meshuggah security fence. We have come to realize that each day we endure without seeing our Palestinian pals seems like an eternity without sunshine.”

Palestinian Negotiator: “But you worked so hard constructing that lovely fence. We would feel extremely guilty about now subjecting you to the strain and humiliation of dismantling it.”

Israeli Negotiator: “We are the ones who should be wracked with guilt, so we are going to aggressively prosecute any Israeli soldier whom you say has done you wrong.”

Palestinian Negotiator: “Fortunately, each of them has always been a perfect gentleman. We have recently located every homicidal terrorist who belongs to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Should we reveal where they are hiding, or would it be more convenient for you if we just target them for assassination ourselves?”

Israeli Negotiator: “Targeted assassinations? Geez, that sounds unduly provocative. We believe the truer path to peace is to immediately raze every Jewish settlement that currently blights your gorgeous countryside and then construct affordable low-priced housing for your adorable people.”

Palestinian Negotiator: “But your stylish settlements lend such architectural grace to the landscape. Rather than seeing you abandon us, we were kind of hoping you would invite many more of your passionately religious citizens to live in the West Bank, and that every one of them would be heavily armed.”

Israeli Negotiator: “Do you think I just fell off the falafel truck? We are going to disarm those religious nuts who are occupying your land in defiance of international law, and then we are going to grab all the illegal settlers by their fetlocks and drag them back behind the Green Line!”

Palestinian Negotiator: “I must respectfully object to your harsh terminology, my Jewish brother. One man’s so-called “illegal settler” is another man’s “honored guest”.

Israeli Negotiator: “I courteously hasten to remind you, my Palestinian brother, that one man’s so-called “homicidal terrorist” is another man’s “courageous freedom fighter”.

Palestinian Negotiator: “Let’s not get bogged down in semantics. The Palestinian Authority proposes to amend the existing United Nations resolutions so that those of you who are God’s Chosen People can formally regain your rightful possession of all the biblical land of Judea and Samaria.”

Israeli Negotiator: “But Jews everywhere will be heartbroken unless those resolutions are amended so that your wonderful new nation controls not only the West Bank, but also West Palm Beach and West Los Angeles.”

Palestinian Negotiator: “You get Bethlehem!”

Israeli Negotiator: “You get Haifa!!”

Palestinian Negotiator: “You get Ramallah!”

Israeli Negotiator: “You get Tel Aviv!”

Palestinian Negotiator and Israeli Negotiator (simultaneously): “YOU GET JERUSALEM!”

Palestinian Negotiator: “Can you top this, my trusted partner in peace – cherished President of the Palestinian Authority Ariel Sharon?”

Israeli Negotiator: “Piece of cake, my dearest ally against terrorism – revered King of Israel Yasser Arafat!”

Palestinian Negotiator: “To prove we are the ones who are willing to make the sacrifice that is most excruciatingly painful, we will name each of our precious sons ‘Mossad’!”

Israeli Negotiator: “To prove we are the ones who are willing to make the sacrifice that is most excruciatingly painful, we will name each of our precious sons ‘Mel Gibson’!”

Palestinian Negotiator: “We’ll eat pork!”

Israeli Negotiator: “We’ll eat pork on Yom Kippur!”



Palestinian Negotiator: “I suppose we’ll eventually get used to Bush.”

Podvin Satire

Podvin, the Series


Last changed: December 13, 2009