Israel Revises Wall Plans
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Hamas acquires Webvan assets
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL-- The Israeli government announced today that the anti-terrorist separation wall between Israel and the Palestinian territories will be totally re-configured. Existing sections of the wall are being moved, starting today, to conform to the new plan. The wall project is expected to be complete by the end of 2005.
"We continue to believe walls are necessary and effective," said Avi Ben Speer, Israelís Minister of the Interior. "Nonetheless, the old plan was too simplistic. So, weíve developed a new operational theory for more comprehensive protection."
Under the new plan, five-meter high walls will encircle all neighborhoods, villages, towns and cities, both in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The walled enclaves are to be connected by two independent highway networks, running parallel to each other. This twin highway system will be color-coded. Blue-lined roads will carry Israeli traffic to and from Israeli enclaves and green-lined roads will carry Palestinian traffic to and from Palestinian enclaves. All vehicles will be marked with physical and electronic stickers to identify their affiliation.
"Talk about a road map!" commented U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. "Itís a win-win solution, achieved without moving any settlements. The Israeli hard-liners can now claim Israel extends from the Jordan River to the sea, and the Palestinians can now claim Palestine extends from the Jordan River to the sea. In effect, we get two countries occupying the same real estate, minus some geographic holes where the opposing groups actually live."
Israeli and Palestinian cartographers interviewed for this story do not foresee any difficulties depicting their respective national entities. Preliminary maps from both sides look remarkably similar. The new map of Palestine shows all the Palestinian villages, towns and cities, connected by a new highway system. Israeli villages, towns and cities do not appear on the map of Palestine, except as regions marked "wasteland." The new map of Israel shows all the Israeli villages, towns and cities, connected by a new highway system. Palestinian villages, towns and cities do not appear on the map of Israel, except as regions marked "future construction."
Asked how this will work out in Jerusalem itself, Powell said, "Thatís not a problem. The Palestinians get their capital in their walled section and the Israelis have their capital in their walled section. They probably wonít even have a door between them."
In a related story, Palestinian Hamas announced today they have acquired all the rolling stock of the defunct Web-based U.S. delivery service company, Webvan, Inc. The nearly two thousand delivery vans were in storage for almost three years, pending bankruptcy proceedings.
"Hamas has always been committed to delivering goods and services everywhere in Palestine," said Hamas spokesman Ibrahim Al Aswad. "And, we got a great deal. These vans were barely used! Blessed be God, now weíve got the wheels we need to patrol the new green highway system connecting our communities throughout Palestine."
Asked if the acquisition of the vans signaled a transformation of Hamas from a terrorist conspiracy to a trucking cooperative, Al Aswad replied, "Your question falsely implies that Hamas is something other than a nationalist freedom-oriented movement. In fact, we have used trucks for many years now."
The possibility that Hamas might use its new fleet to deliver something more explosive than spicy falafel alarms some Israelis. Responding to these fears, Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ha Ardon, stated, "Not to worry, our new highway median strip barrier system is perfectly capable of preventing any illegal crossovers."
According to information kits provided by the Israeli Defense Ministry to the press, the new median strip barrier system is laser-based. In operation, the systemís detection and tracking computers monitor all traffic on both the blue-lined Israeli roadbed and the adjacent green-lined Palestinian roadbed. When an Israeli blue-stickered vehicle accidentally crosses the median separating blue from green, pulse lasers spaced every one hundred meters will instantly transmit warning light beams to the vehicle, alerting the driver of the mistaken crossing. When a Palestinian green-stickered vehicle crosses the median, the lasers will instantly incinerate it.
Cambridge University professor and Middle Eastern geopolitical analyst Neville Quibling commented on the new wall plan, "This is hardly an original concept; walled cities and secured highways were the de facto standard throughout Western Europe for centuries. That said, adapting such a schema to the Israel-Palestine dispute is not going to be as easy as it may seem at first glance." Pressed to be more specific, Quibling added, "Well, consider the people themselves. They are not always inside a vehicle or behind a wall. What about the farmers in the fields or the day laborers from Palestine who work in Israel?"
Israeli Interior Minister Ben Speer thinks he has the answers to this complex situation. "It is simple, really. Israeli farmers and shepherds can continue their activities as usual, as long as they stay on Israeli land. Palestinian farmers and shepherds can continue their activities as usual, as long as they stay on Palestinian land, unless of course a settlement is being constructed there, in which case they just have to work around it."
Asked about pedestrian freedom of movement for recreational purposes, Ben Speer said, "Israeli hikers and beachgoers will be automatically granted tourist status when they walk into Palestine from blue highway rest stops or parking areas. When Palestinian hikers and beachgoers walk into Israel from green highway rest stops or parking areas, they will be automatically gunned down, unless they are empty-handed and so scantily clad we can see they are not wearing explosives."
The Palestinian laborers and factory workers who presently commute to Israel from Palestinian territories are a more difficult challenge to the new wall plan. Israeli Minister of Labor, Shlomo Molcho, offered some insight into how this will be handled. "We welcome Palestinian workers. Under the new system, Hamas vans will deliver workers to a green highway rest stop. The workers will then disrobe and walk naked across the median strip to a blue highway rest stop locker room. After putting on their work uniforms, the Palestinians will be driven to their jobs in Israeli blue-stickered shuttles."
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed mixed feelings about the new wall plan and its effects. "On the one hand, I am pleased to see the Palestinians get a state with contiguous links. On the other hand, walled cities and Israeli controls feel like backward steps to me."
"Backward steps?" responded Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "Not at all. What we have here is a practical solution; a temporary solution. It wonít be long before the walls are just quaint tourist attractions--in say, maybe five hundred years."
David M Schwartz could write for CNN, but he chooses to write for Uber. Priorities!