Barak’s “Generous Peace Plan”

February 10, 2001

Copyright (c) 2001  Jordan White


            Now that Ariel Sharon has been elected the new Prime Minister of Israel, some people are waxing nostalgic about former P.M. Ehud Barak’s offers to the Palestinians, that is, offers of the return of their traditional lands in exchange for peace.  Since Sharon is a notorious hard-liner, the promoters of Barak’s so-called “softer stance” are lamenting the loss of this most generous of all Israeli Prime Ministers, at least the most generous since the late Itzhak Rabin.


            Let me tell you a fable.  (Humor me; I love fables.)


            Suppose you stole my new silver 2001 Honda from me.

            Naturally, I would be incensed and ask you to immediately return my lawful property.

            “No,” you say.  “It’s mine now.  I took it fair and square.  I guess you weren’t watching it closely enough.  At any rate, it’s mine now.  But, just to show you what a swell guy I am, I am offering you the muffler, free of charge.” 


            “No,” I say.  “I don’t want the danged muffler!  I want my Honda back, in its entirety.  The muffler, by itself, is of no use to me.”


            “Okay,” you say.  “You’re quite right.  How about if I give you back  not only the muffler, but three of the four tires?”


            “Ridiculous!” I snap.  “Forget your silly offer!  Give me my car!”


            “You are driving a hard bargain,” you say.  “And I really respect you for it.  Okay, okay.  Not just the muffler and three tires (or did I say only two?  I don’t remember.  After all, offering you even one is awfully nice of me).   I’ll be incredibly generous and include both windshield wipers.  But the only way you will get any more car parts is if you start giving up a couple of parts of that Jeep Grand Cherokee in your driveway.  After all, I’ve already conceded six car parts where you haven’t given me anything at all.”


            “That’s it!  I give up!” I say.  “I’ve had it!  You steal my beautiful new car, and the only way you’ll give it back is all chopped up!  Useless!  And even the parts you are offering me are ones you can easily replace and make the car work for you without the originals!  They’re just the cheap parts of the car that will wear out anyway!  And now you have designs on my S.U.V. ?  What do you take me for, a moron?”


            You say, “My goodness, aren’t we getting awfully huffy?  I’m afraid you are a little prone toward being a ti-ny bit unreasonable.  I hope you won’t resort to violence to get what you want.  After all, I’ve offered you some very generous deals here.  What am I going to gain from all my efforts?  I don’t think I like dealing with you, at all.  I think this deal is going nowhere.  I’m going to ask some of my “other friends” to back me up to help me make you look as stupid as I hope I am making you look.”


            By now, I am in tears.  I can’t understand why  your “other friends” would be so uncaring about the laws concerning car theft, that is, grand larceny, that they would actually side with you against me. 


            But, like the Palestinians, I guess I have a lot to learn about the way of the world.  Grand larceny doesn’t mean what it used to mean.  Nowadays it’s called “bargaining for peace.”