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Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Palestine Paradise

by Clinton Fein

President Bush Calls for New Palestinian Leadership to lead the Israelis and Palestinians to the land of milk, honey, Starbucks and Coca Cola. The full Bush speech with all the subtext that Karen Hughes refined, Karl Rove hates, Dick Cheney okayed, Colin Powell will be forced to stomach, Condi almost understands, and Ari Fleischer will neither understand nor articulate. The new black is transparent -- or vice versa, so step over Moses and Ghandi...it's George W's time in the thousand points of light. President's actual words are NOT italicized!

THE PRESIDENT: For too long, the citizens of the Middle East have lived in the midst of death and fear. The hatred of a few holds the hopes of many hostage. The forces of extremism and terror are attempting to kill progress and peace by killing the innocent. And this casts a dark shadow over an entire region. For the sake of all humanity, things must change in the Middle East.

And for too long, so have many citizens of the United States lived in the midst of death and fear. The policies of a few hold the hopes of many hostage. Through 'tough on crime' and 'three strikes and you're out' types of catch-phrase solutions, Americans live in legitimate fear of mistaken executions - the killing of innocents, and this casts a dark shadow on the rest of the world. For the sake of diversion, we sanctimoniously preach to the players in the Middle East, when the ones in Washington DC, Texas, California and a number of other lovely states are murdering innocent people while the world watches in horror.

It is untenable for Israeli citizens to live in terror. It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and occupation. Of course our own homeless problem and atrocious medical system are good examples of how to live it up, and we did, after all, give Native Americans a little of their land back to build casinos on, so we have the occupation angle covered as well. And the current situation offers no prospect that life will improve. Israeli citizens will continue to be victimized by terrorists, and so Israel will continue to defend herself. And I'll continue to give mixed messages and obscure signals, but Israel has become a kick-ass fundraising tool - even Billy Kristol and Gary Bauer have become fuckbuddies over it.

In the situation the Palestinian people will grow more and more miserable. But fear not. America has some of the finest pharmaceuticals in the world. Ask my own niece, Noelle. She's willing to fake prescriptions to get her hands on them so she too can be as happy as Laura. My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security. Like that Doctor Seuss book A Tale of Two Cities. There is simply no way to achieve that peace until all parties fight terror. Yet, at this critical moment, if all parties will break with the past and set out on a new path, we can overcome the darkness with the light of hope. A thousand points of light or something like that. Daddy had that one down. Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born. In other words, fuck off Yasser Arafat, so I can get Ariel Sharon to listen to me, and stop making me look like a weak ineffective asshole, while he takes my money at the expense of Social Security and stuff like that.

I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. Get a court to elect them like we did. No one expects real democratic elections. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. Try the terrorists under a military tribunal, execute the troublemakers by calling them evildoers, and erect a statue that supposedly represents liberty and you've got it made. You'll have as much moral authority as the Catholic Church. Just try to avoid fucking the kids though.

And when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East. Details??? We'll cross those bridges when we get to them. This speech sounds great, makes me look like a leader, and Karen deserves a lot of credit. God, I'll miss her. Karl wanted me to test a new daisy cutter on you losers, but Karen prevailed because Karl's pathetic war memo was leaked, and we had to dodge another crisis.

In the work ahead, we all have responsibilities. Exercise is good for you, and working out is as important as making peace.As long as you allow your leaders to be bought by oil companies, and focus your future on shady energy deals and military contracts, you'll be able to kick economic butt.

Today, the elected Palestinian legislature has no authority, and power is concentrated in the hands of an unaccountable few. Who do you guys think you are? Tom Ridge? A Palestinian state can only serve its citizens with a new constitution which separates the powers of government. You can always secretly arrange a shadow government of your own choosing, but appearances are important. The Palestinian parliament should have the full authority of a legislative body. Local officials and government ministers need authority of their own and the independence to govern effectively. And if they introduce things you don't like, you can elect someone like John Ashcroft to focus his energies on overturning the will of the people in local communities, like he did with the Oregon assisted suicide mess, and those pesky pot clubs in California. Christ, marijuana makes you slow and stupid. I'm a Coke man, if the truth be told. It makes me feel quick and clever, so you know how potent a drug it must be.

The United States, along with the European Union and Arab states, will work with Palestinian leaders to create a new constitutional framework, and a working democracy for the Palestinian people. Think Kyoto. Multilateral is the word du jour. Collaboration, compromise, and conciliation. And the United States, along with others in the international community will help the Palestinians organize and monitor fair, multi-party local elections by the end of the year, with national elections to follow. We have a great track record in that area. We will appoint Senator Kathleen Harris to oversee its success.

Today, the Palestinian people live in economic stagnation, made worse by official corruption. The Enronization of Palestine is not pretty. A Palestinian state will require a vibrant economy, where honest enterprise is encouraged by honest government. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul O'Neill will give seminars so that you end up with Palestinian versions of Searle Pharmaceuticals, Halliburton and Alcoa. You'll be set for life. Think of every terrorist explosion as an infrastructure rebuilding opportunity with addictive medicines to dispense as a remedy. Don't tell anyone I told you that! The United States, the international donor community and the World Bank stand ready to work with Palestinians on a major project of economic reform and development. Think of how gorgeous the West Bank will look with Monsanto engineered corn blowing in the wind while you sip on a non-fat genetically enhanced Starbucks cappuccino. The United States, the EU, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund are willing to oversee reforms in Palestinian finances, encouraging transparency and independent auditing. Again, our own energy policy comes to mind. Beware of annoyances that want to subpoena your records! But don't worry; transparency is the new black this season. Or is it the new transparency that's black?

And the United States, along with our partners in the developed world, will increase our humanitarian assistance to relieve Palestinian suffering. Today, the Palestinian people lack effective courts of law and have no means to defend and vindicate their rights. We'll deploy our gay military servicemembers to show you how freedom of speech and all that stuff works. A Palestinian state will require a system of reliable justice to punish those who prey on the innocent. Execution is just the best thing since sliced bread and Mc Donalds. The United States and members of the international community stand ready to work with Palestinian leaders to establish finance -- establish finance and monitor a truly independent judiciary. Why suicide bomb when you can electrocute and enrich your buddies' energy companies at the same time by cooking their books? (No pun intended - frying and cooking are world's apart. Ask Martha Stewart!)

Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism. This is unacceptable. If you think the innocent people we keep bombing by mistake in Afghanistan are going to grow up bitter and disillusioned with the United Sates you're plenty wrong. And the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure. This will require an externally supervised effort to rebuild and reform the Palestinian security services. The security system must have clear lines of authority and accountability and a unified chain of command. Kind of like the FBI and CIA if they were part of the new Homeland Bureaucracy I recently proposed to try and establish clear lines of authority and accountability and a unified chain of command. Don't worry - you have over 200 years to get it right.

With a dedicated effort, this state could rise rapidly, as it comes to terms with Israel, Egypt and Jordan on practical issues, such as security. The final borders, the capital and other aspects of this state's sovereignty will be negotiated between the parties, as part of a final settlement. Arab states have offered their help in this process, and their help is needed because we sure as fuck have no idea. Condi's good with the Soviet stuff. This is out of her league, and Colin is too much of a pacifist for my liking.

I've said in the past that nations are either with us or against us in the war on terror. Despite almost universal criticism over such a narrow, superficial, black and white view of the world, I think I'll repeat it anyway. To be counted on the side of peace, nations must act. Every leader actually committed to peace will end incitement to violence in official media, and publicly denounce homicide bombings. Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel -- including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. Think Carlyle Group. Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian supplies to these groups, and oppose regimes that promote terror, like Iraq. And Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations. Those goddamn Germans need to remember what we did to them in the Second World War before they start getting all high and mighty with their refusing to hand over information on terrorists because of our death penalty. Old Sparky isn't exactly Auschwitz.

Israel also has a large stake in the success of a democratic Palestine. Permanent occupation threatens Israel's identity and democracy. A stable, peaceful Palestinian state is necessary to achieve the security that Israel longs for. So I challenge Israel to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state. Not a demand or instruction, mind you. Simply a pathetic, euphemistic little challenge. Laura used to challenge the twins not to drink under age, and it seems to be quite a useful tool if presented properly.

As we make progress towards security, Israel forces need to withdraw fully to positions they held prior to September 28, 2000. And consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop.

The Palestinian economy must be allowed to develop. As violence subsides, freedom of movement should be restored, permitting innocent Palestinians to resume work and normal life. Palestinian legislators and officials, humanitarian and international workers, must be allowed to go about the business of building a better future. And Israel should release frozen Palestinian revenues into honest, accountable hands. Perhaps when Paul is finished gallivanting over Africa with Bono like he's fucking Angelina Jolie he can help out in that arena.

I've asked Secretary Powell to work intensively with Middle Eastern and international leaders to realize the vision of a Palestinian state, focusing them on a comprehensive plan to support Palestinian reform and institution-building. Wishy washy bullshit nothing, so that we can pretend we have a policy, and not be embarrassed by Middle East snubbing like the last time we deployed him to do the same thing.

Ultimately, Israelis and Palestinians must address the core issues that divide them if there is to be a real peace, resolving all claims and ending the conflict between them. This means that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties, based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, with Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognize borders. Otherwise we'll end up with more Jews in Florida than Israel, and there's only so much Jeb can do to rig another election with Janet Reno breathing down his back.

We must also resolve questions concerning Jerusalem, the plight and future of Palestinian refugees, and a final peace between Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and a Syria that supports peace and fights terror. We should also look at time travel, intergalactic relations, planetary sovereignty and how to give the Martians back some of the rights we'll inevitably take from them when we land there. There's water there, scientists, say, and we can't allow them to do what Mexico's doing to America when it comes to water.

All who are familiar with the history of the Middle East realize that there may be setbacks in this process. Especially if that's about the extent of the familiarity. Trained and determined killers, as we have seen, want to stop it. Yet the Egyptian and Jordanian peace treaties with Israel remind us that with determined and responsible leadership progress can come quickly. It's called the Anwar - Yitzhak combo.

As new Palestinian institutions and new leaders emerge, demonstrating real performance on security and reform, I expect Israel to respond and work toward a final status agreement. Once again, no real demands here. Rhetoric and fluff. With intensive effort by all, this agreement could be reached within three years from now. And I and my country will actively lead toward that goal. You can always wage a war on something later if you want to break the promises you made. Just make the fucking promise already.

I can understand the deep anger and anguish of the Israeli people. You've lived too long with fear and funerals, having to avoid markets and public transportation, and forced to put armed guards in kindergarten classrooms. The Palestinian Authority has rejected your offer at hand, and trafficked with terrorists. You have a right to a normal life; you have a right to security; and I deeply believe that you need a reformed, responsible Republican... er.. Palestinian partner to achieve that security.

I can understand the deep anger and despair of the Palestinian people. For decades you've been treated as pawns in the Middle East conflict. Your interests have been held hostage to a comprehensive peace agreement that never seems to come, as your lives get worse year by year. You deserve democracy and the rule of law. You deserve an open society and a thriving economy. You deserve a life of hope for your children. An end to occupation and a peaceful democratic Palestinian state may seem distant, but America and our partners throughout the world stand ready to help, help you make them possible as soon as possible.

If liberty can blossom in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions of men and women around the globe who are equally weary of poverty and oppression, equally entitled to the benefits of democratic government. Our own CIA will help with that like they did in that one country in South America that begins with a V, I think.

I have a hope for the people of Muslim countries. That Franklin Graham coverts you all to Christianity and away from those Satanic Verses you base your miserable lives on. Your commitments to morality, and learning, and tolerance led to great historical achievements. And those values are alive in the Islamic world today. You have a rich culture, and you share the aspirations of men and women in every culture. Prosperity and freedom and dignity are not just American hopes, or Western hopes. They are universal, human hopes. Pim Fortuyn clearly had no idea what the hell he was talking about, and he deserved the bullet. Even if you hate Muslims and are personally ministered to by Franklin, you don't say so in public. And even in the violence and turmoil of the Middle East, America believes those hopes have the power to transform lives and nations. Yes, Matthew Shepard, James Byrd, Sherrice Iverson, JonBenet Ramsey, and other innocent victims of our superior culture come to mind, but they are isolated incidents, you know. We don't have human issues to work out here. We're A-okay. Our way or the highway cowboys!

This moment is both an opportunity and a test for all parties in the Middle East: an opportunity to lay the foundations for future peace; a test to show who is serious about peace and who is not. The choice here is stark and simple. The Bible says, "I have set before you life and death; therefore, choose life." The time has arrived for everyone in this conflict to choose peace, and hope, and life. And to choose the Bible. There are no religious overtones in this little grapple for land. I would have picked a verse from the Koran but I seem to have lost my Cliff notes for that Salman Rushdie book.

Thank you very much - and God bless America's altruism.


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