The Webster Peace Plan
The Webster Peace Plan

By Israel Zwick

According to media reports, the new leadership of the Palestinian Authority is very eager to resume peace talks with the Israeli government. Their leaders and spokesmen such as Mahmoud Abbas, Saab Erekat, and Nabil Shaath, are repeatedly criticizing the Sharon government for not returning to peace talks without preconditions. Sharon is being condemned for not responding positively to this “window of opportunity.” However, if the Palestinian statements are carefully studied, there appears to be a problem with English usage. It’s not clear if the problem stems from the translation into English, or the meaning and usage of English words and phrases. It seems that the Palestinian spokesmen have the words “peace” and “piece” confused. That is, what they really mean is to return to “Piece Talks.” Judging from their statements and actions, the Palestinians believe that the result of the talks will be, “We will sign a piece of paper so that the Israelis will give us a piece of land that will enable us to blow up Jews into little pieces, and to destroy Israel piece by piece.”

So the whole Arab-Israeli conflict just seems to be a matter of semantics. If we can just define the word “peace” for the new PA leadership, then the whole matter can be resolved simply and amicably. Using a variety of online sources, a search for “Middle East Peace” has resulted in the following definitions:

1. Peace means that the IDF and PA security forces would coordinate their efforts to end violence so that Israelis and Arabs can enjoy a harmonious relationship in safety and security.
2. Peace means that Israel and the PA would work together to promote commerce between Jews and Arabs.
3. Peace means that Israel and the PA will develop a climate that will encourage high-tech firms to build research and assembly facilities in the area.
4. Peace means that Israel and the PA will promote joint tourism to encourage millions of Christian tourists to return to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth.
5. Peace means developing and sharing modern transportation facilities.
6. Peace means sharing techniques for water and energy conservation.
7. Peace means joint research projects to develop new sources for water and energy.
8. Peace means academic exchange programs between Israeli and Arab educational institutions.
9. Peace means developing a joint emergency response team that will be able to respond to disasters quickly and efficiently.
10. Peace means sharing health information and resources so that regional health problems can be quickly resolved.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Additional searches would probably yield many more definitions of “peace.” Yet, so far the PA leadership has not given the slightest hint that they have any concept of what the word “peace” means. They still believe that they will benefit by blowing up people, buildings, and buses, into little “pieces.” That means that all of the peace plans that are on the table now, such as the Roadmap, Unilateral Disengagement, Population Transfer, and Geneva Initiative, are all useless. They are complex solutions to a very simple problem. What we really need is the Webster Plan. The Arabs need to learn what the word “peace” really means. So all we have to do is send their leaders a copy of the new Webster’s Unabridged, and peace will be just around the corner. This plan would have a much greater chance of success than all those other plans that have been proposed by the world’s greatest leaders and diplomats.

(c) 2004, I. Zwick, NYC

Israel Zwick is a commentator on the Middle East based in New York.

Reprinted by permission.