tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Stewart-Colbert Road Map for Middle East Peace

This month the Comedy Central duo of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert released an advance draft of their highly anticipated Road Map for Middle East Peace, and there is no questioning where the comic cartographers sit on the controversial issues of land dispute between Israel and Palestine. As revealed recently in broadcasts of their respective and influential political shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, having assessed the facts of the heretofore intractable quarrel, Stewart and Colbert appear united in their drawing of Israel:

Notice that on both maps, what appears to be a beaver-toothed bite taken out of Israel's eastern border is indeed the fullest extent of the West Bank along the so-called 'Green Line' of the 1967 ceasefire, right down to the Latrun pimple dangling just northwest of Jerusalem, which was one of the first areas of the West Bank to be commandeered by the Israeli military after the Six Day War conquest. 

Quite clearly, the Stewart-Colbert Peace Plan envisions a free Palestine at the 1967 borders, not along lines drawn since by Israel's settlements in Judea and Samaria, nor by the infamous separation wall

Furthermore, we notice that beyond a doubt the Stewart-Colbert map does not grant even the so-called Jerusalem suburb settlements (Ma'aleh Adumim, Pisgat Ze'ev, Ramot Allon, Neve Ya'akov, Gilo, Har Homa, et al) to Israel, even though Israel effectively annexed East Jerusalem in 1980.

The Gaza Strip, to be sure, is carved out and served to Palestine in the Stewart-Colbert plan, but Israel has long wished away that parcel of poverty. 

More subtly but just as critical to a comprehensive settlement in the region, the Stewart-Colbert Road Map for Middle East Peace evidently has not awarded the Golan Heights to Israel, either. Israel formally annexed the upland region of its northeastern frontier in 1981, after having captured it from Syria in '67 and held it in '73. 

Perhaps this is a nod to the hoped-for liberation of Syria by the rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad: in a post-Arab-Spring Middle East, Israel will, say Stewart and Colbert, gladly return the Golan to its previous owners.

Will this latest attempt at a two-state solution in Israelestine be as laughable as those of earlier shuttle diplomats and political cartographers. Stay tuned to your favourite comedy shows to find out the truth.

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