In a ceremony at the White House, Prime Minister Ehud Barak explained that all Jews living in Israel would leave within a year to make way for a new Arab state of Palestine. In compensation, the Jews would be provided with web sites in cyberspace. "This will involve some sacrifice by Israelis," acknowledged Barak, "but it's worth it for peace."
The new State of Israel can be found at http://www.postzionism.com/.
President Clinton, hosting the ceremony on his final full day in office, beamed as he explained how he launched the peace bid. "At first, we proposed that Israel and the Palestinians split sovereignty in the Holy Land, with the Palestinians getting sovereignty from the ground up and Israel getting sovereignty underground," he said. "But the Palestinians objected on the grounds that that would imply a Jewish connection to the land.
"I then suggested that Israeli sovereignty be restricted to six feet below surface level and under, but the Palestinians wouldn't budge; they said that Zionist occupied graves would poison Palestinian water. Finally, [Israeli Foreign Minister] Shlomo Ben Ami came up with the cyberspace idea. This is a creative breakthrough, which I am confident will lead to full peace."
As a good-faith measure, Barak handed over the Knesset building, Israel's parliament, to the Palestinians. Within hours, they celebrated by gutting the building and turning it into a mosque.
Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin sharply rebuked Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon for comments that the deal involved the destruction of the state of Israel. "The ugly war-mongering Sharon prevents peace by supporting the racist belief that Israel should continue to occupy Arab land," Beilin said. "If we don't want to fight forever, we have to face the fact that our continued presence in the Middle East is an unbearable provocation."
The head of Israeli military intelligence, Amos Malka, heartily endorsed the deal. "As a non-political body, we've always told the government that there is no military solution. The only way to ensure that the Palestinians stop attacking us is for us not to be physically present in the region."
In response to the White House ceremony, the United Nations General Assembly met in an emergency session. After a short debate, it voted by a margin of 152-3 to condemn Israel's use of the racist word Zionism in the name of its new web site. Only Israel, Micronesia, and the United States voted against the resolution.
In Gaza, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat welcomed the belated recognition of the Palestinians' legitimate national rights, but said he could not accept the proposal. "True peace," he declared, "can only be realized when the Zionist occupation is completely eliminated, including in cyberspace."
President Bill Clinton expressed his regret at the Palestinian reaction, but asserted his confidence that the incoming Bush administration would continue the peace process negotiations on the basis of today's breakthrough.
Shortly before the White House ceremony, a Palestinian hacker broke into http://www.postzionism.com/ and crashed the site. In response, Mr. Arafat proclaimed that "we condemn all kinds of violence" and denied any connection to the hacker. He also expressed a hope that Israel would soon end its "oppressive occupation" of cyberspace.
Avi Bell, an attorney, lectures extensively on the Arab-Israeli conflict.