In a significant diplomatic breakthrough, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed on a continued Jewish presence in Jerusalem in the framework of a final solution to the conflict that has plagued the region for decades.
Secretary of State Rice said that this is the first time the two sides have reached an agreement on one of the core issues of the final solution, indicating a willingness on the part of both sides to compromise in order to put the past behind them, " Finally the Palestinians have recognized the Jewish connection to Jerusalem while the Israelis have recognized that diplomatic success sometimes means bending over backwards – or forward, as the case may be - and forgetting who you are and what you represent."
Olmert hailed the new agreement, saying that although Jerusalem will have to be evacuated by the year 2010 it will be worth it, "It is true that half a million Jews will be displaced, but on the bright side, all those people who complained about the filthy streets and the high municipal taxes will be able to move to other cities and live there on the streets for free."
Olmert said that Jews will have free, non stop access to the holy places such as the Western Wall through the internet, "In fact, cameras will be placed all over Jerusalem and Jews in Israel and the Diaspora will be able to visit the city and walk in its streets through the internet anytime they want – it will be as if nothing has changed," promised Olmert.
According to sources the Israeli Embassy will be located near Jerusalem but not in it, "It is unfortunate that the Palestinians did not agree to let us have an embassy inside Jerusalem itself, but does that really matter?" asked the PM, "Why be a stickler for detail? What is important is that we have finally achieved the beginning of Peace, and the embassy - perhaps it will be in Beit-Shemesh and maybe even Tel-Aviv – after all most of the other embassies are already there so we might as well join them."
Olmert's coalition partners were a lot less sanguine about the agreement which still has to be approved by the cabinet and ratified by the Knesset.
, who promised to bolt the coalition if Jerusalem were to be discussed, said that it will most definitely consider leaving the coalition in the view of this recent, ominous development, "There is no doubt that in discussing Jerusalem and agreeing to disengage from it, Olmert has crossed a red line," said Shas leader, Eli Yishai, " And in view of this blatant disregard of our heritage and complete betrayal of the Israeli voters and the Jewish people everywhere, it goes without saying that our days in this putrid, anti-Zionist coalition are numbered," said Yishai,
"Numbered by the millions of shekels, to be exact."
Avigdor Lieberman, head of the right-wing party Israel Bietenu (Israel's [government] is Our Home), said that conceding Jerusalem is a minor issue in the bigger scheme of things, "The important thing is preparing to counter the Iranian threat which is growing daily, "said Lieberman, "And the only way Israel can do this is if I remain in charge," said the Minister for Strategic Threats. "It is unfortunate that hundreds of thousand of Jews will suffer but it is a small price to pay for staying in the coalition."
The Palestinians, somewhat predictably, were enraged about the outcome of the negotiations, "We never agreed to a Jewish internet presence in Jerusalem," said spokesman for the Palestinian delegation, Mr. Arak, "And we think it is terrible that Olmert and his black whore, Condoleezza Rice, are spreading such racist lies. All we agreed is that after Israel disengages from Jerusalem we will be willing to discuss reparations for all the damage Israel has done to the city in the past fifty years."
Mr. Arak said that it may take the Palestinians a whole generation to get Jerusalem back to the state it was in before the Jews ruined it completely by installing sewage and electricity and building thousands of houses and roads and planting trees and gardens all over the city, "We may have to come to terms with the fact that our dream of a desolate, deserted, barren city, populated by a few hundred scavengers, thieves and rats will never come true in our time," said the Palestinian representative, "But we will do our best – after all, our dreams are what make us human."