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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Obama hopeful on Mid-East peace talks icebreaker

.A basketball game was considered too violent and open to cheating
(Picture courtesy of abc news Australia:

After 61 years of statehood and decades of violence, Israel took a step towards normality today as a key dispute with the Palestinians was resolved.

Following secret talks hosted at the White House by President Obama, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has revealed 'teach a talent' as the icebreaker for the first round of peace negotiations.

The fun game is played in pairs with 1 representative from the Israeli government and 1 from the Palestinian side teaching each other a skill or party trick. It is hoped that this simple act will dissolve hundreds of years of enmity between the two peoples. Hamas have been offered a spot at the talks, as long as they promise not to teach Prime Minister Netanyahu how to make pipe bombs.

Agreeing the warm-up was in itself a tough call. Several late night meetings dragged on til dawn as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to budge on using 'Back-2-Back drawing', and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman demanded they play 'Pin the Tail on the Palestinian'.

Barak, a leading moderate voice in the government, eventually stepped in and brokered the deal.

"I was certain it was possible to agree an energizer and certainly necessary to act with all our might to achieve this first step before I turn 70, which will be in three years, as I really did not want to be still talking about bloody team-building exercises then," he told us outside the BamerKaz team building center between Haifa and Tel Aviv, which will host the meetings.

Obama praised all sides for reaching the historic compromise, saying that the icebreaker was a key part of both people's future.

"Diplomacy is always a matter of a long hard slog, and there's no better way to ease the tension at the start of a long meeting" he said.

"Not only is it in the interest of the Palestinian people to get to know their enemies better before the talks, it's in the interest of the Israeli people to calm the fuck down and chill the fuck out," he said.

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