Saturday, May 01, 2004

Ariel Sharon: Real estate developer extraordinaire

It was the middle of the night. The phone rang. "If you ever say that Palestine is like the Warsaw Ghetto again, we will kill you." Click. And they didn't even leave a call-back number!

Despite all that, here I am again. Equating Gaza with Warsaw. What am I thinking! But jeez Louise. The simile is just too ripe for a writer like me to resist. And besides, don't you just hate it when people tell you what to do?

I first figured that Gaza might be for sale when Ariel Sharon was accused of corrupt real estate dealings in Greece. And I was right too. Sharon has put together a real estate package in Gaza that is a sleazy developer's dream: Trading that run-down Gaza dump for the eloquent olive groves and high rises of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Score!

That's like trading the South Bronx for The Garden State -- including Princeton, Washington Crossing AND Atlantic City. That's like dumping Mediterranean Avenue and buying the Boardwalk. AND Park Place!

But wait. Won't the Palestinians at least come out of the deal owning Gaza? Isn't that a trade up for them? They will now own houses and hotels, right? Wrong. Palestinians will not be passing Go. And they will not be collecting $200. They will not be owning Gaza. Ariel Sharon will still own Gaza. What the Palestinians will be getting from this real estate deal is the right to continue to live in a prison, a jail and a slum.

What the Palestinians will be getting is a place on a map that is the exact re-creation of the spirit and mood of the ghetto at Warsaw -- no more, no less. The Israeli army will surround Gaza on all sides. No one will be let in or out. Watch towers, machine guns and barbed wire will ring the city. Tanks will rumble up and down the streets. The only thing missing to complete this tableau will be the yellow crescents sewn on residents' clothes -- and that can be arranged.

Being an Arab these days is chillingly similar to being a Jew in 1939. The only difference I can see is that instead of Prescott financing genocide, we now have his grandson George.

No one spoke out to protect the Jews in 1939. But dag nab it, I'm not going to let that happen again. And, hopefully, it's not going to kill me to do it.
"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved; World Peace in one generation!"

Great advice to sleazy real estate developers like Ariel Sharon: From CEO Mark Ernst : One thing I learned from Monopoly is that you can't get greedy. The other players will quickly refuse to do business with you if you are.

From J. Paul Getty: You must never try to make all the money that's in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too.

From the Australian Financial Review: The end of Globalization -- For the world economy to work, there are other factors to consider besides Monopoly!