Monday, October 24, 2005

Foreclosing on Gaza: Why Ariel Sharon can't afford the mortgage on his three homes

Why did Ariel Sharon pull out of Gaza? Despite what anyone says, the truth is that he had to leave because he defaulted on the mortgage.

Let's stop looking at Sharon as a head of state and start picturing him as a victim of the immutable laws of property ownership. He's like a man who could afford to own a home in Beverly Hills but then got greedy and started to live beyond his means -- buying a second home in Aspen and then another one up at Lake Tahoe. Then he was forced to give one up 'cause he couldn't afford it. Seen in this light, the situation "on the ground" in Israel/Palestine becomes crystal clear. Ariel simply over-extended his line of credit.

After his family complained about having to give up their lovely second home in Gaza, Sharon explained it to them this way: "Sorry guys but I just couldn't keep up the payments on our pre-1967 home in Israel, the West Bank digs and the Gaza house too. The maintenance on the Hummers and the F-16s alone was killing me -- not to mention all those free-loading settlers plus feeding and clothing the IDF. It all added up. I had to dump the Gaza place in order to keep the West Bank property afloat."

Facts on the ground? After almost 40 years, is the War on Palestine finally making a dent in the limitless Israeli pocketbook? Is this the first hint that Sharon is being forced to -- gasp -- economize?

America can no longer afford to bail out their prodigal son. America can't even afford its second home in Baghdad. What's with this "Gotta have a condo in the Middle East" fad anyway? Can't these people just be happy with a home in one place like the rest of us?

"To keep my three houses running," lamented Sharon, "I had to pay all those settlers. Hey. Settlers don't come cheap. Then there's all that military equipment and manpower. Then there's the cost of importing a couple million tons of cement to build a Wall with. The cost of upkeep was outlandish! And with all those Palestinians going through all those checkpoints 24/7 -- I bet they have people who do nothing all day long but go back and forth through those checkpoints just to cost me money so I'll have to pay the freaking IDF overtime -- I just couldn't afford the Gaza upkeep."

At the rate that Sharon is defaulting on his mortgage, I bet he won't be able to maintain his West Bank money pit for long either. And if he doesn't stop over-extending himself financially, his mortgage company might repossess his pre-1967 home as well.

Ariel Sharon has gambled that he can afford to keep three households running but his creditors are finally starting to wonder if he is a good financial risk after all.

PS: I just got an e-mail from a friend of mine in Israel. "Jerusalem is wonderful -- all the good points of San Francisco, Washington DC and Los Angeles and none of the bad points. What's not to like! It's paradise. But the people here are like the people of, say, Kansas. They don't realize what a good thing they have and are ready to risk losing it all by electing fifth-rate leaders who are endangering them by starting stupid and unnecessary wars that cost too much and put the federal budget at risk." I believe it. Just like the U.S. has elected that idiot George Bush, who is happily squandering all our credit on that money pit in Iraq.