Encinitas, CA - In a still unexplained development today, leaders from both sides of the Israeli Palestinian conflict announced that they have signed what is to be a formal and permanent truce. Amazingly, the leaders' reconciliation is being attributed not to president Bush's roadmap or any recent negotiations, but rather to California coffee shop barista Michael Swanson, and the bumper sticker he recently placed on his 1971 Volkswagon bus.
In a statement near his home today, Mr. Swanson said that these developments served to underscore the importance of activism in our communities, telling reporters "this is proof that even if you're just a single concerned citizen, if you're willing to sacrifice, and if you have a car, you really can change the world."
Government researchers are still trying to determine why the bumper sticker, which carried the simple slogan "Peace In The Middle East," was able to achieve what years of stalemated negotiations and bloody conflict had not. Research conducted so far indicates that the adhesive decal on Mr. Swanson's limited edition ‘71 Westfalia, combined with the young man's ample dreadlocks and generous application of patchouli oil, synergized to create "a kind of time-space bend or vortex, which was somehow able to remotely influence the cerebral cortices of the two Middle Eastern leaders."
An unnamed pentagon source said that before Mr. Swanson's case emerged, the government had no idea that global politics could be so profoundly effected by one bumper sticker, saying "had we [at the Pentagon] known that a misinformed burnout with a trite bumper sticker could have such a capacity for conflict resolution, we wouldn't have killed so many hippies back in the sixties."
The dramatic reconciliation reportedly came after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and senior Hamas official, Mahmoud Zahar, encountered Mr. Swanson's microbus outside of a Del Taco restaurant in Encinitas, California. Amazingly, both leaders own summer cottages in this tiny beach community, just north of San Diego.
Said Mr. Zahar, "I was on my way to pick up a couple of Macho Tacos™ when I saw that bumper sticker, and it got me thinking. I just started to realize that the occupation isn't all that bad. I mean, I save a ton on my utility bills, what with no infrastructure and all."
Mr. Zahar went on to say that though while he used to assert the Muslim people's divinely ordained right to every inch of historical Palestine, now he didn't really care so much. Mr. Zahar said he now felt like "kind of a jerk" trying to expel the Israelis, particularly after all the construction they've done.
Said Mr. Zahar, gesturing toward a nearby Israeli settlement, "after they bulldozed my olive orchard, they put up this gorgeous little colonial with a wrap around porch and a swing… I mean, how do you wage jihad on those shutters, right? They're adorable."
Mr. Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, said that for their part, Israel would cease all actions against Palestinian forces, and would immediately withdraw to the 1967 borders. Mr. Olmert also assured reporters that he harbored no ill will toward the Palestinian people or his counterpart, Mr. Zahar.
Said Mr. Olmert of the Palestinian militant forces, "sure they've targeted civilians and carried out the brutal wholesale murder of women and children, but whatever. The Israeli and Palestinian people have a mutual history, and it's time that we reflected on that shared past and acted like brothers."
Indeed, the two leaders spoke side by side at the same podium. Both seemed genuinely congenial and comfortable. The two leaders even announced that they had scheduled a social outing together for the coming weekend.
According to Mr. Olmert, the two plan to visit some area bars, and "maybe shoot a little pool… put a few back." Mr. Olmert then smiled, adding "I just hope this guy can keep up. We all know these Arabs can't hold their liquor."
Reporters in the room fell into a stunned silence, as Mr. Olmert continued, fluttering his hands, and speaking in a mock falsetto voice. "You Hamas guys are all: ‘Oh… oh no! The Koran forbids intoxicating spirits, I can't drink any more…"
Despite the potentially inflammatory teasing, Mr. Zahar laughed before quickly retorting, "Yeah, sure… like you should talk, bro… It's you guys that can't hold their liquor! I swear, it seems like every time I go out drinking with an Israeli they end up getting bombed."
Mr. Zahar then laughed and gave the Israeli leader a playful punch in the shoulder, adding "Oh man, I kid… I kid… but seriously. It's been too long. When was the last time we hung out, like '66?"