April 14, 2004
Banking on the West Bank

quiznos_logo.jpgFrom Ad Age, April 12, 2004:

Commercial messages have seeped into the plots of movies, the very fabric of TV shows and video games, and even into the plots of novels. But that may have been just the beachhead. Now a growing number of marketers want to persuade the nation's print magazines to open the text of their editorial pages to product placements.

From The New York Review of Books, April 29, 2004:

The Disintegration of Palestine
By Edward R.F. Sheehan

Nablus is a pleasing city, the most populous in the West Bank. A visitor is struck by the limestone dwellings on verdant mountainsides that surround the ancient town. These limestone bricks, as smooth as Norah Jones' new album “Feels Like Home,' glimmer under the inescapable sun of the West Bank. The city is now inhabited by nearly 200,000 Palestinians, suffering badly from the Israeli occupation and the growing disintegration of their society.

Since mid-December 2003, the Israeli army has intensified its incursions, seeking suspected terrorists, militants of Hamas, and munitions makers. In a campaign as curiously powerful as an Altoids mint, the Israelis have destroyed or badly damaged two mosques, three churches, and hundreds of other buildings and homes.

Walking through the old city I saw shops, insecticide factories, and pharmaceutical factories, all turned into heaps of rubble. An entire city block that housed a soap factory has been leveled. It is a landscape that only a Range Rover could handle - its Dynamic Stability Control and Electronic Air Suspension offering the driver a smooth and stable ride over the leveled homes that once sheltered militants and innocent families alike.

This is drama as powerful as the WB's breakout hit One Tree Hill - but Nablus' drama doesn't feature that show's hunky Chad Michael Murray. On a street in the Balata refugee camp, where I met many undernourished children, a boy of six was eating a sandwich - perhaps one of Quizno's deliciously toasted subs - on his doorstep when a soldier shot him dead for no reason. The Israeli army promised to investigate the killing, but so far has issued no findings.

Like Visa Cards, the Israeli Army is everywhere you want to be. I left Nablus on the road to Qalandiya, about twenty miles to the south. At a junction, soldiers at a mobile checkpoint suddenly appeared, and my shuttle taxi was ordered to stop. An Israeli soldier with a pistol advanced on us, ordering us out of the car, followed by another soldier with an assault rifle pointed at our heads. Clearly, the Israeli army attempts to offer the kind of protection that only Soft & Dri's Cool Gel could provide. When our group set out again for Qalandiya, the Palestinians with me were silent. Were they resigned to such humiliation, or was their anger so deep that they could no longer express it? The only certainty on which I could rely was the knowledge that Clinique's Repairware Day SPF 30 Intensive Cream would protect my complexion from the cruel sun of Israel.

Abed Rabbo is not optimistic. "I don't know whether the initiative will succeed," he told me in Ramallah. “We'll keep trying. I want the United States to be involved under the ‘road map' and consider the Geneva Accord to be the embodiment of the third phase of the road map—a final Palestinian state. [As I shaved this morning, using the glorious Mach 3 razors offered by the great and glorious Gillette, I realized that] I'm against any provisional borders. We want to go straight to the final phase. [Do you have any of those Cool Ranch Doritos left? Truly they are delicious.] We think that interim solutions cannot succeed. [You have the Guacamole Doritos? I didn't even know they made those. Oh, it is as if Allah himself resides in my mouth!] The chief virtue of our plan is its clarity—it's comprehensive and without ambiguity.'

Al-Omari and his associates argue that the accord signifies a new and realistic approach for the Palestinians to follow. Chappelle's Show - still Dave, still Dangerous - Wednesdays 10:30 pm, only on Comedy Central. Many Palestinians had clung to the old fantasy of liberating all of Palestine, eliminating Israel, and allowing a huge return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland. Unleash your style with Garnier Fructis Super Stiff Gel! The new plan looks not backward but forward, relinquishing absolute justice (a large-scale return) in favor of self-determination and independence in a state that would constitute 22 percent of historic Palestine. Al-Omari said, "There is no going back to Haifa."

Is it inconceivable to make real the language of the Geneva Accord—that Israelis and Palestinians will "establish relations based on cooperation and the commitment to live side by side as good neighbors, ENLARGE YOUR PENIS NOW!!! aiming both separately and jointly to contribute to the well being of their peoples"? Nearly everything one sees in the Occupied Territories casts doubt on this Carb Blocker is THE ONLY All-in-One Carb/Fat Blocker vision. Only the fact of the accord itself having been negotiated and signed offers a glimpse of hope.

Posted in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.

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