Disney Supports New Solution to Status of Jerusalem

 
	  Jerusalem (JFP)--When U.S. peace negotiator Dennis Ross was asked
	  by reporters, immediately following the conclusion of the grueling
	  Hebron accord, where his next destination would be, the weary
	  diplomat answered "I want to go to Disneyland." Most observers
	  understood this to be nothing more than a wish for well-deserved
	  relaxation from the exhausting demands of Middle East diplomacy.
 
	  However, sources close to the Netanyahu government have now let
	  it slip that Ross's words were actually a veiled hint at a possible
	  solution to the next, most difficult  stage, in the implementation of 
	  the peace process, the formidable discussions regarding the final
	  status of Jerusalem. A potential breakthrough in the anticipated
	  impasse may now have been reached as a result of an unexpected
	  offer from the Disney corporation.

	  Although all parties concerned insist that the final arrangements will
	  have to be settled through direct negotiations between the involved
	  parties, the preliminary details are as follows:
 
	  The Old City of Jerusalem will be leased for an undetermined length of
	  time to the Disney corporation, who will turn it into a religious theme
	  park that will tentatively be called "Holy Land." The park will be
	  subdivided into "Jewish Land," "Christian Land" and "Muslim Land," with
	  the area of each coinciding roughly with the extent of Old Jerusalem's
	  present religious "quarters."
 
	  Precise blueprints for the park have of course not been finalised, but
	  the Disney planners, speaking off the record, were visibly enthusiastic
	  about the potential for a series of mechanical rides and roller
	  coasters based on appropriate themes. "We have already produced outlines
	  of a simulation in which visitors, drive along on tracks, will retrace
	  the steps of the High Priest through the ancient Temple, culminating in
	  a special surprise in the Holy of Holies." A similar ride has been
	  devised for the Via Dolorosa, following the stations of the cross.
 
	  The greatest excitement is being generated by the projected
	  "Muhammad's Night Journey" ride which will be based on the Muslim
	  prophet's ascent on the steed Buraq through the heavens from the
	  Al-Aqsa mosque.
	 
	  Officials of the Israeli government were understandably reluctant about
	  confirming the above plans. However one spokesman, Michael
	  Ma'oz of the Foreign Ministry, agreed to discuss some of the issues
	  involved, stressing that none of these statements were, at this moment,
	  more than distant speculations.
 
	  When asked about likely opposition from Israel's powerful Orthodox
	  parties, Ma'oz replied that this appears to be less of a problem than
	  previously feared. Disney has agreed to make generous contributions to a
	  number of yeshivahs and other religious institutions. "Many
	  ultra-Orthodox seem quite pleased by the prospect that they can get	
	  paid in dollars just for walking around in their traditional clothing.
	  In fact," said Ma'oz, "the rabbis were generally less concerned with the
	  content of the park, which their own people would be unlikely to visit,
	  than with receiving assurances that the Disney folks will not allow the
	  inclusion of any "Reform Street" or "Conservative Square" (A Disney
	  representative did however suggest that non-Orthodox neighbourhoods
	  might be included in prospective satellite parks outside of Israel).
 
	  Asked whether this would contradict Prime Minister Netanyahu's
	  pre-election commitment to an eternally united Israeli Jerusalem,
	  Mr. Ma'oz muttered an obscure comment about Pinocchio's nose,
	  and proceeded to point out how "Egged"'s proposed new combined
	  monorail and roller-coaster would provide welcome relief from the
	  capital's traffic congestion.
	 
	  A representative of the Jerusalem Waqf, `Adan al-Duq, was visibly
	  upset when approached with questions about the alleged plan.  
	  However, he too acknowledged that the anticipated antagonism 
	  from fundamentalist circles would probably not materialise.
 
	  "The Disney people appear to have learned their lesson from the Aladdin
	  fiasco. They were very reasonable about withdrawing their original
	  suggestion about attaching mouse-ears to the Dome of the
	  Rock, and will definitely not be opening any new tunnels. Also, a
	  private agreement may have been reached with President Arafat." Mr.
	  al-Duq was reluctant to go into detail, but rumours circulating in the
	  Jericho marketplace speak of a Disney commitment to allow Mr.
	  Arafat to fulfill a childhood dream involving wearing a costume
	  (possibly of a character from "Snow White") at the California
	  Disneyland.
 
	  Sources in the Holy See hinted at a package deal that would allow for
	  the eventual establishment of a "Vatican Land" in Rome.
	 
	  The issue that troubles most people about the plan, is of course, the
	  security question: Can the Disney crew maintain law and order in the
	  volatile environment of Jerusalem's Old City?
	 
	  "No problem!" a spokesperson assured us. Remember that the
	  Disney family has official links with at least one world-famous
	  law-enforcement agency. "I can't reveal anything official at this stage,
	  but we expect the area to be policed by an agency that we refer to as
	  the `Temple Mounties'."
 
	  Standing at the foot of the Temple Mount, the Disney representative
	  assured us that every effort would be made not to alter or interfere
	  with the city's traditional religious life-styles and traditions. His
	  assurance was symbolically underscored as the ancient chant of
	  the muezzin filled the air with the proclamation "Allah hu `Achbar."
	





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