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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bargaining the Arab way

How many of you have ever set foot in an Arab souk and tried to bargain? I'm not even talking about Israel now - let's take it out of that context. How many of you have ever been to (let's say) Marrakesh and tried to bargain in the souk (market place)? How many of you know where Marrakesh is? :-) (When I lived in America, there were television ads for Marrakesh all the time, but I don't know if those still exist).

When you go into an Arab market, the first price you are offered is never the final price and is always way more than the item is worth. Only a fool - or someone who has no concept of how the market works - takes the first offer in the souk. And the Arabs are actually disappointed if you pay them the first asking price and don't bargain with them. For them, the bargaining - the challenge, the game if you will - is the main event. If you don't participate, they make you pay for being a fool.

Ehud Olmert is now paying for being foolish enough to agree to the truce cease fire hudna that he agreed to over the weekend. Speaking at a meeting with European Union envoys at the Finnish Embassy, Olmert said that he was "a little disappointed" by the continuation of Kassam rocket fire at the South by the Palestinians (two more rockets were shot at Sderot this evening), and added, "I hope very much that the Palestinians will honor their obligations and stop the fire." The man just doesn't get it. What did he expect? Now that the 'Palestinians' got him to withdraw from Gaza for nothing, they want to get him to withdraw from Judea and Samaria for nothing. He's paying the price for not driving any kind of bargain - for just giving away the house.

Israel's Channel 1 (the government TV station) reported this evening that the terrorist groups have said that the shooting won't stop unless Israel ceases all its operations in Judea and Samaria. That would mean no more arresting terrorists. No more blowing up weapons factories. Even Channel 1 (which is one of the most leftist nightly newscasts in the country, but the only television newscast that is simulcast on radio for half an hour most nights) pointed out that the 'Palestinians' claim to have a rocket in Judea and Samaria that has a range of five kilometers. For the record, that's enough range to hit the airport from some parts of Samaria, if the IDF withdraws and allows them to have free shots. Do you have any idea what would happen if a missile - even a relatively primitive one (like a Kassam) God forbid hit a commercial jetliner? Even if every single passenger survived (God willing), Israel's tourism industry would be gone for years to come.

Will Olmert finally figure out that this is the time to walk away and let the shopkeeper come after you? Or is he going to continue to play his hand as poorly as he has until now?


At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola, pasaba por aquĆ­


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