Monday, November 26, 2007

Peace talks are a game

Some people feel that video games are the correct solution to the Middle East peace problems. Not the Palestinian bombers, or the corrupt (Israeli) leadership, or even the lack of spine (and power/authority) of any of the negotiators.

A new video game will be distributed that will help solve the problem! Try to empathize with the Palestinians as they blow themselves up and kill as many innocents as possible (though you won't survive long like that apparently).

The only question is - Why didn't they just give Olmert and Livni (and Abbas) copies of the game INSTEAD of letting them go to Annapolis to discuss real life stuff. (Preferably if they could also distribute it to Hamas leaders and followers as well). I'm not exactly sure what they are referring to with this line "Israeli attacks in the West Bank and Gaza" - does that mean Baruch Goldstein, or the people of Sderot dodging missiles?

Apparently 'game theory' can solve everything!

While their leaders meet in the US to negotiate, thousands of Palestinians and Israelis will be given the chance to determine the fate of the Mideast - virtually.

The Peres Center for Peace on Sunday said it is distributing 100,000 copies of a computer game called "PeaceMaker" to Israelis and Palestinians.

The game disk will be handed out on Tuesday, the same day that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are scheduled to meet in Annapolis, Maryland.

"PeaceMaker" players must choose whether to be a Palestinian or Israeli leader. They must cope with Palestinian suicide bombers, Israeli attacks in the West Bank and Gaza, hawkish Israeli groups, Palestinian terrorists and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Palestinian refugee camps.

As Israeli leader, it is possible to bomb Palestinian targets every time a suicide bombing occurs, and the Palestinian leader can ignore Israeli pressure to arrest militants before they attack Jewish towns. But those kinds of leaders don't last - at least in the game.

"The way is pragmatism, entering the role of the other. You must take into account the other side," said Ron Pundak, director of the Peres Center for Peace, which is distributing the game in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

A copy of the peace game will be sent to Olmert and Abbas once they return from Annapolis, Pundak said. He hoped Palestinians and Israelis, including their leaders, would try switching roles, at least for the game.

"It will help (each side) understand limitations of each one's president and leader, and as well the limitation of the other side," he said.
The games will be distributed with leading Arabic and Hebrew newspapers, although in the first round of distribution, more Israelis than Palestinians will receive the game.

The game was designed by ImpactGames, a Pittsburgh company jointly founded by two Carnegie Mellon University graduates: Asi Burak, a former Israeli army intelligence official, and Eric Brown, an American software developer.

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