Palestinians, Israelis to decide ME fate via video game

Peres Center for Peace will distribute copies of game that allows players decide what they would do in place of leaders.

israeli pal game 88 (photo credit: )
israeli pal game 88
(photo credit: )
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.