Long-Standing Conflict Ends As Israel Returns Lawn Mower To Palestine

Top Headlines


How Refugees Are Admitted Into The U.S.

The United States’ effort to accept Syrian refugees seeking asylum has been the subject of much controversy over security concerns and the rigor of the vetting process. Here are the steps involved in a refugee’s arrival in America

Strategies To Defeat ISIS

Following last week’s deadly Paris attacks and numerous other violent incidents perpetrated by the terror group ISIS, many governments and populations worldwide are wondering how we can eliminate this threat. Here are some strategies to defeat the Islamic State:

Obama Returns From Trade Summit With 5 Stout Ships Full Of Cardamom, Silk, And Indigo

WASHINGTON— Exhausted, berimed with salt, and haggard from his long sea journey, but nevertheless triumphant as he guided his fleet to port following the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Barack Obama is said to have made harbor in Washington, D.C.’s anchorage Monday, his five sturdy galleons choked to the very gunwales with the finest silks, casks of redolent cardamom, and great cakes of vivid dye-of-indigo retrieved from the far Orient.

Goals Of The U.N. General Assembly

The 70th United Nations General Assembly takes place this week, with member countries focusing on plans to address global sustainability, economic growth, and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other major topics. Here are the main goals of this year’s assembly:

Pope Francis’ U.S. Itinerary

Pope Francis is making his first visit to the U.S. this week, with stops in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia as he speaks to government officials and conducts large-scale masses. Here is a full itinerary of the pope’s visit

A Primer On Pope Francis’ Views

Pope Francis has garnered much international attention in the first two and a half years of his papacy, taking a more liberal approach to women’s issues, the family unit, and the environment than his predecessors. Here is a primer on prominent global issues and the pope’s views on them:

Shoddy Chinese-Made Stock Market Collapses

SHANGHAI—Proving to be just as flimsy and precarious as many observers had previously warned, the Chinese-made Shanghai Composite index completely collapsed Monday, sources confirmed.

Why Westerners Join ISIS

With more than 150 Americans accused of attempting to fight alongside ISIS in Syria and countless young Europeans allegedly joining or supporting the terrorist group, many are left wondering what a population of extremists has to offer Westerners a world away. Here are some reasons these people might want to ally with ISIS

Nicaraguan Diplomat Drops Deadly Spider Onto John Kerry’s Blanket

ISLA GRANDE DEL MAÍZ, NICARAGUA—Creeping stealthily into the bungalow where John Kerry lay sleeping after a trade summit Thursday, Nicaraguan Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Santos López, illuminated only by a sliver of moon, reportedly slid open the lid of a small pine box and released a deadly Brazilian wandering spider onto the blanket of his American counterpart.

What’s Next For U.S.-Cuban Relations

After 54 years of closure, the U.S. embassy in Havana and the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. each began flying their flags once more this week, a symbol of the restored diplomatic ties between the two nations. Here is what we can expect from the relationship going forward

U.S. Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles

WASHINGTON—Following Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s heated objections to the nuclear deal struck between the United States and Iran, American officials announced Tuesday that they were calming the upset head of government by treating him to a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles.

World Begins Another Day At Mercy Of 19-Year-Old Estonian Hacker

TALLINN, ESTONIA—With the private data of national governments and entire global industries at his fingertips, sources confirmed this morning that yet another day had begun with the whole world helplessly at the mercy of 19-year-old Estonian computer hacker Jüri Pevkur.

FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States

Global Soccer Tournament To Kick Off In America Later This Afternoon

ZURICH—After the Justice Department indicted numerous executives from world soccer’s governing body on charges of corruption and bribery, frantic and visibly nervous officials from FIFA held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to announce that the United States has been selected to host this summer’s 2015 World Cup.

Items Found In Bin Laden’s Compound

On Wednesday, the U.S. government declassified more than 400 documents and other material seized from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout during the 2011 raid that resulted in his death. Here are some of the items found in the former al-Qaeda leader’s compound

U.S. Worried About Living Up To Netanyahu Campaign Promises

WASHINGTON—Saying the Likud Party leader had set Israeli citizens’ expectations extremely high in the run up to his reelection Tuesday, top-level sources expressed their worry Wednesday about whether the United States would actually be able to...

A Timeline Of U.S.-Israel Relations

A congressional visit from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that has reportedly rankled President Obama is the latest issue in what have often been strained diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Mankind Tired Of Having To Remind Itself Of Good In World

PARIS—In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and two ensuing armed standoffs that together left over a dozen innocent civilians dead, humankind admitted Friday that it is sick and tired of having ...

Schlubs From U.S., China Meet In Lowest-Level Talks

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—In an effort to strengthen diplomatic ties between the global superpowers’ most oafish representatives, sources confirmed Thursday that schlubs from the United States and China met in Australia this week for a series of low...

Iranian Team Openly Working On Bomb In Negotiating Room

VIENNA—Asserting the Middle Eastern nation’s right to a safe, peaceful energy program, members of the Iranian diplomatic team attempted to seek more favorable terms of a deal with the P5+1 global powers while openly assembling a nuclear weapon...

Where Is Kim Jong-Un?

North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public since September 3. Here is the latest speculation on his whereabouts

How China Stifles Dissent

Recent clashes with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have refocused international scrutiny on the Chinese government’s efforts to quell social unrest and silence demonstrators.

Nation Admits It Could Probably Be Talked Into Another War

WASHINGTON—While they acknowledged that getting behind such a plan might take a little convincing, the American populace admitted this week that they could, in all likelihood, be talked into another war. Citizens across the nation told reporters tha...

Ugly Custody Battle Over Ian McKellen Narrowly Avoided

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—Following Scotland’s referendum Thursday rejecting independence from the United Kingdom, sources confirmed that a protracted and ugly custody battle over celebrated actor Sir Ian McKellen had been narrowly avoided.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage



Long-Standing Conflict Ends As Israel Returns Lawn Mower To Palestine

JERUSALEM—Decades of ethnic tension ceased instantaneously Monday when Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas shook hands over a comprehensive agreement to return a faded green lawn mower first borrowed by Israel in 1949.

The Israeli prime minister apologizes for not refilling the tank first.

The historic accord, whose sole term was the long-awaited return of the hotly contested lawn-care device, was signed amid cheers and applause from representatives of both nations. Celebrations were reported across the Middle East, as Jews and Muslims came together by the thousands to rejoice in the streets.

The return of the disputed item brings an end to half a century of violence and bloodshed in the borrowed-lawn-mower-torn region.

"With the return of the mower to the cherished homeland, the healing process can finally begin," Abbas told a cheering crowd of more than 100,000 Israelis and Palestinians who gathered at the border to watch a lawn mower handover many thought would never take place in their lifetimes. "Now, I call on all Palestinians to cease all aggression toward our neighbors, so that we may live harmoniously alongside them while finally getting started on a lawn that has been badly in need of cutting for three generations."

The lawn mower, a rusty two-stroke 1943 Lawn Boy, holds a value that is largely symbolic and, due to its poor condition, has not actually been used by Israeli Self-Groundskeeping Forces since 1989. It reportedly starts only after repeated yanking on its pull-cord, requires liberal sprays of starter fluid, belches thick acrid smoke, must be laboriously pushed due to a faulty drive roller, and has no accompanying grass-clipping collection bag. But geopolitical experts agree that it is the principle of the lawn mower, more than the machine itself, that has led to 60 years of airstrikes, rocket launcher attacks, and suicide bombings, with countless dead and tragically poor yard maintenance on both sides.

"A loaner is a loaner, whether it's a rusted-out hunk of junk or not," said Dr. Sayid Al-Habib, a noted Palestinian diplomat. "Sure, it leaks oil, and yes, we were probably going to throw it out anyway, but that is not the point. When you borrow something, you return it."

The mower was originally lent to Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, in November 1949 as a good-faith gesture by Palestinians seeking to reach out to the people who had appropriated 80 percent of their land and wished to cut the grass growing there. However, when the mower had not been returned by the next spring, and Palestine's own lawn began to get out of control, social unrest grew along with it.

"The conflict had gone on for so long that many of us had forgotten what we were fighting about in the first place," Israeli spokesman Mark Regev, flanked by cheerful members of the now-defunct Palestinian Islamic Jihad, told reporters at press conference in downtown Jerusalem. "Though at first Israel had every intention of returning the mower, some hard-liners in the Knesset objected to doing so until Palestine returned our hedge clippers. Then there was the matter of several extension cords which were borrowed without asking by various pan-Arab power blocs. Soon, as you all know, the situation spiraled out of control."

"But now everything is totally fine," he added.

By the late 1950s, the lawn mower had become a central point of dispute between the two groups. In 1964, Daoud Mikhail founded the Palestinian Lawnmower Organization around the central tenet of the "right of return" of the mower from Israel. When Israel refused to recognize the PLO, frustrated Palestinians resorted to chopping off the branches of Israeli trees that extended over Palestinian lawns. In response, Israel razed 40,000 acres of olive groves, beginning a cycle of escalating violence that would include Palestinian suicide bombings, Israeli bulldozing of Palestine's lawn, the erection of a much larger fence between the two nations' properties, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The dispute also resulted in the 2003 death of an American pro-Palestinian activist who laid down in front of the lawn mower as an Israeli Army edger-trimmer squad cut disputed grass. Refusing to move when ordered, he was tragically mulched.

"Now that Israel has finally returned this mower, we look forward to friendly relations between our two nations for all time," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said at the United Nations Monday. "We will immediately return the disputed Israeli Frisbee that landed on our roof decades ago, invite the Israelis to join the Palestinian Neighborhood Organization, and act in concert with them to demand the return of the basketball stolen by Syria in 1979."