For a very interesting interview with Benny Begin, mostly on politics, click here.
I am only a geologist, not a psychologist. Nor am I a nephrologist or a cardiologist - I do not read people's inner thoughts. But I wonder whether the bellicose cries in Kadima for war to topple Hamas are not related to an attempt to atone for the grave mistake of handing territory to Hamas
In difficult times such as this, a smile is sometimes needed. This is courtesy of one of the blog's anonymous fans:
In a carefully worded statement released on the eighth day of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s security cabinet confirmed that it would be “running down” the offensive, in a move widely-expected after high-level diplomatic calls for a ceasefire on Friday. Addressing a news conference in Tel Aviv, a shaken-looking Ehud Barak – Israel’s defence minister – later explained the decision, singling out Annie Lennox’s call for a hiatus in the bombing as “the final nail in the coffin”.
“Whilst we are not keen to be seen to kowtow to demands from the outside world, there are occasions when we have to acknowledge where the protests are emanating from, and the impact of their words on future negotiations”, he said. “Annie Lennox has, for a long time now, been a major behind-the-scenes player in the Middle East peace process, and is fast becoming a significant actor in political circles”, he continued. “For her to break cover and go public with her petition was not something we [the government] felt we could ignore, hence our decision to bring an end to Cast Lead”.
Scenes of jubilation in Gaza greeted the Israeli announcement, with Hamas immediately declaring Lennox a “living shaheed”, urging all the group’s supporters to purchase as much of Lennox’s back catalogue as possible, in order to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. “And not just the early stuff, either”, boomed Hamas musical attaché Mahmoud Al-Suwani from a hastily-assembled stage in a crowded Gaza square. “Her solo albums also deserve to be recognised by the united Palestinian people. Particularly ‘Medusa’, which – despite being comprised of cover songs – still ranks up there with anything the Eurythmics released beforehand”.
In the southern Israeli town of Sderot, which bore the brunt of Hamas’ Kassam rocket fire for several years, residents retreated from their previous hawkish positions upon hearing of Lennox’s plea - acknowledging that “there are times to fight, and times to accede to the demands of somewhat washed-up and irrelevant lesbian icons”, according to Sderot’s mayor. “Whilst we are sorry that doyens of the eighties rock scene haven’t granted our military sufficient time in which to complete their mission, we nonetheless are grateful to have been allowed as much leeway as we have to carry out at least part of our task – despite earlier setbacks”.
He was thought to have been referring to last week’s minor political spat involving three of Queen’s backing singers, who issued an unofficial statement via Sony BMG calling for an unconditional ceasefire, before swiftly retracting the demand amid rumours of infighting between various soft-rock factions involved in the peace process.
This is not the first time that the worlds of popular music and unpopular military campaigns have collided – as witnessed earlier this year, when Ethiopia’s ruling party finally caved in to pressure from A-Ha frontman Morten Harket and withdrew their troops from Somalia. At the time, Harket’s intervention was predicted by many commentators as heralding a new age of blurred boundaries between international diplomacy and Top 40 songsmiths.
“In an era when domestic public opinion is shaped by the stars of yesteryear, it is not unthinkable that generals of armed forces around the world will also sit up and take note when platinum-selling stadium gods speak out about the wisdom of their military strategies”, wrote Simon Jenkins in the Guardian. “Furthermore, with the likes of Paula Abdul able to marshal millions of votes supporting her proclamations on American Idol every week, the logical next step could see armies and militias deciding their tactics on the basis of a ‘Strictly Come Carpet-Bombing’ interaction with the TV-watching public”.
Defence Minister Barak has, it is believed, privately expressed his support for such a move in relation to Israel’s forty-one year occupation of the West Bank. Sources close to his staff suggest that he is ready to utilise mass-telephonic voting in order to avoid deeply unpopular moves such as the infamous Disengagement of 2005. “Back then, the government relied on the advice of Bananarama to make up their minds about the move”, an anonymous diplomat stated. “At the time, it seemed entirely rational to canvass, and act upon, the opinion of those who had achieved chart success via saccharine pop music twenty years ago in another continent, but in hindsight it wasn’t the Israeli government’s finest hour”.
With that in mind, he was sceptical of the wisdom of Barak’s latest move. “Whilst acceding to Lennox might shore up international opinion in the short term, going forward it would seem far wiser to rely on weekly Saturday night viewers’ votes to help us decide how to rid the scourge of Islamic terror and fundamentalism from our midst”. Lennox herself was unavailable for comment in the wake of the ceasefire, her spokesman announcing that she had immediately turned her attention to tackling the ever-deteriorating situation in Angola, in which she had the “unwavering support” of political titan Roland Rat and his aide-de-camp Kevin the Gerbil.
There's a lot of anger in the world towards Israel lately, and I've seen a lot of it online since the beginning of this war. A good friend of mine found a suitable strategy to confront these anti-Israel online activists when I discussed with him the difficulty I was having with some of them. He remarked that a person should ask themselves whether they'd support Israel's actions if Hamas was not fighting from heavily populated civilian areas. If they say no, you know 'what' you're dealing with. If they say yes, then the natural question would be how can Israel be blamed for Hamas deliberately endangering their own citizens by fighting this way, and should this be the reason Israel not defend her citizens? It's not easy times for us (or for the innocent civilians stuck on their side) - but we'll overcome. As the famous Meir Ariel song goes ... "We overcame Pharoah, we'll overcome this too."