Dear Mr Fooley (or may I call you Luke?*)
Just got back from my Labor Parliamentary Excursion, dividing my time equally between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as you requested. What a trip! My feet hardly touched the ground!
Monday: Arrived at Lod Airport, after circling around to avoid being blasted out of the sky by IS, Hamas, Hezbollah, and a bunch of other peace-loving friends of the Palestinian Arab People's Struggle to Wipe The Perfidious Jew Off The Face Off The Earth Praise Be To Allah. Grabbed some duty-frees and headed into downtown Tel Aviv. Looks just like Surfers Paradise meets Surry Hills. Cool hipsters and hot chicks everywhere. Grabbed a quick beer and a burger, bought some fab new apps and software and …
Oops! Time to go to Palestine Authority. Drove into downtown Ramallah. Looks like Mogadishu meets the Mudgee tip. Litter everywhere. Armed guards and machine gun-wielding Mafiosi types wandering around everywhere, too. Try to grab a quick beer, but, er …
Oops! Gotta get back to Israel. Meet some scientists who invented the smartphone industry, or all the cool stuff like Viber and Waze. Plus they invented all this bionic stuff that helps paraplegics and things that stop crib deaths and things that cure …
Yikes! Gotta get back to Palestine Authority. Meet a bunch of dudes who invented the grievance industry. They explain how Israel has been oppressing them for decades. I ask them in what way exactly and they explain, "by existing".Cripes! Back to Jerusalem. Beautiful old city. Visit the Wailing Wall, which is all that's left of the original 3000-year-old Jewish temple where the dudes in black hats go and nod. Anyone can go but you gotta be careful coz Arab kids like to chuck rocks at you when you're praying. Or use kitchen knives on the back of your neck.
Temple Mount Next. Head up to the Palestinian bit that sits on top of the Temple Mount, only you're not allowed to call it that up here, you have to call it the al-Aqsa Mosque. Lucky I'm not Jewish, coz Jews aren't allowed in. (Er, isn't that racist?)
OK, OK, I'm coming! Back on the bus and a quick trip to Sderot, this little town in the desert. Crazy architecture! Every house has a huge concrete bomb shelter in the front garden, every bus-stop doubles as a bomb shelter, even the kiddies playground doubles as a bomb shelter. Cool! I ask people how come they stay here when they're only ever 15 seconds from being annihilated and they say that it's their home and they love it. Fair enough.
There's a house on the hill that looks really nice, even though it's been hit by rockets and re-repaired a dozen times. Cool.
Off to Gaza! Wow. Crazy architecture. Every hospital doubles as a rocket-launching pad, every kiddies playground doubles as a missile silo! Far out! I ask people how come they stay here and they explain that Hamas will shoot them if they try to leave. Fair point.
There's a suburb on the hill that looks really nice but you're only allowed to live in it if you've had your kids blow themselves up killing Jews.
Quick smart! Back to Israel. Go to the funky Knesset Parliament building. Time to discuss politics! Oh boy! None of them agree on anything! They all argue like crazy about the best way to achieve peace (that's democracy, I guess) and if they can make the two-state solution work. Everyone agrees a Palestinian state is fine, as long as they stop trying to kill Jews. Fair point.
Back to Ramallah. Weirdly, in the middle of all the rubbish and filth there are these incredibly opulent buildings that look like massive McMansions on steroids!
Turns out they all belong to the Palestinian Authority dudes and were built with all that United Nations billions! How cool is that! We go to this marble-clad ballroom in this building that looks like a Gold Coast hotel. Time to discuss politics! Oh boy. The dude explains that the only way there can be peace is if there are two states: one called Palestine, which has no Jews in it, and the other called Whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it, as long as there are "only a handful" of Jews in it. Huh? Sounds, um, a tad unreasonable.
Back to the hotel. Chill out in front of the telly and watch a doco about how Israel is inventing stuff to tackle climate change. Really interesting. (Why do we want to boycott that?)
Yikes! Luke said we gotta give equal time to Palestinian TV too! Flick on to a kids program. Really interesting. The presenter is dressed up as a clown and is using a rag doll to demonstrate how to, er, murder Jews. (Shouldn't we be boycotting that?)
Whew! Can't wait for tomorrow.
(*Ed. note: Luke Foley is the head of the Australian Labor party)