Stories from Afar & Up Close


So now we can call to Palestine. Until yesterday, if you wanted to talk to someone in the Occupied Territories, you’d have to call from Lebanon to Jordan, and Jordan would connect you to Gaza, Ramallah or the West Bank. It was the first decision of the new minister of telecommunications of the brand new Lebanese government, to open the lines with some of our Southern neighbors. We still can’t make phone-calls to Israel, though. But Israel can call us. They did, during the war of July 2006, to tell us that we were playing with fire by allowing Hassan Nasrallah to ‘play around in our country’, and that we would burn for it. Not that we didn’t notice already. Apparently they are still doing the telephonic anti-propaganda, because a few days ago Walid’s grandfather picked up the receiver and heard a voice explaining to him in perfect Arabic that really, it’s time to get rid of Hezbollah. The old man, not knowing it was a recording on the other end of the line, gave them a piece of his mind: he would decide who to support and who not.

So what if we could call Israel? Would anyone there listen to political advice from this side of the border?