How come we don't have more colorful leaders?

In terms of political drama, Israelis and Palestinians have got nothing on the Japanese.

By RAY HANANIA
September 7, 2009 21:37
2 minute read.

 
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In spite of all the news Palestinians and Israelis produce each day, we really are pretty boring people. I mean, we have nothing on the Japanese. The big news in Japan last week is that Miyuki Hatoyama, wife of incoming Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, says she traveled to Venus in the 1970s in a UFO. She's talking about the planet, not a 'happy place' or the local beauty spa. Mrs. Hatoyama detailed the unusual trip in her book called Most Bizarre Things I've Encountered. I have racked my brain to think of anything that even comes close to that in the many stories about Palestinians and Israelis. There was a rumor once that during the peace process (remember that?), Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin wagered at the roulette table at the Jericho casino. Arafat offered Rabin double or nothing on "returning" the West Bank. IN TRUTH, most of the stories about Palestinians and Israelis are about tragedies, missed opportunities, name-calling, the blame game and, sadly, continued violence. I did read an Israeli press release reporting that a Palestinian prisoner in one of the country's many prisons had been killed by a "nonlethal weapon." I could only imagine what might have happened had the weapon been lethal. On another occasion, Hamas leaders tried to explain that Martyr Mouse was merely an orphaned cartoon character whose family had been blown up by Israeli cartoon characters during a siege at a cartoon checkpoint near a cartoon settlement. And the mouse suffered from a slight lisp that distorted everything it said. When Martyr Mouse urged kiddies to "do their best to kill the Jews," all it was trying to tell young Palestinians who watch Hamas television was to "do their best to fill the news." It must work, because Hamas does "fill the news." Still, it would be kind of cool if we could get Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to set aside all the heavy problems and talk about some of his own unusual experiences. I can see Netanyahu, cold and calculating as only a prime minister could be, playing a wildly romantic character in a Hollywood movie. For all his hard-lining, some Palestinian women have compared him to the late Paul Newman. The same Palestinian women have told me they think Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reminds then of Mahatma Gandhi, the fearless and nonviolent leader of India. Of course, there isn't any salt to fight over in Palestine like there is in India. And while Gandhi used to gum his own leather into soft shirts and wraps, Abbas leaves all the cooking to the women. Still, neither has ever taken a trip to another planet. Nor have they been kidnapped by aliens. Although come to think of it, I wonder how Palestinians and Israelis might react if a UFO landed atop the wall (fence, barricade, whatever) and declared that the Holy Land belonged to them and they wanted it back. DO YOU think that might be enough to push Palestinians and Israelis to join together against someone besides each other? Everyone says that if Palestinians and Israelis could just resolve their conflict, they could become the most powerful combined force in the Middle East. Sadly, Palestinians and Israelis are not as lucky. All we have is run-of-the-mill conflict. Anger. Hatred. Violence. Nothing unusual, strange or hard to believe, like visiting Venus in a spaceship. We can only hope, though. The writer is a columnist, stand-up comedian and Chicago radio talk show host. You can hear his program every afternoon at 16:00pm Israel time on-line at www.RadioChicagoland.com.

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