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Guest entry from my sister Lisa:

It was really great to talk to you on Friday. Let's do it more often, yes?

I think that you'll like the following article Lee Hockstader is one of my favourite commentators.

Yesterday the BBC - which always reports that the Israelis "claim", whereas the Palestinians "say" - reported that the Israeli army had cut off Arafat's phone and electricity, and that Arafat's life was in imminent danger. Meanwhile, Arafat sent a fax to Israel's Channel 2 News at about the same time. Wonder how he got the fax machine to work - with no electricity and no phone line? Later, a CNN crew entered Arafat's offices and said that there was no evidence of any damage to Arafat's four-room offices - that everyone there was heavily armed, and in good spirits. The CNN reporter said that Arafat's men asked him for cigarettes. Watching Arafat's smiling face, I got the feeling that he was having a really good time: must be a lot more fun to be interviewed by the international media, and making dramatic statements, than actually having to deal with boring old stuff like making a better life for his people. Don't go to! school! Strap some explosives to your body and head for the nearest Israeli restaurant!

And please, don't get me started on Sharon. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, he's the worst leader we could possibly have - except for all the others. (Bibi? Nyet. Barak? Double nyet.)

Hello? The economy is in a shambles. Unemployment is over 10%. Foreign investors won't touch Israel as long as the conflict goes on. Hello? Maybe if we evacuated the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza we could normalize relations with the Arab world. Hello? Wouldn't *that* be a really effective way to isolate Arafat? If Israel had normalized relations with all of his supposed allies?

Diana won't meet me at restaurants or cafes anymore. If we want to get together, I have to go to her place. She has coined the term GAD (general anxiety disorder) to describe her fears...

I don't fear for my physical safety, but am obsessed with watching the news - and horrified at how badly the situation has deterioriated.

And just watch, it'll only get worse.

Wish that I could write about something else, but we're all going through one of those phases when everything seems irrelevant except the conflict.

A few days ago I was sitting in a cafe on a quiet side street, writing in my journal, when a swarthy, bearded young man, carrying a backpack, entered. He put his backpack on a chair at a table next to me, then went to the washroom. What should I do? I wondered. Mustn't be hysterical. Check please! I called to the waitress. Eyeing the backpack, imagining its contents ticking quietly, I stuffed my journal into my bag, and stood up as the waitress approached with the bill. Then the swarthy, bearded young man emerged from the washroom, just as a smiling young woman, dressed in a short denim skirt and platform boots, entered the cafe and greeted him in Hebrew. They hugged and sat down. I sat down again, too. And suddenly it was quiet, because the roaring sound in my ears had subsided.

I am going to take an escapist thriller novel to read in a cafe. I will order a double espresso with hot milk on the side, and I will not look suspiciously at any bearded, swarthy young men carrying backpacks.

Then maybe I'll go to see Gosford Park. A murder in an English country house, during the 1930s. How wonderfully Agatha Christie! How fabulously escapist!

I have a job interview with Amdocs, for a technical writing position. The job requires frequent travel abroad. This is not a drawback!

Lancome face cream costs 50% less at duty-free.

Happy Pesach.

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