Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has called on Israel and Hamas to show restraint, as Israeli forces push further into the Gaza Strip following another night of raids that brought the Palestinian death toll to over 500.
Speaking from Cliff Richard’s house on the sun kissed island of Barbados, the Middle East peace envoy described how repeated telephone calls and emails have been distracting him from the important business of perfecting his serve and completing a game of mixed doubles with Cliff, Cherie and Cilla Black.
"The terrible events and tragic loss of life in Gaza are all very well, but in the immediate term, the introduction of a genuine calm is vital to me getting on with my holiday. What the Israeli government and Hamas leadership forget is that I was PM for ten years and the job left very little time for tennis. We need to devise a new strategy for Gaza, but not until I have won a set against Cliff 7-5. Therefore, I now call on both sides to take a step back from the brink until I’ve improved my game enough to fly over there and help."
An Israeli government spokesman was sympathetic to Mr Blair’s plight. Mark Regev of the foreign ministry said that his golf handicap was in severe trouble and the latest fighting in Gaza was keeping him from arresting the decline. “I’ve tried chipping hand grenades over the fence into Gaza but they just aren’t the right shape to help me make up for lost practice.”
Hamas however were unrepentant. Foreign spokesman Mahmoud Zahhar dismissed the calls for a truce. “The tennis games of Mr Blair and his friends are of no concern to us. We will continue to attack Israel until their promise to build us a football ground is delivered. Last week the Gaza under 12 tournament final had to be cancelled because the teams had nowhere to play. The Zionist scum will pay for this in blood.”