It all started when millions of Americans awoke in the middle of the night, as their mobile phones buzzed with a warning of a “ROCKET ATTACK”. Within minutes, the emergency services collapsed under the weight of incoming calls, and President Obama received that 3AM phone call alerting him of a national emergency. Across the Atlantic, thousands of panicked Londoners spilled out of buses and trains during the morning rush hour, and the Queen spilled tea on herself when the royal iPhone flashed red. Was the Cold War back on?
As everyone was soon to discover, Israel’s elite Unit 8200 had just launched Operation Outstretched Arm (Zro’ah Netuya): a cyber-attack on every smartphone in the world, infecting it with the Red Alert app, which buzzes every time a rocket is fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. For those who have not yet installed it, Red Alert is the most annoying app ever invented: it literally does not stop buzzing.
Israel officially denied involvement (“vot, from our textile factory?”), but the world soon understood that it was not under missile attack. Relief soon gave way to irritation, which gave way to tedium, in turn giving way to delirium, as every smartphone on the planet flashed “ROCKET ALERT” at least 100 times a day.
Apple was so overwhelmed by the volume of angry customers that it redirected their calls to the Israeli Embassy’s hotline, so that they could hear from the horse’s mouth what the fuss was all about. (Israel finally started paying its diplomats a decent wage, now they were treated seriously.)
At first, everyone blamed Israel – and the streets of Europe were full of pro-Hamas demonstrations. This only caused the phones to buzz at an ever more infuriating pace, so it soon became obvious that the only way to end this annoyance was to pressure the Palestinians to stop firing missiles at Israel. The demonstrations swiftly reversed their course.
“From the river to the sea,” protesters chanted opposite Israeli embassies, “Palestine will be – oh for Christ’s sake, make it stop!”
“How can we boycott an app we can’t bloody get rid of?” sobbed the throngs of white middle-class women draped in Palestinian flags.
At the Arab League summit, the delegates initially burst into gleeful applause every time a speech was interrupted by Red Alert. But soon the novelty wore off. “Switch it off!” the Algerian ambassador hollered. “I don’t know how to make it stop!” cried the Syrian. “Well,” said the Lebanese delegate with a sheepish grin, “we could always ask Hamas to—” but then he was cut off by the icy glare of the other ambassadors.
The Iraqis blamed a Zionist conspiracy, and for the first time ever, they were of course correct.
World leaders were not happy. President Obama had not been able to play a good game of golf in a week. President Putin thanked his lucky stars that the Ukrainians had not developed this bug, or he never would have had the patience to invade Crimea.
“This is worse than the time Silvio and Muammar wouldn’t stop nagging me to join their bunga-bunga party!” complained an exasperated Chancellor Merkel.
“How do people live like this?” wondered Catherine Ashton aloud. “I’d kill to make it stop,” she snapped, gasping loudly and covering her own mouth with disgust as she realised her microphone was on.
International Jewish solidarity was at an all-time high as Diaspora Jews got a small taste of life under fire. Even pro-Palestinian leftist Jewish groups agreed to pipe down and retweet Hasbara from the IDF Spokesman’s account. Peace Now changed its name to ‘Peace Of Mind Now’ and its membership rates soared.
Finally, at the Security Council, the sleep-deprived envoys of the great powers convened to discuss the latest round of fighting. “The barbarian, apartheid Zionist entity is – oh, for the love of God, I’m trying to speak!” shouted the Qatari ambassador.
The Chinese ambassador stood up and chucked his phone at the Qatari in frustration. The Iranian representative proposed a resolution authorising a NATO mission to dismantle Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure. South Africa proposed submitting the Gaza Strip to international trusteeship. The Cubans moved an amendment granting Israel $1bn to improve the Iron Dome, just in case. The Palestinian observer, who also had an iPhone, threw in a bunch of flowers as a goodwill gesture.
The resolution was passed unanimously. Hamas was swiftly deposed. Quite mysteriously, every smartphone in the world returned to working as normal. No Israeli ever had to run into a bomb shelter again. Gaza flourished as the Singapore of the Middle East, and everyone lived happily ever after.
I guess they call them ‘magic solutions’ for a reason.