Pandora: Diplomatic Dave to heal rift with Israelis

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The Independent Online

All it took was the prospect of a few canapés – or, perhaps, a few trays of Ferrero Rocher.

After two weeks of diplomatic wrangling, it appears that the temporary impasse between the Foreign Office and the Israeli embassy has come to a close.

Despite ongoing controversy over Israel's alleged role in the killing of a Hamas commander, we hear that David Miliband is to attend a housewarming reception at the recently refurbished Israeli embassy at the end of the month.

What's more, in something of a turn-up for the books, the Foreign Secretary is to be joint guest of honour at the event, along with the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks.

Only two weeks ago the Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor was being summoned to the Foreign Office to explain the use of forged British passports by the Dubai assassins.

What, Pandora wondered during a call to the Foreign Office, had brought around such a shift in relations? And was Mr Miliband looking forward to the embassy refreshments?

"I have no idea," sniffed a spokesman. "All I can say is that he's going. He has been invited and thus he is attending."

Off message? Campbell raises funds

*In a bit of campaign fund-raising, Alastair Campbell is flogging signed copies of his diaries. For £20, one can specify a message and the book will be delivered. Intrigued, we placed our order, requesting: "Dear David Cameron. Best of luck in the forthcoming election." And lo, it has arrived, altered only slightly by the Spinner's hand. "Dear David Cameron. Many thanks for purchasing this book, which raises money for the Labour Party and good luck in the forthcoming election!!" What can we say? Must need the money.

Lembit gets an onstage companion

More on the Parliamentary variety show, the entertainment event of the year. Well, week. Stephen Pound, who was forced to cancel his Cheeky Girl impersonation last year, will appear on stage this Wednesday with Nigel Evans and Lembit Opik for a rendition of "The Laughing Policeman". Now we hear the (almost) irresistible threesome has become a rather more photogenic foursome with the addition of Katie Green, pictured, underwear model and one-time flame of Opik.

The pair only recently parted ways. At the time Lembit gallantly volunteered the observation: "A Cheeky Girl and a Wonderbra girl, so where do you go next? I hear Jennifer Aniston is still available." No word on whether an onstage reconciliation is planned.

A tale of two Gordons

*High excitement among the pupils of Woodberry Down Community Primary School in east London following a visit from Gordon Brown last week. Some confusion, too. We're told that when a class of Year 3 students passed the Prime Minister in the corridor, several of them asked excitedly: "Are you Gordon Brown? Are you Gordon Brown?" One of the seven-year-olds, however, had a more amusing question. "Are you Gordon Ramsay?" he shouted. It's difficult to know who would be less flattered.

Phillips needs to book some time

*We hope Fiona Phillips hasn't bitten off more than she can chew with her recent book deal. The presenter, late of the GMTV sofa, agreed to write the book, on Alzheimer's disease, late last year. "Every day I have in my diary: book book book," she told us at Tesco Magazine's Mum of The Year Awards. "I never manage to do it. It's awful – I've been hand washing dishes just to put off going into my study and think. Now I have more television coming up." Fingers crossed publishers Random House are understanding.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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