As European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana sought further clarification this week of a Saudi statement that promised true Middle East peace, the idea that Israel would no longer be virtually isolated amid hostile Arab neighbors brought a glimmer of hope to Israelis still reeling from a week that left some 70 Israelis and Palestinians dead.
Iran is demanding that Britain, Germany and France support its efforts to obtain nuclear technology for both civilian and military purposes, alarming Western nations and bolstering American efforts to impose UN sanctions on Iran.
The Iranian demand was reported this week shortly after the London Sunday Times wrote that Israel had prepared and rehearsed a plan to destroy Iranian nuclear reactors, especially the one being built in Busheh.
Monday, August 31st, 2009
Comments by former Vice President Dick Cheney this weekend suggest his boss, George W. Bush, may have done Israel one huge and unintentional favor.
In a Fox News interview, Cheney hinted that he pressed for military action to end Iran’s nuclear program, but was rebuffed by Bush.
“I was probably a bigger advocate of military action than any of my colleagues,” Cheney said.
Why was that a favor to Israel?
A day after the arson fire at a Hauppauge, L.I., synagogue last week, a congregant at the neighboring Dix Hills Jewish Center rushed up to the rabbi to ask about security for the High Holy Days.
"He said security was being beefed up and that there was nothing to be worried about," the congregant, Elaine Greenwald, said later of her conversation with Rabbi Howard Buechler. "I trust that when the rabbi tells me that, we're doing all we can."
In the three weeks prior to May 19, the Israel Defense Forces reported 299 terror attacks ó not just bombings but shootings, knifings, assaults and hit-and-run car attacks ó among other incidents and foiled threats.
The number of Israeli casualties since September 2000, the outbreak of the second intifada, has reached 6,177, with 778 killed and 5,399 injured.
As he visits Israel this week for the second time in four months, President George W. Bush has scaled down his expectations for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
Instead of the optimism he displayed late last year when he spoke of the creation of a Palestinian state before he left office, Bush told Israeli journalists Monday that he was hoping the two sides could “get a state defined by the end of my presidency.”
Israelís peace movement, largely dormant since Ariel Sharon was first elected prime minister three years ago, resurfaced last weekend amid calls for a political framework for peace and withdrawal from a contentious settlement in Gaza.
An estimated 4,000 Israelis took to the street Saturday night to protest Sharon's policies in a demonstration outside his Jerusalem residence.
Naomi Chazan, a former Knesset member from the left-wing Meretz Party and one of the participants, said this was the first major demonstration against Sharon.
The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came under fire at home this week for allegedly disregarding Palestinian civilians in its zeal to combat terrorists, and from the United Nations, which called upon Israel to remove its security barrier that Arabs call a land grab.
The controversy within Israel arose after the Israeli military launched one of the largest series of air strikes against terrorists in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Five air strikes were conducted against suspected Palestinian terrorists and a weapons factory in Gaza City.
Jewish groups are taking a wait-and-see attitude about Monday's announcement that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to set up a fund for American companies wishing to provide humanitarian assistance to Holocaust-era slave and forced laborers, including tens of thousands living in the U.S.
It was 22 years ago that Chava Katz and 12 other young Jewish women were permitted by the Syria government to leave their homeland and travel to the United States to find a Jewish husband. Now, with Israel and Syria talking peace, she has mixed emotions.
"I hope they do it," she said of the peace negotiations. "But I don't trust any Arab countries. Would I ever go back? Never! Even my husband asks me that. But I would never return because times there were very tough."