The war on terror, Madoff, Israel demonized: Looking back on a dark decade.
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Remember Y2K? Ten years ago this week, on the eve of a new year, a new decade and a new millennium, there were daily headlines everywhere predicting various forces of doom on the horizon, from computer malfunctions when 1999 slipped into 2000, to international terrorism to a full range of apocalyptic events of biblical proportions.
Lawrence Cohler-Esses is a staff writer. James D. Besser is Washington correspondent.
Like Lucy holding out her football for Charlie Brown to kick again, President Clinton, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat once more raised the world’s expectations Monday for a breakthrough on their long-stalled peace agreement.
But when the three faced an expectant White House press corps after their meeting, Clinton again voiced the phrases heard so often before.
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat ultimately will have little choice but to accept Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s request to delay Israel’s hand-over of West Bank territory, a prominent Palestinian analyst predicted this week.
But, warned Ghassan Khatib, director of the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, “It will destroy the credibility, if any is left, of the Mideast peace process with the Palestinian public.”
Two weeks after Israel and the Palestinians signed their most recent recommitment to the Mideast peace process, a dovish Jewish group’s finding that Israel is failing to meet many of its obligations has set off storm of criticism from some other Jewish groups.
Al-Burg, West Bank — From her hilltop village of Al-Burj, located southwest of Hebron, Majida Talahmeh closely followed Israeli and Palestinian negotiators last month as they put the finishing touches on the Wye River Memorandum in the United States.
Like many Palestinians, Talahmeh, 27, worried about how a new agreement on security cooperation would affect the Palestinian people. Her family feels that it has already paid a heavy price for Israeli security demands.
For Israel, the pressure has lifted — for now. After weeks of escalating criticism, the Clinton administration has suddenly taken a more benign tack in its dealings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s meetings with Netanyahu and with Palestinian Authority chief Yasir Arafat last week reset the clock for the two leaders to make some fateful decisions — decisions that so far they have studiously avoided.
Even as they wade through a swamp of unresolved controversies on their interim peace agreement amid distrust exacerbated by a terrorist murder, Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasir Arafat face the threat of that agreement’s broader collapse at their summit near Washington this week.
The throngs were still cheering the marching bands and flag-waving yeshiva children snaking up Fifth Avenue last Sunday at the Israel Day Parade. But at the ornate Essex Hotel on Central Park South, just blocks from the reviewing stand where he had hailed the crowd two hours earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed for just a moment uncharacteristically reticent.
I have no doubt that if the Maccabees, heroes of the Chanukah story, were around today, they would be leading the West Bank settlers’ current protests, decrying the Jerusalem government for abandoning its Zionist and religious imperative to claim
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I have no doubt that if the Maccabees, heroes of the Chanukah story, were around today, they would be leading the West Bank settlers’ current protests, decrying the Jerusalem government for abandoning its Zionist and religious imperative to claim all of the land of Israel as holy and non-negotiable.
In the Haftorah reading in synagogue last week, Ezekiel prophesizes a united Holy Land: “And they shall no longer be divided into two kingdoms.”
For lovers of Israel, for residents of the Jewish state, for anyone fearing the threat of a two-state solution advanced in the peace process, for this soldier saying his morning prayers this week overlooking Gaza, the ancient promise has contemporary resonance.