Eli Sinai, Gaza Strip — As Israel’s army began pulling out of Palestinian cities this week and terrorist groups pledged a three-month cease-fire, Israelis in this northern Gaza Strip settlement could find little evidence that the daily fighting going on just outside their window was really over.
“It still hasn’t proven itself yet,” Sarah Kahani, a nursery school teacher, told The Jewish Week. “I want to hope but I’m not 100 percent.”
Jerusalem — Before the final press event of Condoleezza Rice’s latest four-day visit in the Middle East, stride piano blues piped into the room perked up a news conference hall half-full with journalists yawning at the early hour and the U.S.’s latest attempt at high profile Arab-Israeli diplomacy. Call it the shuttling secretary stomp.
Jerusalem — The terrace of Moshe Matitya’s spacious apartment in the Har Homa neighborhood in the eastern part of Jerusalem affords the computer programmer sweeping views of Bethlehem to the south and the rolling Judean Hills to the east and west.
These days, the view, which was a selling point when Matitya moved his family to this controversial neighborhood from the German Colony almost three years ago, is making him nervous. And it’s making him feel as if he may now be on the front line of a new conflict with the Palestinians and the Americans.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s trip throughout the Middle East last week found him in Israel on Easter — he joined thousands of pilgrims at a service in Jerusalem — but his visit there was no holiday.
During his three days in Israel, Cheney met with Israeli and Palestinian officials, voiced the Bush administration’s continued support for the Jewish state, urged all sides in the Middle East peace process to make further concessions and criticized two belligerent governments in the region.
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.”
Thursday, July 31st, 2008
James Besser in Washington
Here’s one of the more puzzling headlines of the month, right off the AP ticker: “US Trying to salvage Gains in Mideast Talks.”
According to the story, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called top Israel and Palestinian negotiators to Washington this week to “preserve modest momentum” in the U.S.-backed effort to get a deal - any kind of deal, please - by the end of the year and the end of President George W. Bush’s term.
Friday, June 27th, 2008
James Besser in Washington
Jewish leaders are understandably nervous as they continue pressing for a stronger U.S. and international response to Iran, while trying to avoid stirring up recurrent charges that Jews somehow caused the seemingly endless Iraq war and are now trying to do the same with Iran.