Yakum, Israel — It’s been nearly 16 months since the guns along the border with Lebanon have fallen silent, but the last chapter in Israel’s bungled war against Hezbollah has yet to be closed.
The political fate of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the emotional baggage of dozens of bereaved parents will be riding on the conclusions of the Winograd Commission’s report on the war, which are scheduled to be released on Jan. 30.
Jericho, West Bank — Dressed in freshly pressed uniforms, officers stroll through the new school toting briefcases stuffed with course packs for classes in information technology and Hebrew.
Wake-up is at 5 a.m., and the daily schedule includes lineups, weight training and lectures. It is a place of order, discipline and timetables — concepts not usually associated with the Palestinian security forces.
Jerusalem — Shimon, a student at the ultra-Orthodox Tiferet Israel yeshiva, says he is not prepared to serve in the military, even if a new bill calling on the draft of yeshiva students is passed in the Knesset.
“I won’t go into the army, even if there is a law,” says the army-age yeshiva bocher, who studies at the school from early in the morning until late at night.
Relations with Israel and U.S. seen strained following killings on CIA base in Afghanistan.
The use of a Jordanian double agent by al Qaeda in the suicide bombing that killed seven CIA officers and a Jordanian in Afghanistan last week will make Israelis and Americans wary in their future dealings with Jordan, according to an American security expert.
The Jordanian spy service had reportedly vouched for the would-be informant, which the security expert, Shoshana Bryen, said was apparently good enough for the man to enter a secure CIA base without the customary security screening.
As a prisoner swap for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was said to be closer than ever this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reportedly poised to declare a 10-month settlement freeze.
“Netanyahu is set to announce in the coming days that he will accept a construction freeze in the West Bank settlements for 10 months but will exclude [Palestinian east] Jerusalem,” Yossi Beilin, a former leader of the left-wing Meretz party, was quoted as saying.
A new and more serious indictment — possibly including rape charges — may be filed as early as next week against Israel’s disgraced former president Moshe Katsav after his withdrawal Tuesday from a plea deal that would have kept him out of jail.
“I want to fight for my innocence,” Katsav told a three-judge panel in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. “I have been thinking about this for a long time, and it was finalized in my mind today.”
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.”
Despite his decisive victory Tuesday, Ariel Sharon still finds himself in a vise: caught between his desire not to form a right-wing government that would hamstring his ability to deal with American peace demands and an Israeli public convinced that the time is not ripe to pursue peace.
Couple that with the electorate's crippling blow to the Israeli left and the strong showing of the anti-religious Shinui Party, and this election could pave the way for changes in the country's social fabric.
As Israelis buried their dead following back-to-back Palestinian suicide bombings Sunday in Tel Aviv that killed 22 bystanders (seven of them foreign workers) political campaign commercials began running on Israel TV Tuesday night and analysts wondered how the terror attack and new political scandals would impact the Jan. 28 national election.