As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sought to shore up his coalition government this week by adding right-wing lawmaker Avigdor Lieberman, media reports spoke of an imminent showdown between Fatah and Hamas, military tensions on the Syrian border, and threats of a Palestinian attack.
"This is the calm before the storm," Abu Abir, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, vowed at a press conference after Israeli troops reportedly killed seven Palestinians in clashes in the Gaza Strip Monday.
Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip are indirectly ironing out details of a cease-fire that may avert, at least temporarily, increased violence.
If there were to be a major Israeli attack, analysts agree, it would come after Israelis celebrate their 60th anniversary this month. But by the end of the month, all bets are off.
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.
While Israeli society is deeply concerned about the prospect of a civil war over the government’s planned pullout from Gaza and part of the West Bank this summer, nearly six in 10 Americans are unaware of the proposed disengagement.And in a sign that efforts to improve Israel’s image need to be stepped up, Americans have no idea the Gaza pullout was initiated by Israel to improve the prospects of peace with the Palestinians.
The powerful roadside bomb that blew apart an American armored diplomatic vehicle in the Gaza Strip killing three Americans and injuring a fourth Wednesday is likely to undermine efforts to bring international peacekeepers or monitors to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Just hours after a suicide bomber killed at least four Israelis outside a shopping mall in the northern Israeli coastal city of Netanya, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon signaled his determination to go ahead with the withdrawal from Gaza by sealing it off to non-residents.
Ogen Drori wants to stay in the West Bank so bad, he's asking Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for that privilege.
Drori lives in one of four settlements slated to be dismantled and forcibly evacuated this summer, and is circulating a petition among fellow residents asking Abbas to grant them political asylum so they may remain in their homes. He said the petition has 10 signatures from five families.
Less than three months before the Gaza disengagement begins, the Israeli government's point man in the process spoke this week of the quandary for the administration as it faces resistance from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and settlers who have been ordered to leave their homes.
Both the police and demonstrators declared victory this week following Monday's anti-disengagement sit-in demonstrations, termed a dry run for later this summer, that blocked 40 intersections in several cities and resulted in more than 300 arrests.