The leader of a major West Bank settlement bloc threatened to lead a move to oust the Sharon government if it bows to American pressure not to place Ariel and other large Jewish settlements within the security barrier now under construction.
Shaul Goldstein, mayor of the Regional Council of Gush Etzion, a bloc of settlements just south of Jerusalem with a strong historical and emotional tie to Israelis, said that if the Sharon government runs the barrier along the Green Line, Israel's pre-1967 border, "it will become a political fence, not a security fence."
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, widely regarded as a successful military strategist, displayed his political acumen this week when he turned a stunning defeat of his emergency economic package by the Knesset into a victory not only for the package but also for his political career.
"Sharon became a real hero," said Mordechai Kedar, a professor at Bar-Ilan University. "And he is now very high in the polls."
AIPAC No. 2 On Power Scale
Anti-Israel groups have long complained that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is one of the most powerful groups in Washington, and now it’s official: The current issue of Fortune Magazine rates AIPAC as the second most powerful lobby in the capital.
That appeared to delight officials of the pro-Israel lobby group, even though they generally seek to avoid the limelight.
Pinball policies in response to Sharon-Arafat spat
James D. Besser
It was an almost impossible political challenge: This week Jewish leaders were trying to put a positive spin on increasingly panicky, inconsistent U.S. efforts to end an Israeli-Palestinian crisis that continues to spin out of control.
The pinball policies bounced from the harshest-ever condemnations of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to fierce new pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.