‘Empty Year’ Seen On Peace Front

Israel Correspondent and Staff Writer
Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni was to meet with Labor Party leaders late this week in her coalition building efforts, but she made it clear she will drive a tougher bargain than Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in peace talks with Palestinians.

Olmert Raises The Stakes

Staff Writer
Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted this week that Israel must give up East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights to achieve peace, a view that may complicate efforts of his would-be successor to form a government. Olmert’s comments, published Monday in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot, were the most far reaching he has ever made publicly. And he revealed that Israel and the Palestinians were “very close to an agreement.”

Violence Looms Over Coalition Bid

Staff Writers
Just hours after Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni assured him that peace talks would continue while she assembles a new government, Palestinian chief negotiator Ahmed Qureia suggested that Palestinians may return to violence if the talks failed. “Resistance in all forms is a legitimate right,” Qureia was quoted as saying. Livni reportedly called Qureia to object to his remarks, saying that “violence and terror will never be legitimate” and would only be met by force.

Livni Seen Taking Kadima Primary

Staff Writer
Polls indicate Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will score a decisive victory in next Wednesday’s Kadima Party primary, setting the stage for her to become the first woman prime minister since Golda Meir more than 30 years ago. But analysts caution that an upset is possible and believe she may have an even harder time putting together a coalition government to succeed that of Ehud Olmert, who has promised to resign after the election because of a corruption probe. Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is Livni’s chief rival for the Kadima top spot.

Palin Nomination Stirs, Worries Jewish Delegates

Staff writer and Washington Correspondent
St. Paul, Minn. — Despite spin-control efforts by party leaders, the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate set off ripples of anxiety at this week’s Republican National Convention here, especially among Jewish delegates who worry that her views on foreign policy are a blank slate. “There has been a lot of consternation all day,” admitted Fred Zeidman, a Houston businessman and co-chair of Jewish outreach for the McCain campaign, when asked about the impact of Palin’s selection on Jewish voters.

McCain’s Jewish Outreach Tactics Questioned

Staff Writer
Just days before the Republican National Convention was to nominate Sen.  John McCain for president, the campaign called upon former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to play hardball for the Jewish vote.

Legacy-Building Time For Olmert

Staff Writer
With the release this week of a detailed Palestinian peace proposal dealing with borders, refugees and security, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is seen by observers as trying to burnish his tarred legacy. “He wants to put his fingerprints on the map of the Middle East to show he did something in addition to all of the corruption he is connected with,” said Mordechai Kedar of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

BREAKING NEWS: Olmert To Step Down As PM After Kadima Primary

Staff Writer
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced today that he will not run seek re-election as the leader of his Kadima Party and that he will step down as prime minister to allow the winner of the election to succeed him. The announcement, which was made during a live television address to the nation Wednesday evening, came just one day after the Kadima Party set Sept. 17 as the date of the primary.

Gearing Up For GOP Sweep

Washington Correspondent
Gearing Up For GOP Sweep With a Republican sweep of the House and Senate a distinct possibility on Nov. 5, liberal Jewish activists are bracing for a new onslaught by congressional conservatives and the Bush administration on domestic policy issues and new tax cuts that could batter Jewish social service agencies. “Our entire domestic agenda hangs in the balance,” said an official with a major Jewish group.

McKinney Thinking Green

Washington Correspondent
Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the Georgia Democrat who marginalized herself in the House of Representatives, may be about to do the same again, this time on an even larger stage. Speaking at the annual legislative conference of the Congressional Black Caucus last week — along with fellow about-to-be-ex-Rep. Earl Hilliard (D-Ala.) and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan — McKinney blamed the Democratic Party for her defeat, not the Jews who supported her opponent in the last days of the campaign.
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