The election of Ehud Barak as Labor Party leader Tuesday and the expected change in the Israeli cabinet are seen as unlikely to change Israel’s decision to refrain from intervening as Hamas appeared on the verge of crushing the forces of its rival Fatah Party in the Gaza Strip.
But feuds between different Palestinian clans and tribes in Gaza are likely to continue, according to Mordechai Kedar, an expert on Arab affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Affairs.
As the 40th anniversary of Israel’s capture of the Golan Heights from Syria neared this week, Israel carried out military exercises in the Negev using a mock Syrian village. At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel is not looking for another war, but rather wishes to pursue peace with Syria.
The Israeli Air Force continued its targeted strikes this week against Hamas terrorists who are building and firing Kassam rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip while Hamas leaders reportedly disagreed among themselves whether to continue the attacks and some Israeli leaders argued for a tougher response.
The Palestinian rocket attack on the Israeli southern city of Sderot Tuesday evening that wounded at least 17 was the most serious barrage in a long time and may have been designed to unite warring Palestinian factions.
By Tuesday, more than 20 Palestinians had been killed in three days of fighting between Fatah and Hamas forces despite several attempts at a truce.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised this week to go anywhere — without preconditions — to meet leaders of the 22 Arab nations to discuss their peace proposal. His stance was welcomed by some Israelis, but discounted by others as nothing but a publicity stunt.
by Joshua Mitnick And Stewart Ain |
Tel Aviv — Having survived an early attempt at a putsch within his own party and an immediate outpouring of public protest, Ehud Olmert’s tenure as prime minister now seems to be in the hands of his chief coalition partner, the Labor Party.
With the party divided over whether to oust Olmert immediately to satisfy public sentiment or prop up the coalition to avoid early elections likely to crown Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud, all eyes are now fixed on the May 28 Labor leadership primary.