by Joshua Mitnick |
Tel Aviv — They risked arrest in Syria and Lebanon to offer Israelis back home rare glimpses of their neighbors, but now a top Israeli national security commentator, a popular blogger and a travel journalist are under police investigation for breaking a decades-old law banning travel to “enemy” states.
Israel “has to declare in the near future” that it will compensate settlers living east of the security barrier if they were to leave now, according to Israeli Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon.
“It’s our moral obligation to offer [compensation] to them now,” Ramon said at the annual dinner of the Israel Policy Forum here on Monday night.
That position is at odds with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who until now has viewed such a move as premature, according to Asaf Shariv, Israel’s consul general in New York.
Uri Lupolianski has been the elected mayor of Jerusalem since 2003 after having served for 14 years as a member of the Jerusalem City Council and holding the position of deputy mayor under then-Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert. Lupolianski, 56, was in New York to speak at last weekend’s annual convention of the Agudath Israel of America. Jewish Week: Prime Minister Olmert has suggested ceding as many as six Arab neighborhoods on the periphery of Jerusalem as part of a final peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The summit in Annapolis is being seen by some observers as a success -- not just because it set the stage for a promised 13 months of serious Israeli-Palestinian peace talks but because of what some believe is a new Middle East dynamic on the horizon. Others, though, insist this is nothing more than a mirage.
“It’s not every day you see an Israeli prime minister speak and the Saudi foreign minister applaud,” said Asaf Shariv, Israel’s consul general in New York.
The post-Annapolis proclamation ran as the banner headline on Israel’s largest selling daily, Yediot Ahronot.
But on the sun-bathed morning after the Rothschild Coffee Spot — the café kiosk hub of Tel Aviv’s most lively boulevard — few chose to let the first renewal of peace talks in seven years distract them from their morning java.