Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was to unveil his new cabinet this week in a move to solidify his strength in the Kadima Party and herald a new era after a year of crises, while the opposition Likud Party advanced the date of its own primary and the Labor Party selected Ehud Barak as its candidate for prime minister in the next election.
James Besser |
Gershom Gorenberg, an Israeli journalist, is author of "The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements 1967-1977" (2006, Times Books). Forty years after the war that ignited it, Gorenberg talked to The Jewish Week about the rise of the settlers’ movement and what it has meant for the Jewish state.
The Jewish Week: You write that the extensive network of settlements represents an "Accidental Empire." What do you mean by that?
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.