by Stewart Ain And Joshua Mitnick |
Palestinian infighting is complicating efforts to win the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, captured by Palestinian terrorists in a cross-border raid from Gaza June 25, and Israeli officials are said to be considering their own raid to free him, according to Israeli analysts.
Israeli troops remained in southern Lebanon this week after their withdrawal was delayed by disagreements with United Nations commanders over how to handle armed Hezbollah terrorists and amid reports that Hezbollah was rearming and moving rockets closer to Israel's border.
The road map, the international plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, has been dusted off and is once again the principal initiative being pursued by Israel with the Palestinians: even though much skepticism surrounds it.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made the announcement last weekend after meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"I'm sticking to my position that the diplomatic process with the Palestinians should continue in accordance with the road map," he said.
The cease-fire in Lebanon seemed to gain traction this week as Israeli troops continued their gradual withdrawal from the south and prepared to begin lifting the air, sea and land blockade of the country. Lebanese and United Nations troops took up positions in southern Lebanon to enforce the truce that last month ended 34 days of Israeli-Hezbollah fighting.
’Convergence” may soon be relegated to the scrap pile of outdated Mideast phrases, along with “road map” and so many others. For as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert struggled this week to shore up his faltering coalition and respond to calls for a commission to examine the failures of the war in Lebanon, his plans to withdraw from large areas of the West Bank were shelved.
The government’s new focus will be on repairing the damage Hezbollah rockets caused in the north and strengthening that area in the event of further attacks.