by Joshua Mitnick |
Zikkim Beach, Israel — Itzik Levy rambles up a grassy sand dune just three miles down the coast from Ashkelon and surveys what he hopes one day could be the site of his new home.
Some 19 years ago, Levy had moved to the settlement of Eli Sinai on the northern edge of the Gaza Strip amid dunes with a similar view of the Mediterranean’s blue horizon. Now he’s lobbying the Israeli government to set aside areas like Zikkim Beach or the dunes of Nitzanim for Eli Sinai residents who want to rebuild their communities inside the Green Line.
The phone call medical researchers yearn for is the one from Stockholm telling them they have won the Nobel Prize in medicine. When it didn’t come this year to Dr. Avram Hershko, a professor of biochemistry at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, he figured he would just have to wait another year.
But two days later on Oct. 6, while he was at a pool with his four granddaughters, his cousin in Jerusalem called his cell phone to say she had just heard on the radio that he had won the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
A series of developments this week suggested that the stage may be getting set for renewed Palestinian-Israeli peace talks even as Palestinians prepared for new elections and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon worked to form a new coalition government.
In a sign that the post-Yasir Arafat era is presenting new opportunities throughout the Middle East, the cold peace that has existed between Israel and Egypt for the last 25 years may be starting to thaw both diplomatically and economically.
Israeli and Egyptian leaders used the occasion of a visit by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit to Jerusalem Wednesday to speak about promoting relations between the two countries, according to Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.
As two prominent Palestinian leaders announced plans to seek the presidency of the Palestinian Authority in elections Jan. 9 — one representing the younger generation and the other the “old guard” — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon worked to keep his government in office while vowing to run for re-election should new elections be necessary next spring.
Even as Palestinian terrorist groups rebuffed calls for a cease-fire, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made conciliatory gestures to moderate Palestinian leaders this week ahead of a Jan. 9 election to choose a successor to Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat.