James Besser |
Officials in Washington and Jerusalem have embraced it with enthusiasm, but the international peace conference tentatively scheduled for early summer may be intended more as a diplomatic stop-gap than a great diplomatic leap.
“My inclination is to believe it’s a mirage,” said Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum and a leading critic of the Oslo peace talks. “Nobody really believes in it, but everybody is supporting it in order to look good.”
At the same time a suicide bomber killed 15 in an illegal gambling casino near Tel Aviv Tuesday, President George W. Bush reportedly agreed in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to shove aside Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under the pretext of political reform of the Palestinian Authority.
Senior Israeli officials in Israel were unable to confirm the report, which the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said it learned from sources within Sharon's entourage.
With a resolution of the stand-off between Israelis and Palestinians in Ramallah and Bethlehem in sight at mid-week, efforts by the United States and Saudi Arabia to address the underlying conflict are expected to begin next week when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets with President George W. Bush at the White House.
Feeling estranged from the establishment American Jewish community's current "love it or leave it" support of Israel, scores of American rabbinical students have banded across denominational lines to raise critical questions about Israeli policy while also supporting the Jewish state.
Gary Rosenblatt |
Editor and Publisher
Jerusalem — Would you consider having a long, leisurely lunch on a glorious spring day at an outdoor, trendy Jerusalem cafe an act of bravery, defiance or just stupidity?
I would have thought all three a week ago, but after meeting a friend at Caffit, the well-known restaurant that was targeted by an unsuccessful homicide bomber a few weeks ago, I composed this news flash: Life goes on here. Not as normal, for sure, but not in hiding, either.
That’s my revelatory bulletin based on spending a few days here this week.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon returned to the targeted killing of terrorists this week, broadly hinted at an attack on the terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and ruled out any talk of dismantling settlements.