The promise of Saudi Arabia Wednesday to attend this fall’s American-sponsored regional conference on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis received mixed reviews from analysts — one called it a “welcome development” while another was wary of strings that might be attached.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a press conference that his country is “interested in the peace conference ... and will discuss it and we will make sure that we attend the conference.
President George W. Bush’s highly touted speech this week on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was viewed critically by many analysts, and even White House officials backed off the hyperbole to stress that the administration was merely limiting its efforts to strengthening the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Jerusalem — Rabbi Yosef Carmel, an Israeli Army veteran and founder of an advanced training center for Israeli rabbis, received an unexpected call from overseas the other day.
The call was from an Israeli, a secular businessman whose real estate dealings in Romania with a religious Romanian Jew had become strained.
A lawsuit, with 400,000 euros at risk (more than $500,000), was pending.
Don’t go to a civil court in Romania, a Bucharest rabbi advised the Israeli — call Rabbi Carmel.
The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip stiffened its resolve this week, announcing a boycott of all Israeli fresh fruit even as the United Nations declared a halt to all building projects there because it had run out of construction material for work that had employed 121,000 Palestinians.
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?