There were advances and setbacks in the Middle East peace process this past week, punctuated by a new Egyptian-Israeli trade agreement, a terrorist attack that killed five Israeli soldiers, and a call for an end to violence by the frontrunner in the race for Palestinian president. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon continued efforts to assemble a new coalition government by the beginning of next week. That would enable him to pass the nation’s $60 billion budget by Dec.
Herzliya, Israel — When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came up with his disengagement plan for Gaza last year, he chose to announce it at the Herzliya Conference on Israeli National Strength and Security, a unique annual gathering of the country’s top political, security, economic and social leaders.Why not in the Knesset?“Because he wanted to speak to his peers, people he respects, and he wanted to get the most media attention,” explained a former official in the prime minister’s office.In its first five years, the Herzliya Conference has become that plat
by Joshua Mitnick |
Tel Aviv — His face half enshrouded in darkness, the Nigerian foreign worker stares out at the Dizengoff Street thoroughfare from a photograph in the window of the Rosenfeld Gallery as if to tempt passers-by into an obscured world for Israelis.
Beneath the photo, a few words of text explain the melancholy stare. To avoid deportation and free himself from an Israeli jail, “Kaster” became a police informant on smuggling operations on the border with Egypt.
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.