TThe agreement in Mecca reached between Hamas and Fatah last week halted internecine warfare between the two groups but it failed to finalize the platform or makeup of their new coalition government, thereby casting doubt on the success of Monday’s Israeli-Palestinian summit in JerusalemSome Israeli officials reportedly sought to postpone the meeting, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who convened the summit, was said to have insisted that it proceed. Few expect anything positive.
by Michele Chabin |
Jerusalem — Last month, local media outlets reported that HOT, the country’s sole cable television company, had decided to discontinue broadcasting the BBC-Prime channel, a British station featuring favorite BBC programming. The same month, the YES Satellite channel revealed it would be cutting Star World, another of the very few English-language channels broadcast in Israel.
The Bush administration is likely to rebuff a reported push by Russia to lift the international boycott of Hamas as part of the Quartet’s efforts to “re-energize” the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, according to a former State Department official.
The meeting, scheduled for Friday in Washington, comes as a British parliamentary study warned that the West’s isolation of Hamas is only pushing it closer to Iran.
The conviction of Haim Ramon, former Israeli justice minister, on an indecency charge this week, may lead to a shakeup of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coalition government and a re-examination of the country’s sexual harassment laws, Israeli politicians said.
Ramon, 56, a close ally of Olmert, was found guilty Wednesday by Tel Aviv’s Magistrate Court for forcibly kissing a 21-year-old soldier at a party six months ago. He faces three years in jail, and is expected to appeal the verdict.
Israeli President Moshe Katsav suspended himself this week to fight sex charges, including rape, that the state’s senior law officer planned to file. But some government officials and the media said that wasn’t good enough and called for the president’s immediate resignation or ouster.
“In the present situation it is impossible to educate students to respect the presidential institution and ask them to hang pictures in every school of a president charged with grave offenses,” Education Minister Yuli Tamir was quoted as saying.
Gary Rosenblatt |
Editor and Publisher
At a recent four-day training session here in hasbara (public relations/advocacy/spin) for 17 high-level Israeli spokespersons, a young woman who deals with the media for the Israel Defense Forces described one of her most difficult encounters with the press during last summer’s war with Hezbollah.