A public opinion pollster is interviewing people on the street. He stops four people and asks, “Excuse me, what is your opinion of the meat shortage?” A Russian says, “What is opinion?” A Pole says, “What is meat?” An American says, “What is shortage?” An Israeli says, “What is ‘excuse me’?” My first time in Israel was an education. But not in the way I had anticipated.
Just days before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s scheduled arrival in Israel Saturday night, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced a series of moves to bolster the Palestinian Authority, including the deployment of another 600 Palestinian policemen and approving permits for thousands of Palestinians to work in Israel.
The issuance of work permits is a major change in Israeli policy, according to Yitzhak Reiter, a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Israel this week was seen as a veritable love-fest, reinforcing the perception that the once strained Israeli-European relationship is returning to more solid ground.
Egypt worked this week to formalize a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas after both sides virtually ended all military operations in response to what one analyst called an attempt to “calm down the criticism” from within.
I understand the right. I don’t flinch when Palestinians, even civilians, catch an IDF bullet. When Arabs say massacre, I hear fraud. Talking politics, you lose me at “What would the world say?” I don’t believe survivors of slavery would spill seder wine with their pinkies because Egypt got hit by frogs.
Israel’s decision Wednesday to continue targeted attacks in the Gaza Strip rather than to recapture the area from Hamas leaves open the possibility of a cease-fire that would at least temporarily end repeated Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli communities.