Where's Joe? That's the question some American Jews are asking about Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman as the crisis in Israel sinks to its worst levels in decades. Some are concerned that the Connecticut senator (the first Jew in history to run on a major presidential ticket) has not been more out front in defending Israel in the face of increasing criticism from the United Nations and Arab countries over the violence. More than a hundred Palestinians and eight Jews have been killed since the conflict broke out this month.
As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat raced from Paris to Egypt this week seeking to negotiate an end to a week of violence that claimed at least 60 lives — including five Jews — pessimism grew that any eventual peace treaty they hammer out would be acceptable to Israeli Jews.
Naomi Blumenthal, chairman of World Likud, said the rioting signaled that the Palestinian people “don’t want peace. We know it now, and most Israelis are very disappointed.”
James Besser |
The eruption of violence in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel that began with last week’s Temple Mount tour by Likud leader Ariel Sharon could widen bitter divisions over the Middle East peace process among American Jews.
In a bid to assuage critics of Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s civil reforms, the minister in charge of religious-secular issues has proposed his own sweeping proposals. But observers believe Barak’s proposals are nothing but campaign gimmicks that will never be realized.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak continued to voice hope this week of a last-minute peace treaty with Palestinian President Yasir Arafat, even as he outlined to New Yorkers his political platform should he be forced into early elections.
Shortly before leaving for Israel to try to put his political house in order, Barak told nearly 400 invited guests at UJA-Federation headquarters in Manhattan that within the next five weeks he will know whether a peace treaty is in the offing, “even if it takes months to work it out.”
As Israeli leaders waited for Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to signal an easing of his uncompromising position on Jerusalem, they were pessimistic that it would come in his talks here this week with President Bill Clinton.