Still reeling from charges in the international community that Israel used disproportionate force in its 22-day Gaza offensive, Israelis awoke late last week to a stunning new bombshell: its soldiers had reportedly wantonly killed women and children in Gaza.
And this week, just as Israelis were trying to make sense of it all, came news of a new and disturbing phenomenon — the apparent widespread use among Israeli soldiers of T-shirts that appeared to glorify the murder of civilians.
As Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu continued to struggle to put together a coalition government this week, Israelis were riveted to a different drama — the negotiations to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s assertion this week that relations with Israel will be normalized only when the Palestinian conflict is resolved has “poured cold water on the Syrian track,” according to Dore Gold, a senior foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.
Gold was referring to Assad’s interview in the United Arab Emirates daily Al-Khaleej, in which Assad was quoted as saying that a peace agreement with Israel is possible that would perhaps include an embassy and formalities.
The Obama administration began putting its stamp on American foreign policy this week by dispatching two emissaries to Damascus to open the first U.S-Syrian talks in four years, and it sought to recruit Russia in its effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
At a press conference in Jerusalem following talks with Israeli leaders, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed that Jeff Feltman from the State Department and Dan Shapiro from the White House would go to Syria, which is still on the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism.