Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert bowed to party pressure Wednesday and said he would allow his Kadima Party to select a new party leader. But it was not immediately clear that he would step aside and allow the winner to assume the premiership.
Even as Israeli forces continued their unrelenting efforts to kill Palestinian terrorists and to arrest their political leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon planned to meet with a high-ranking Palestinian leader to renew peace talks.
In an interview published Wednesday by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Sharon said the meeting with an unnamed official would take place in the next few days: a sign, he said, that the Palestinian war machine is breaking down.
Since the start of the Palestinian violence almost two years ago, Samech Zakout, a 19-year-old Israel Arab from Ramle, said he has lost all of the Jewish friends he once had.
"They think Iím a terrorist," he lamented.
But Zakout said he has made three new Jewish friends at Open House since joining this community center six years ago that fosters Israeli Arab-Jewish relations. And Zakout said he hopes to make other Jewish friends through his music.
The specter of a fifth column, Israeli Arabs, conspiring from within Israel to help Palestinian terrorists emerged anew this week with the arrests of seven Israeli Arabs from one family in the Galilee. Members of the Bakri family were charged with helping the suicide bomber who blew up an Israeli bus Aug. 4 that killed nine Israelis and injured dozens of others.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon walked a tightrope this week, trying to downplay the significance of an Israeli troop withdrawal from Bethlehem to mollify the political right while at the same time giving the green light to proceed with pullbacks elsewhere.
"All that Israel has done is to pull a few jeeps and tank transporters out of the center of Bethlehem," Israel Radio quoted Sharon as telling his security cabinet Wednesday, even as concern increased about Iraq attacking Israel.
Israeli officials continued their crackdown on Palestinian militants this week, including charging a top Palestinian leader with murder, while early elections suddenly loomed as a possibility and Haifa's mayor announced his candidacy for the Labor Party leadership.
In an indictment unsealed Wednesday in Tel Aviv District Court, Marwan Barghouti, 43, who once was touted as a successor to Palestinian President Yasir Arafat, was branded an "arch-terrorist whose hands are bloodied by dozens of terror actions."
After another horrific week of Palestinian terrorism, punctuated by the killing Sunday of 13 Israelis that brought the Israeli death toll to more than 600 in 22 months, Israeli officials continued to seek new ways to deter future attacks.
He won’t be here for the summit, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be all but unavoidable in Washington this week on a quite different mission: taking his case to the American public for bucking President Clinton’s proposal
Washington — He won’t be here for the summit, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be all but unavoidable in Washington this week on a quite different mission: taking his case to the American public for bucking President Clinton’s proposals to rekindle a gasping Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Jerusalem — North American delegates to the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, meeting here this week, got a preview of the substance and styles of the three main candidates for prime minister in Israel’s upcoming elections. And the candidates had a chance to see how their appearances were received by the leaders of diaspora Jewry.