The leader of a major West Bank settlement bloc threatened to lead a move to oust the Sharon government if it bows to American pressure not to place Ariel and other large Jewish settlements within the security barrier now under construction.
Shaul Goldstein, mayor of the Regional Council of Gush Etzion, a bloc of settlements just south of Jerusalem with a strong historical and emotional tie to Israelis, said that if the Sharon government runs the barrier along the Green Line, Israel's pre-1967 border, "it will become a political fence, not a security fence."
Tel Aviv: Ronen Nimni had hoped to cash in on the hudna. The owner of the Tel Aviv coffeehouse chain Cafe Cafe decided to double the number of branches this summer with the expectation that Israelis would return to restaurants because of the road map peace initiative and a Palestinian cease-fire, known in Arabic as the hudna.
The massive suicide bomb that tore through a Jerusalem bus Tuesday killing at least 20 people (including seven children) returning from the Western Wall is being seen as a turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While the government of Israel weighed its response and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas promised to bring those responsible to justice, there were calls for immediate action to forever end the terror attacks.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proposed a constructive role for European leaders this week while calling on them to severe all ties with Palestinian President Yasir Arafat, who in a compromise Monday with his new prime minister still retained a grip on power.
Although Israel has reportedly agreed to curtail its policy of targeted attacks against Palestinian terrorists to foster the chances of a limited cease-fire that would halt two weeks of violence, Israeli analysts were skeptical it would work.
"It lasts a couple of days until a crazy sets off a bomb," said David Newman, chairman of the department of politics and government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
The intifada took Irena Stanislavsky's only son. Now Israel, mired in a deep recession, is taking back its pledge to help her financially.
Stanislavsky, a Russian immigrant, is one of the forgotten victims of the grinding intifada, now approaching its third anniversary. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Israelis like her, ones whose scars are emotional, not physical, and will not disappear even if the peace process takes root.
Israeli analysts were divided this week on Israelís military response to Sunday's Hamas attacks that killed five Israeli soldiers, with some arguing that the reprisal assaults set back the peace process while others insisting it will help in the long run.
"Israel tried to weaken Hamas and to help Abu Mazen," said Ephraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
With events in Israel moving at a rapid pace this week (a Jerusalem bus bombing that killed 19, followed by Israel's decision to seize Palestinian land after each new terrorist attack and to accelerate the construction of a fence around the West Bank) questions arose over the wisdom of a new U.S. peace initiative even before it was announced.
"I don't see how it can be made palatable or what contribution it is if both sides are that unhappy [with it]," said Richard Murphy, a former ambassador to Syria and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush, following their sixth meeting in 15 months, agreed this week that reforms promised by Palestinian President Yasir Arafat to provide security for Israelis were insufficient to warrant renewed peace talks.
A day later, a roadside bomb injured three Israeli teenagers and a Palestinian suicide bomber killed a 15-year-old girl and injured nine others.
"No one has confidence in the emerging Palestinian government," Bush said after an Oval Office meeting with Sharon.
Amid growing calls for a renewed major military offensive to complete the destruction of the terrorist infrastructure in the territories, Israelis braced for more attacks from Palestinian suicide bombers and gunmen who have killed at least 31 Israelis since Operation Defensive Shield ended in early May.
Israeli officials insist their six-week assault in the West Bank that began March 29 was having success before it was aborted under pressure from the United States. But there appeared no consensus on whether to resume the assault.