The street fighting in Gaza abated last week, but Hamas and Fatah are still battling it out online and over the airwaves for the hearts and minds of Palestinians. “There are two stories: the Fatah story and the Hamas story,” said Nasser Laham, the frazzled chief editor of the independent Ma’an Network and News Agency. “Each one wants us to take their story and abandon the facts.”
A stalwart of Zionism caused an ideological earthquake last week when he stated that defining the State of Israel as Jewish is the key to its end. In an interview published in Ha’aretz, Avraham Burg, a former head of the Jewish Agency for Israel and a former Knesset speaker, argued that Israeli society has elements of German fascism, that the Law of Return should be reconsidered and that Israelis who are able to obtain foreign passports should do so.
In the struggle for the leadership of Israel’s oldest political party, it was the non-Zionists and the pioneers who determined the outcome. The Arab and kibbutz vote in the Labor Party primary handed the chairmanship to Ehud Barak, who defeated Ami Ayalon Tuesday, 51.3% to 47.7%.
No matter who wins the upcoming runoff between Ehud Barak and Ami Ayalon, this much is clear: Defense Minister Amir Peretz is out as Labor Party chairman — and the leader of Israel’s venerable social democratic movement will once again be an Ashkenazic general.
Israeli leaders are now scrambling for a strategy to deal with the potential civil war erupting in the Palestinian territories and Hamas rocket attacks on the southern town of Sderot. But even before the latest round of violence, Israeli public opinion was souring on the land-for-peace formula, with Israelis concluding that the Palestinians are not prepared to end the conflict, according to a newly released poll.
Some of Israel’s strongest supporters chastised the country’s leadership this week for failing to take up opportunities to solve the long-standing conflict with neighboring Arab countries.
President Bush and his foreign policy muse, the onetime Soviet Jewish dissident Natan Sharansky, are planning a June rendezvous in Prague, at a conference to promote democratic reforms around the world.
After the war in Lebanon ended last August, Amnon Nachmias, a reserve paratroop colonel, left his farming village in the North and drove to Jerusalem to join hundreds of other reservists in a protest camp in front of the Supreme Court. Together they demanded that the government appoint a state inquiry into the failures of the war they just fought and lost, as he saw it, to Hezbollah.
Some participants at the third-annual forum of the Arab satellite network Al Jazeera were sorry they didn’t bring matzo with them — had they known how many fellow Jews were attending the media conference, they would have made a Passover Seder.
One of Israel’s most outspoken and controversial lawmakers is under investigation in a case that has caused a national uproar and may have driven him from the country — even as the nature of the charges against him remain a state secret.