Sunday, March 23, 2008


The coincidence of (Catholic & Protestant) Easter and the celebration of Purim in Jerusalem (a day later than elsewhere) seems an ironically appropriate day to resurrect this blog. Since we last posted a scant 18 months ago, a few changes have occurred in Israel and among the Palestinians. Two thirds of the spectaculary unsuccessful triumvirate (Olmert, Peretz, Halutz) that led Israel into the Lebanon war are gone, the President of Israel, accused of rape, resigned but plea bargained out of jail time. A US instigated Fatah-led coup against the Palestinians' Hamas government failed. leaving Hamas in control of Gaza, and Fatah in control of the West Bank. Efforts at their reconciliation have gone nowhere. For the last year, Hamas and other militants have been firing home made rockets from Gaza at Israeli southern cities and settlements, while Israel has responded with targeted killings, incursions resulting in broader killings and the blockade of Gaza. Or is it the other way around? Gaza has become arguably the world's largest prison and a humanitarian disaster, an outcome which just perpetuates Hamas's rejection of Israel and Israel's retaliation.

George Bush, building upon the failures in Iraq, New Orleans, the US economy, etc., visited the area a few months ago, called upon Palestinians and Israel to make peace by the end of this year and pledged US help for that end. (A day late and a few billion dollars short?) That touched off the charade of the powerless Israel PM Olmert and the powerless PA President Abu Abbas meeting -- to the exclusion of Hamas -- to discuss the conditions for discussing the conditions for peace, only to emerge from their meetings with different accounts of what was discussed. Bush's pledge explains US Vice-President Dick Cheney's presence in Jerusalem today. It was Purim; he was masquerading as a peace-maker.


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