Despite Olmert’s Offensive, Israelis Running From Rockets

JERUSALEM – Avner Pomeranetz does not sound particularly concerned by the barrage of 26 Katyusha rockets that slammed into his home town of Kiryat Shmona on Israel’s northern border over the weekend. Nor by the fact that he has to remain in town by order of the army, and cannot travel south out of range … Continue reading “Despite Olmert’s Offensive, Israelis Running From Rockets”

Invasion of Lebanon Plays Into Hezbollah’s Hands

JERUSALEM – After pounding Lebanon from the skies for nine days, the Israeli army has begun, without any official announcement, the ground phase of its military operation, with thousands of elite troops having crossed the border into south Lebanon to hunt down Hezbollah fighters and their stockpiles of rockets. The army announced Friday that it … Continue reading “Invasion of Lebanon Plays Into Hezbollah’s Hands”

Israel Returns From Gaza With Little

Even as Israeli troops, backed by armored vehicles and Apache attack helicopters, thrust into northern Gaza, political leaders were insisting the foray was temporary and military officials were wondering whether the operation had any hope of achieving its stated goal – ending rocket fire by Palestinian militants into Israel. “We have no intention of sinking … Continue reading “Israel Returns From Gaza With Little”

Hamas’ Suitcase Economy

JERUSALEM – Mahmoud Zahar says he will not be deterred in bringing suitcases stuffed with millions of dollars in cash into the Gaza Strip when he returns from his travels abroad. "We are going to continue to bring money in through Rafah crossing," he said recently, referring to the Gaza-Egypt border terminal. The Palestinian foreign … Continue reading “Hamas’ Suitcase Economy”

Hamas Faces a Presidential Revolution

JERUSALEM – Mahmoud Abbas does not fall into the category of outgoing, charismatic leaders with a penchant for bold political initiatives. Gray, circumspect, and technocratic are the adjectives often chosen to describe him. But the Palestinian president is now in the midst of possibly the greatest gamble of his long political career. It is an … Continue reading “Hamas Faces a Presidential Revolution”

Israel a Winner Again in US

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could not have asked or hoped for much more – surprisingly enthusiastic, if still qualified, support from U.S. President George Bush for his West Bank withdrawal plan. His speech to both houses of Congress was interrupted no fewer than 38 times by rapturous applause. And he won a … Continue reading “Israel a Winner Again in US”

Israel Confronts New Withdrawal Symptoms

JERUSALEM – When he began contemplating his first visit to the United States as prime minister a few weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must have thought that his plan for a unilateral withdrawal in the West Bank would win him accolades in Washington and would guarantee a successful trip. After all, his predecessor, … Continue reading “Israel Confronts New Withdrawal Symptoms”

Sharon’s Successor Comes In From the Shadows

JERUSALEM – After months of flattering opinion polls, the first sign of nerves was beginning to show in the camp of acting Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. In the space of a month, his front-running Kadima (Forward) party had lost 15 percent support, and the acting prime minister’s popularity had also dived in the polls … Continue reading “Sharon’s Successor Comes In From the Shadows”

‘Israel Will Work at Ignoring Hamas’

JERUSALEM – It took acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert more than 12 hours to respond. Maybe, like most Israelis, he was caught off guard by Hamas’s stunning victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections. Maybe, having stepped into the role of acting prime minister just three weeks ago after Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke, … Continue reading “‘Israel Will Work at Ignoring Hamas’”

Sharon Keeps Them Guessing

JERUSALEM – The events that unfolded inside Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s official vehicle on the evening of Dec. 18 could turn out to be a key element in deciphering what Israelis and Palestinians can expect in the course of 2006. Having just exited Jerusalem, Ariel Sharon suddenly felt ill. It is still unclear whether … Continue reading “Sharon Keeps Them Guessing”