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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
In one highly-packed week from January 12-19, a Brit Tzedek/Meretz-USA delegation will meet with members of Knesset, top Palestinian leaders, and a variety of peace activists among other activities. Steve Masters, president of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom and staffer Anna Freedman will write regular journal entries. We will also provide links to the trip blog of Rabbi Brant Rosen, a member of Brit Tzedek's Rabbinic Cabinet from Evanston, IL.
On the Ground
This general sentiment was reflected the following evening by political analyst Naomi Chazan, at the opening banquet of the symposium, who criticized the relative inaction of the last month since the conclusion of Annapolis. Nevertheless, Chazan was very positive about Bush’s visit as representing involvement of the international community in the peace negotiation process, which she defined as one of several critical keys to the success of the road map.
Chazan brought up several other interesting revelations about the current state of affairs of the Israeli government. She said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s main preoccupation of late is the upcoming release of the Winograd Commision on last summer’s war with Lebanon at the end of the month. The focus of the Winograd Commision is on the last 60 hours of the war, during which Olmert went against UN Res. 1701 (http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/unsc_resolutions06.htm), which was essentially a call from the international community for a ceasefire, and sanctioned a strike by Israeli ground troops that resulted in the deaths of several soldiers. This event was highly traumatic to the Israeli people, and Chazan expects the aftermath of the Commission’s release to be potentially damning for Olmert, and may even result in his resignation.
As I look forward to the rest of this symposium, I wonder…what do the next four weeks hold for Israel and the Palestinians? Will Bush’s recent visit to Israel, with all its pomp and circumstance, security tents and all, amount to anything in terms of progress of the peace negotiations? Or will the gap between promise and action that Naomi Chazan described in her talk on Saturday night continue in spite of this display of attention from the International Community? Might we see the resignation of Prime Minister Olmert sometime in the next few months? If so, who will take his place? If not, what will the reaction of the Israeli people be? I suppose we can only wait and see.