After two months of intense American pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally uttered the magic words: two states for two peoples.
As the new Netanyahu government gets rolling, the early signs are that there will be significant changes in foreign policy. The Likud leader has strongly signaled that he intends to be more proactive in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat and has withdrawn his predecessor’s commitments to a two-state solution with the Palestinians and a pullback from the Golan Heights in return for peace with Syria.
Pressed to take a firm stand on the two-state solution, Benjamin Netanyahu’s moment of truth may have come sooner than he wanted.
If the polls are right, the outcome of next Tuesday’s Israeli election is a foregone conclusion. Not only does Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud seem bound to emerge as the largest single party, but the bloc of right-wing and religious parties that it leads seems certain to garner a winning majority in the 120-member Knesset.
On the fourth day of the recent war in Gaza, Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu hurried from one Jerusalem studio to another, doing more than a dozen TV interviews with networks from Hong Kong to New York within the space of 12 hours.
With a cease-fire in place, Israelis are asking whether the 22-day war against Hamas in Gaza achieved its aims.
With Israel’s war in Gaza in its third week, it’s clear the outcome could have far-reaching regional implications.
In the second week of the war in Gaza, with Israeli ground troops poised to intensify their actions against Hamas militants, weapons stores and rocket-launching sites, diplomatic efforts to end the fighting gathered pace.
In a news conference on the first night of the fighting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spelled out the war's aims: to create a new security reality in the south in which Israeli civilians can live without fear of rocket or terror attacks.
The renewal of intense Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilian areas has put Israelis in a somber mood during the usually festive week of Chanukah.
The violent settler response to the evacuation of the building, dubbed the House of Contention by Israeli media and called the Peace House by settlers, was symptomatic of a relatively new phenomenon: growing numbers of radical settlers who feel alienated from the state, don't accept its authority and are ready to use violence to prevent it from taking action against settler interests.
The attacks on 10 sites in the Indian city, which killed nearly 200 people, could lead to a shift in the way Israel views global terrorism and the way to combat it.
Delivering a grim threat assessment for 2009, the Israeli National Security Council (NSC) said that Israel in 2009 may well find itself alone, facing Iran on the threshold of nuclear power, fighting rocket attacks on two fronts and without a Palestinian partner for a two-state solution.
With Israel headed for new general elections, supporters and opponents of Tzipi Livni are putting a very different gloss on her failure to form a governing coalition
With the governments in Washington and Jerusalem set to change, Israeli leaders are reassessing policy in two key areas: Middle East peacemaking and Iran.
With the Jews mistrustful and the Arabs resentful, violence has the potential to set ethnic tensions aflame and shatter the uneasy coexistence that prevails.
Israelis on the right and left were angered by Ehud Olmert's suggestion in an interview at the twilight of his term that Israel should cede virtually all its disputed land. Too little, too late, said the leftists. Too much, said the rightists.
Livni says she does not intend to be dragged into a long coalition-building process. If in about 10 days she believes the chances of forming a government are not high, she says she will lead a move for new elections herself.
With her decisive win in the Kadima party primary, Tzipi Livni now must assemble a coalition government so she can become prime minister. Then all she'll have to do is deal with all of Israel's regional threats.
There is a clear front-runner in the Kadima primary scheduled for Sept. 17, but it's not at all clear how Israel's political map will look once Ehud Olmert is gone
Although the Palestinians say wide gaps remain, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Olmert reportedly agreed in talks Sunday to make every effort to wrap up a full-fledged peace agreement by the end of the year. But both sides are skeptical.
With talk of a new Cold War in the offing following Russia's recent military successes in Georgia, Israel is worried Russia might reassess this policy and use the sale of new weaponry to Syria -- or the threat of it -- to strengthen Russia's hand vis-à-vis Israel's primary ally, the United States.
Ehud Olmert's departure opens up the possibility of radical new directions in Israeli policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians, Syria and Iran
Israeli strategic thinkers are deeply divided over the implications of the truce between Israel and the Gaza-based Hamas fundamentalists. But whatever their perspective, most agree that it could have a profound impact on the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
With a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas expected to take effect this week, the question is what impact -- if any -- such a deal will have on the wider efforts to reach accommodation with the Palestinians.
There are mixed feelings in Israel about the prospect of an Obama administration, with most experts saying the Jewish state has little cause for real concern
The media and the political establishment in Israel already have decided: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is through. Now the country could be heading for early elections.
He came, he spoke, he left
The corruption investigation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which is threatening to bring down the Israeli government, potentially may have far-reaching consequences for Middle East peacemaking.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni flew to the Qatari capital of Doha in the Persian Gulf this week with an ambitious goal: changing moderate Arab attitudes toward Israel.
For the first time since the Annapolis peace parley last November, the United States is leaning heavily on Israel to move ahead in peacemaking with the Palestinians.
With U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in Israel this week talking about Iran, the big question was whether President Bush would be willing to use military force in the waning days of his presidency to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Last week's terrorist attack at a Jerusalem yeshiva and the new Israeli national intelligence assessment presented to the Cabinet on Sunday underscore the acute security problems Israel faces this year and beyond.
With Israel still facing Hamas rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip following the end of the army's limited ground operation there, the Israeli government is considering stronger follow-up measures.
Irked by the slow rate of progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, major Arab players are threatening to withdraw their offer to normalize ties with Israel once a Palestinian state is established. Underlying the Arab reassessment is a deeper problem: Arab belief in the viability of "the two-state solution" is diminishing. And the worry in Jerusalem is that this growing lack of confidence could undermine the fragile negotiating process so carefully put in place at the regional peace conference in Annapolis, Md., last November.
In the wake of last week's assassination of arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, there are fears in the region that a massive attack by Hezbollah against Israeli interests could spark a new Middle East war.
After a Qassam rocket attack seriously injured two brothers in the Israeli border town of Sderot, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert again came under intense pressure to launch a major military strike against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
After the long-awaited final report of the Winograd Commission of inquiry into the Second Lebanon War was published last week, all eyes turned toward Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Barak, the Labor Party leader, was the one man whose withdrawal of his party from the governing coalition could topple Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whose wartime performance was the subject of much criticism in the report.
The collapse of the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has done much more than break Israel's siege of the Hamas-run strip. It also has opened up new, far-reaching strategic options for Israel while exposing it to grave new dangers.
Some strategists say Israel should use the opportunity to force Gaza to look outward to Egypt, its natural Arab hinterland, and thereby reduce and eventually end Israeli responsibility for Gaza's fate. Others say such a handover of responsibility would expose Israel to worse terrorism than ever and that Israel instead should clamp down on all crossing points: between Israel and Gaza, Gaza and Egypt, and Israel and Egypt.
With its focus on strengthening the moderate Arab coalition against Iran, President Bush's tour of the Persian Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia and Egypt could prove extremely significant for Israel.
After the shock of last week's U.S. intelligence estimate that found that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Israel is reshaping its Iran strategy.
Israel essentially is arguing that the U.S. assessment is dangerously misleading and that Tehran is as determined as ever to acquire nuclear weapons. The Israeli dilemma is how to prove Iran is cheating without being accused of trying to push the United States into war. That is why the official strategy is to work quietly behind the scenes.
After the pomp and circumstance of Annapolis, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are gearing up for tough bargaining over the minutiae of a two-state settlement.
Not only will they have to agree on core issues like borders between Israel and a Palestinian state, but they'll also have to find common ground on a host of lesser concerns regulating relations between the two states, ranging from shared sewage systems to allocations on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas may have bridged the necessary gaps to issue a joint commitment to pursue peace, but their words in Annapolis revealed the substantial distance they have yet to travel.
Days away from the Annapolis peace parley, the glaring weaknesses of both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders are raising significant questions about the long-term viability of the renewed peace process and the consequences of failure.
With the pro-U.S. regime of Pervez Musharraf in crisis following the Pakistani president's move to suspend his country's constitution and scuttle planned parliamentary elections, Israel is watching the developments with great concern.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are well aware of the stakes; but, for domestic reasons, both are too weak to deliver a peace agreement that would spell unqualified success at Annapolis. Instead, both are looking for a formula that papers over their political difficulties and keeps the momentum going. They have therefore agreed to redefine Annapolis as a launching pad for intensive negotiations rather than a forum for the end game. For lack of choice, the United States is going along with the low-key approach. But the Americans remain keenly aware of the underlying regional issues that they were hoping the parley would help them shape.
In the face of unceasing rocket attacks on Israeli towns, cities and kibbutzim near the Gaza Strip, Israeli leaders approved the new policy to reduce fuel and electricity to the territory as the most humane way of trying to persuade Gaza's terrorist Hamas leadership to keep the peace.
In a major policy change, Israel has launched a high-profile diplomatic initiative to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions following President Bush's warning that a nuclear Iran could produce World War III.
As the Annapolis peace parley rapidly approaches, some of the Arab and Muslim players expected to play a key role in creating conditions for a favorable outcome are proving to be more of an obstacle than an asset.
With just more than a month to go before the Israeli-Palestinian peace conference is scheduled to take place, Jerusalem is shaping up to become the key issue.
In the run-up to the regional peace parley in November, Israeli decision makers are facing an increasingly acute dilemma: How to deal with the Hamas terrorists who control Gaza.
With the planned Middle East summit in Washington less than two months away, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is caught in an ideological battle between his party's doves and hawks.
With Israel refusing to discuss the apparent airstrike two weeks ago against Syria, observers have begun to suggest that a major event may have taken place. The apparent bombing run might have been akin to Israel's bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981, if international media reports are to be believed.
Under pressure from a key coalition partner, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has promised to pass legislation for a stronger and more stable government. But Israel will remain a parliamentary democracy and will not adopt the American-style presidential system some reformers have been advocating.
Whether the American summit actually boosts Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking will depend on the outcome of the internal Palestinian struggle.
After his overwhelming victory in the Likud's leadership primary last week, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu might have felt well on the way to succeeding Ehud Olmert as prime minister. For months he had been leading in polls for the premiership, and was now seemingly in control of his party.
Ehud Barak, the new leader of Israel's Labor Party, is proving to be something of an enigma.
The problem is simple: With Hamas in control in Gaza and the rival Fatah ruling the West Bank, how can a unified Palestinian state be established in the West Bank and Gaza?
One year after the Second Lebanon War, Israel's northern front is quiet, U.N. forces are patrolling the border area and Hezbollah fighters have been pushed back deep inside Lebanese territory.
How to turn the disaster of the Hamas' capture of Gaza into a political opportunity was the main focus of this week's four-way summit in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheik.
With a new government emerging in the West Bank, one without Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert believes that Israel and the Palestinians can resume peace talks from where they left off when Hamas swept to power in national elections 18 months ago.
With no end in sight to Qassam rocket attacks on Israeli civilians near the border with Gaza, the Israeli government is preparing for a long struggle against radical, Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists.
Was the Six-Day War a blessing or a curse for Israel's place in the Middle East and its long-term survival? Forty years on, the jury is still out.
More than a week of unabated Qassam rocket attacks on Sderot has created a huge policy dilemma for the Israeli government: What should it do to stop radical Gaza-based terrorists from firing missiles on Israeli civilians and causing pandemonium in the border town of 22,000.
By all accounts, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should have been history. The Winograd Commission's interim report issued April 30 on last summer's second Lebanon War could not have been more scathing. The paragraph on the prime minister's responsibility for the failures and shortcomings in top-level decision-making speaks for itself.
For the first time in years, serious Israeli-Arab peace moves seem to be afoot. The key mover is Saudi Arabia, and the key document is a 2002 peace initiative that it sponsored.
What happens next will depend on how skillfully the parties maneuver in trying to advance their often disparate agendas.
Even if Olmert is innocent, critics say he won't be able to govern because he'll be too busy trying to clear his name.
Leaders on both sides are optimistic. They see Olmert's moves as part of a new and wider American plan for Israeli-Palestinian accommodation.
Abbas' call Saturday for early elections in the Palestinian Authority triggered fierce street fighting between Fatah and Hamas, which won the last election in January. Despite a hastily arranged cease-fire Monday, the two factions remain on the brink of civil war.
Disappointed by cease-fires so often in the past, but casting an eye to a better future, Israelis greeted this week's cease-fire announcement in the Gaza Strip with a mixture of skepticism, fear and hope.
After rejecting a new European peace initiative, Israeli leaders are gearing up for more international efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating process on terms unfavorable to Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is bringing a hawkish party into his coalition, guaranteeing him the support of 78 members of the 120-seat Knesset and possibly one of the most stable governments in Israeli history.
Olmert's perceived blunders have given the Israeli right a new lease on life. They believe the war has dealt a lethal blow to Olmert's plans for a major unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank.
After the Lebanon and Gaza experiences -- sustained rocket attacks on Israel in the wake of unilateral pullouts -- will Olmert still want to adopt last summer's Gaza model of withdrawal without agreement, or will he seek a different formula, such as bilateral arrangements with moderate Palestinian leaders or the introduction of international forces to keep the peace after Israel pulls back?
Fighting in the ongoing Israeli-Hezbollah standoff has been confined to two of the Middle East's smallest countries, but the outcome could have major strategic implications for the region as a whole.
Beyond the immediate escalation, the recent Palestinian attack on an Israeli army outpost near the Gaza border raises serious questions about Israel's security and foreign policies.
A 16-month cease-fire by several terrorist factions is faltering after members of a Palestinian family were killed in an explosion on a Gaza beach, providing the sternest test yet of the new security doctrine Israel forged after last year's Gaza withdrawal.
Fighting between small groups of Hamas and Fatah members on the streets of Gaza shows signs of intensifying. Both sides have mobilized large forces in Gaza and the West Bank, and some Palestinian observers are predicting civil war.
The key to whether the Saudi plan becomes a serious option -- even if adopted by the Palestinians -- lies in Washington. The American goal remains a negotiated two-state solution based on Bush's "vision" that he outlined in June 2002.
The elections, the first since Ariel Sharon's abrupt departure from the Israeli political scene, were seen in large part as a referendum on the withdrawal proposal.
As is often the case in Israeli politics, there were surprises.
After a visit to Moscow, Hamas leaders claim "the wall" of diplomatic isolation Israel is trying to build around the newly empowered organization is collapsing.
But Israeli government officials say they are still confident that the international community will cut off funds to a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority and back Israeli moves for a second unilateral pullback from Palestinian territory.
Had Ariel Sharon been able to continue as Israeli prime minister, his main strategic goal would have been establishing a new long-term border between Israel and the West Bank. That remains the primary aim of his Kadima Party, but last week's violent clashes between settlers and police at the tiny West Bank outpost of Amona show just how difficult achieving it might be.
Will Hamas in its power role moderate its radical positions or put Palestinian society on a collision course with Israel and the Western world?
This is the central question. There will be enormous pressure on Hamas to adopt a more pragmatic line. The European Union, which provides up to 90 percent of international aid to the Palestinians, is threatening to suspend its economic support unless Hamas recognizes Israel's right to exist and renounces violence, and the United States appears poised to do the same.
Olmert was one of the chief architects of Sharon's main foreign policy achievement -- last summer's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. When Sharon broke away last November from his ruling Likud Party to form a new centrist party, Kadima, Olmert was one of the first to follow him.
The extreme Islamist president of Iran has lobbed all sorts of verbal bombshells at Jews and Israel in recent weeks: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly reiterated his desire to wipe Israel off the map, and he implied that the Holocaust is a myth.
The election of Amir Peretz, a 53-year-old underdog, as leader of the Labor Party is almost certain to change the face of Israeli politics.
An Israeli assassin, a right-wing extremist, killed Rabin on Nov. 4, 1995. Had Rabin lived, would the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been resolved? Or would the peace process he started still have unraveled?
Benjamin Netanyahu's resignation from the Israeli Cabinet may have come too late to scuttle Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank, but it seems almost certain to change the face of Israeli politics.
With the planned Israeli withdrawal from Gaza less than three weeks away, right-wing leaders say they haven't yet given up hope of preventing it.
A year after the U.N.-affiliated International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that Israel's West Bank security barrier was illegal, controversy over the section in and around Jerusalem could spark new international pressure on the Jewish state to change the fence route or stop construction altogether.
With Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip scheduled to begin on Aug. 15, escalating right-wing and settler protests threaten to plunge the country into anarchy and could provoke a strong anti-settler backlash.
Protesters last week blocked major highways, poured oil and scattered spikes across a busy road; occupied buildings in Gaza, and threw stones at Palestinians and Israel Defense Forces soldiers. The army and police responded by temporarily declaring the Gaza Strip a closed military zone, ejecting the extremists from occupied buildings and making dozens of arrests.
In an unprecedented spate of interviews and public statements, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned what he called the "hooliganism" of the far right, and vowed that he would not be deterred by it.
However, will authorities be able to maintain law and order in the face of even more extreme protest plans?
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon conceived the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank as a unilateral step, but it's increasingly being coordinated by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
Everyone in the Israeli political establishment knows it's only a matter of time before Benjamin Netanyahu challenges Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for leadership of the Likud Party and the country.
It's not every day that Israel's No. 1 soldier expresses doubts about the country's long-term survival. But that was part of a bleak message from Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon that has shaken the country's political establishment.
In a wide-reaching, early June interview in the daily newspaper, Ha'aretz, the retiring Israeli army chief of staff pulled no punches. He put key existential issues on the table, questioned the wisdom of Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank, debunked the notion of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and said it could lead to a "situation in which there will be no Israel here in the end."
Five years after Israel completed its withdrawal from Lebanon, the jury is still out on whether then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak made the right strategic choice in pulling back troops without an agreement with Lebanon and Syria.
Just three months after it was ushered in at a peace summit in February, there are growing signs that the cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians may be on the verge of collapse.
The appointment of new commanders to lead a reformed Palestinian Authority security force would seem to be a step toward meeting one of the Palestinian Authority’s key obligations under the “road map” peace plan.
Israelis and Palestinians may appear to be on the verge of a new peace process, but Israeli army generals and seasoned observers of the Palestinian scene predict a new round of fighting, perhaps as early as next fall, after Israel completes its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank.
On the surface, it seems that the recent public quarrel between Israel and the Bush administration over Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank could have been put off until Israelis and Palestinians get around to negotiating permanent borders.
With Palestinian terror groups generally committed to a lull in the fighting with Israel and Arab countries debating normalizing ties with the Jewish state, some in Israel see signs that the 57-year-old Arab-Israeli conflict finally may be winding down.
Israeli officials are expecting such massive resistance to the disengagement that they have developed a detailed plan of operation to carry it out.
As plans for Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and part of the West Bank intensify, its opponents are banking on one last throw of the parliamentary dice: Knesset rejection of the 2005 state budget.
If the budget is not passed by March 31, the government will fall, there will be new elections and disengagement will be deferred -- perhaps even shelved.
The late February suicide bombing in Tel Aviv shattered a three-month lull in terror and brought key Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking issues into sharp relief.
The terror attack, which came just three weeks after Israeli and Palestinian leaders declared an end to more than four years of hostilities, forced both sides to define their new relationship more clearly.
It enabled Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to clarify his policy toward the Palestinians, finger Syria and the Hezbollah as potential spoilers, and re-emphasize his view that there can be no real peacemaking until the Palestinians dismantle their armed terrorists.
The dust is still settling after last week's summit at the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheik, but early signs on the ground are highly contradictory.
Last week, just 48 hours after the summit, Palestinian terrorist groups fired more than 50 mortar shells at Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip -- yet now Hamas, the largest and most important of the terrorist groups, says it's committed to the cease-fire announced at the summit.
A projected billion-dollar arms sale to Syria is the latest sign of a major shift in Russia's Middle East policy -- and analysts are asking how dangerous it might be for regional stability and for Israel.
Ariel Sharon took Palestinians, Israelis and the international community by surprise when he broke off ties with Mahmoud Abbas a day before the new Palestinian Authority president was sworn in.
After Mahmoud Abbas' convincing victory this week in the election for Palestinian Authority president
As the scheduled start of Israel's Gaza withdrawal approaches, settler leaders are raising the specter of mass refusal by religious soldiers to carry out orders, and are warning of disastrous consequences for the Israeli army and society as a whole.
But high-ranking Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officers said settler leaders are exaggerating in an attempt to scare the government and to encourage soldiers to refuse to evacuate settlers from their homes.
In a keynote speech last week at the Herzliya Conference on Israel's National Security, Sharon declared that "2005 will be the year of great opportunity," with "a chance for an historic breakthrough in our relations with the Palestinians, a breakthrough we have been waiting for years."
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says the IDF remains the most moral army he knows, but critics suggest that the relentless terrorist war has brutalized young soldiers who frequently vent their frustrations on Palestinian civilians.
Convinced that 2005 will be a year of great peace opportunities, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is throwing his considerable political weight behind a coalition with the Labor Party.
Sharon sees a Likud-Labor partnership, bolstered by at least one ultra Orthodox party, as the ideal tool for carrying through his disengagement plan and beyond. To that end, Sharon is following a two-stage strategy: first, ensuring that the centrist, secular Shinui Party, which has refused to sit in the government with ultra Orthodox parties, leaves the coalition, and then breaking resistance in Sharon's own Likud Party to a partnership with Labor.
Syria's President Bashar Assad is proving to be as stubborn a character as his father.
But where Assad senior showed his obduracy by refusing to make concessions for peace, the younger Assad shows his by continually pushing for peace talks -- or at least saying he wants them.
After a string of embarrassing defeats in his own party, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's victory in the election of key Likud officers raises the chances that he will be able to broaden his government and push through a promised withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- though it's still not certain.
The post-Arafat era has begun with high hopes in Washington, London, Jerusalem and even Ramallah -- but many of the obstacles that prevented peace in Arafat's day remain, and it's not clear whether any of the major players has the single-minded determination to make peace happen.
The United States is not as actively involved as it may have to be; the Europeans, who would like to be intimately involved, don't have the necessary political clout; the Israeli leadership, insulated by strong American backing and facing a recalcitrant right wing, sees no need to hurry, and the new Palestinian leaders, hamstrung by radical, violent opponents, may not be able to make concessions beyond what the late Palestinian Authority president countenanced.
President Bush gave an inkling of the ambivalence inherent in American policy after a meeting last week in Washington with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Sharon made two key decisions. Israel will do whatever it can from a distance to help Mahmoud Abbas, who seems to be emerging as the dominant figure in the new Palestinian leadership, to establish his position, but at the same time it will prepare for chaos if the broad coalition Abbas is forming falls apart.
The Israeli establishment is delighted by the re-election of President Bush.
Israeli officials are quietly confident that if Yasser Arafat's health forces him to leave office, new chances for Israeli-Palestinian accommodation will open up.
Tuesday, Oct. 26 may well go down as one of the more important, and bizarre, dates in the annals of Israeli politics.