Edna Bar-Or wants to be optimistic about the prospects for peace after this week's Palestinian elections, but like many Israelis, she is not sure she can.
"I very much hope it will bring good," said Bar-Or, 55, surrounded by stacks of laundry and hangers full of pressed shirts at her dry cleaning shop. "I want to be optimistic, but I don't think anyone knows what will be.
Israelis followed news of the Palestinian Authority elections Sunday, pausing to listen to radio and television news broadcasts and to read newspaper front pages plastered with large photographs of Mahmoud Abbas, better known as Abu Mazen. Yasser Arafat's former deputy won the vote by 62 percent and will become the next president of the Palestinian Authority.
Under strong pressure from Washington to pull Syrian forces out of Lebanon and prevent cross-border terror against U.S. troops in neighboring Iraq, Syria's President Bashar Assad has again been talking about a readiness for peace with Israel.
"I've been working at the Century Plaza for three years. I've had only a 44-cent raise, and I have two children. It's hard to support a family with this salary," hotel worker Sonya Lopez told a crowd in Roxbury Park at the Progressive Jewish Alliance's (PJA) Aug. 8 event, "Justice in the Park," to educate groups on the hotel workers' position.
Since their extended contract expired June 1, unionized workers at nine Los Angeles hotels have been embroiled in a struggle with hotel management over new terms. Aside from a battle over wages and other benefits, the main sticking point between the two groups is the length of the contract.
Most of the workers are low-wage earners, starting at about $11 an hour, and many are recent immigrants.
Few doubt that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan has the potential to become a watershed event in Middle Eastern politics, and it already is causing major upheavals in both internal Israeli and Palestinian politics.
The targeted killing of Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin and the "open season" that Israel has declared against Hamas leaders and those of other Palestinian terrorist organizations must be viewed as part of a larger Israeli policy designed to achieve a number of objectives.
After its gala launch in Switzerland this week, the unofficial Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal known as the Geneva accord is rapidly picking up international support.
Israel is plotting each meter of its security fence with great care and consideration, Israeli officials say -- not just to keep terrorists out, but to keep the United States on Israel's side.
While the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) closes facilities around the Southland, leaders of the North Valley Jewish Community Center (NVJCC) have decided to emulate their big brother in the West Valley and try to take control of their center themselves.
The government of Israel has wisely chosen to cooperate with a U.S.-led international commission that began investigating Israeli-Palestinian violence this week. Led by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, the commission hopes its work will reduce the violence in the region and lead the parties back to the negotiating table.
Uri Savir may not have won a Nobel Peace Prize, but far more than the three national leaders who did, he is Mr. Oslo. For three long months in 1993, the then director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry sat secretly in the Norwegian capital and hammered out an agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization that kindled hopes of an end to a century of belligerence.
At first blush it seemed like a done deal. If Syria and Israel were returning to the negotiating table, and President Bill Clinton was leading them, then it was surely just a matter of time until the two sides reached agreement and declared peace. American, Syrian and Israeli officials sounded confident to a fault, saying a deal might be just a short distance away.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Middle East shuttle mission has paid off with the announcement that Israeli-Syrian negotiations will resume next week.
Readers' Quiz No. 2: Test your knowledge of Middle East terrorism. Simply identify the following incident:
It was one of America's most controversial "victories" against international terrorism: a negotiated settlement with a gang of Arabic-speaking hijackers who were holding American hostages. After military action proved ineffective, a U.S. diplomat in the region decided -- apparently without authorization -- to pay off the hijackers. The hostages were released, but, in the ensuing furor, the diplomat, a Jew, lost his job.