Congress officially is lined up behind President Bush's grand vision of Palestinian democracy -- but it wants details along with that vision.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives' powerful International Relations Committee met last week, right after two congressional resolutions overwhelmingly endorsing Bush's call for a Palestinian state were passed.
We have spoken slander; we have acted presumptuously; we have practiced deceit. Each year we beat our chest and resolve to change.
After a short respite from the fight over the Pledge of Allegiance, the Republican Party has once again thrown itself into the fray over issues of church and state. This time it's the Republican Party of Texas, President Bush's home state, which has approved a plank in its platform affirming that "the United States of America is a Christian nation."
All of this comes to mind in the face of this week's effort by the Palestinians to generate anti-Israel resolutions in the General Assembly in response to the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) -- the judicial but injudicious arm of the United Nations -- that Israel's controversial new security barrier is illegal and must be torn down.
Blame it on the Mesopotamians. About 4,000 or 5,000 years ago, they came up with the meshuggeneh idea of New Year's resolutions.
And what was their most common pledge? To return borrowed farm equipment. "That would be a pickax or a sickle," says Danny, 12, who studied the Mesopotamians last year in his ancient civilization class.
But today we can't simply return some borrowed tool, toy or casserole dish. No, we North Americans feel compelled to annually reinvent ourselves as perfect physical, intellectual and emotional beings. We feel compelled to promise to shape up, to learn Aramaic or read the 100 top English-language novels, to be more patient.
Four thousand years ago, the Babylonians originated the ritual of making New Year's resolutions. Most of them made the identical promise -- to return borrowed farm equipment.