Ever since news emerged that officials at Washington's powerful pro-Israel lobby were suspected of violating national security laws, speculation has raged over how this would affect its legendary clout. Now, two years down the line, after unceasing crises of investigations, subpoenas, surveillance, wire taps, grand juries and indictments, the consequence is clear: Unhappily, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is in peril of becoming a modern-day version of the ancient court Jew. In this case, that means bowing to the prerogatives of the Bush administration rather than using its avowed clout actually to influence government policy.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is vowing to step up targeted killings of suspected Palestinian terrorists. Israel's practice of targeted killings is not new, but Sharon's statements again threw a spotlight on the controversial policy.
He made the comment following a terror attack Dec. 27 at a West Bank yeshiva, in which four students were killed and 10 others wounded. Reflecting the odd vagaries of Middle East politics, his vow also came as Israeli and Palestinian officials began reviewing the latest draft of a U.S. "road map" for achieving peace in the region.