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A Daily Analysis- Special
By Marc Schulman

March 19, 2008 Gaza, Mubarak, and the American Political Campaign

There are more and more reports that an agreement is in the works for a long term settlement with Hamas that will include the reopening of the border. So far Hamas has not fired any missile for nearly two weeks. They did not stop the Islamic Jihad from firing. Official sources still deny there is any agreement, but it does look more and more like something is in the works.

President Hosni Mubarak gave a major speech on peace and Islam today. He said that while armed struggle is legitimate, the proper understanding of Islam calls for giving peace a chance. This call was clearly aimed at both Hezbollah and Israel. Mubarak is facing new problems at home. The worldwide increase in food prices is hurting Egypt. Until now, the subsidies on basic goods have been able to limit the effect. Unfortunately, the recent increases have been beyond the ability of the Egyptian budget to limit.

The media continues to discuss Netanyahu's hotel accommodations in London. The public in Israel does not seem care. A survey released today that 33% of Israelis thought it was good if an Israeli leader was rich, 33% said it does not make a difference and only 21% thought it was bad. When asked who cared the most about the poor Israelis, 54% listed no one, 17% listed Netanyahu, 9% listed Olmert, and only 4% listed Barak.

The American political campaign came to Israel today with Senator John McCainĂ­s visit. McCain visited Sderot and stating that the people of Arizona would never stand for rocket fire from Mexico. He spoke about how terrible it was that kids in the city are suffering from PTS (post traumatic stress). McCain did all he could present the image as the superior candidate for Israel.

On the other side of the spectrum, some troubling news about Seantor Obama came out today. In an article in Salon magazine on some of his earliest supporters, it came to light that one of those supporters and a close friend was a professor of Middle East studies named Rashid KhalIdi. He now holds the Edward Siad chair of ME studies at Columbia. Knowing Professor Khalidi personally from his days as a post graduate student at Columbia, I can say that his is no friend of Israel, and considering how engaging he is, I am sure that he has had a major influence on Senator Obama.