Israeli News: A Daily Analysis
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

August 1, 2007

US Secretary of State Rice was in Israel today. Her stated mission is to help organize an international peace conference this fall.  The Saudis announced today their willingness to attend. Israel Channel 10's political correspondent stated today that the time has come to change disks (an Israeli idiom for change of circumstances).  He stated that the peace business is now back.  According to his repor,t all sorts of official and unofficial negotiations are taking place.  The goal is to agree to a one-page statement on principals that will spell out the final peace terms between Israel and the Palestinians.  It would seem that such an agreement is clearly in the works.  The hope is that if an agreement is reached it will provide leverage for Fatah to show what it can accomplish and furthermore what can be accomplished by renouncing violence.  With a final agreement of principals in place it will be possible to enter into an interim agreement. Nothing may come of all this- but just maybe.

Olmert may have enough time to reach this agreement, as the issuance of Winograd Commission final report may be delayed.  Yesterday, Olmert asked for more time to defend himself before the commission. Today the Army Advocate Generals office filed suit to force the Winograd Commission to give official warnings to the army officials who will be named in the final report. The Commission opposes any request for delay.  It has made it clear that it was not set up as an official national commission of inquiry just to avoid the delays that involviing lawyers would bring to the process.  If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the army then the report could be delayed for up to a year.

The fight between the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Justice Minister reached new levels today, when the Chief Justice Benish wrote a public letter to Friedman criticizing his actions and stating that the whole purpose of his reforms has been to undermine the Supreme Court.  

The Holocaust Survivors Association announced today that the survivors would not accept the small sums that the government has promised as a special pension this week.  They said that whole concept of starting at 80 shekels a month (less then $20) and raising it 500 in six years when the population of survivors will be much smaller is a disgrace.