A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
August 10 , 2007 Reflections on the Week
Heading into Shabbat, Israeli analysts tried to make sense of a number of this weekÕs events. First, was the meeting between Abbas and Olmert, early in the week, focusing on talks of final a settlement. Opinions seem to be divided. Respected Ha'Aretz commentator, Yoel Marcus, wrote today that he thought a real window for reaching a final settlement might have opened up. Other Israeli commentators are less optimistic. They believe that itÕs in everyoneÕs interest to make noise about negotiations, but neither of these leaders is in any position to actually reach an agreement. The new Palestinian Prime Minister has made it clear he has no interest in final settlement negotiations, but rather is placing his efforts on building up his government. Tomorrow the Palestinian authority is going to make a major effort to bring Schechem (Nabulus) under its control. The success of AbbasÕ efforts in Nablus will be considered an important test.
Second issue this week...The refusal of the Hesder soldiers to remove settlers from Hebron has continues to be a major topic of commentary. The Hesder Yeshivot receive 29 million shekels a year from the Ministry of Defense and another 39 million shekels from the Ministry of Education. Many observers are calling for either ending the Hesder Yeshivot entirely, or at least cutting off the ones whose Rabbis actively encourage their studentsÕ insubordination in the army.
Lastly, there have been a number of calming messages coming from Syria in the last few days. They have tried to make it clear they have no interest in war. They have also called off their major summer military exercise, one which they have every year. All of this is obviously good, however, itÕs exactly what they would be saying and doing if they wanted to launch a surprise attack.