This is a hard place for optimists.
Passover has, as young Simmy from Spring Valley says "passed over". The Kesher clan had a great holiday with grandma and grandpa visiting from the old country, travelling to the north of Israel to see lots of water, lots of restaurants that served bread without fear of the Hametz Cops and thousands of smiling Israelis. We stayed at a nice B&B in Rosh Pina
. Even got to see Jamie from Edgemont, the man who sells nice smelling waters and spicy grown up waters, in Tel Aviv. Last night, went to sleep knowing that Abu Maazan (with significant help from Egypt, the US and others) had forced Arafat to agreeing to his new cabinet. All good stuff offering positive thoughts for the coming days and weeks.
Back to work this morning and the first piece of news was a suicide bomber in Kfar Sava. One killed and ten wounded. Appartently the victim was a security guard who prevented the terrorist from entering the train station. What to do with this? Was the bomber out to stop talks that haven't started? How will Israel react? (How should it?)
This morning's news aside (and it cannot be "pushed" aside), there is a real opportunity here. The Israeli media has been full of dissertations trying to understand the plans, interviews and hopes of PM Sharon. Here's one
. Here's another
. Were his interviews and vague promises only words? Were they real signs that Israel will respond in kind to strong steps by Abu Maazen? I hope that the latter is true and that the Palestinians won't scare the hopeful Israel back into his emotional sealed room. I am fully confident that if the Palestinians are for real that the people of Israel will respond strongly. They will support either strong steps from Sharon or demand a leader who will speak and act strongly. But are the Palestinians for real? Probably not... as we saw this morning in Kfar Sava.
On a separate issue, nice to see other news items other then wall-to-wall Iraq. While the story is not over and remains compelling, the big news has passed and the war is over. People are settling down and planning for the next stage - rebuilding. This will take a LONG time, are Americans ready for how long? Does Garner know how hard it will be and how many interests there are to make the plans fail? The marching of the Shiites was wonderful and worrisome at once. The nearly capture of more henchmen is also a positive spin, it feels a bit like the card game - Go Fish (yes, we have the Jack of Spades).