These last few days have left me struggling to find time to come up for air. In addition to tonight's KIC session at Ulpan Etzion, I have been asked to run a session for about 60 overseas students at Haifa University on Tuesday night. Question is, where does one start when it comes to Keeping It (ie: people) Current this week. With all that is happening around the world, it's difficult to focus.
In addition to Sharon's UN speech at the end of last week, the Iranian performance from the UN podium confirmed that our neighborhood is bound to remain a focal point for hungry reporters and tired diplomats. I commend the Iraninian leadership on its willingness to test the will of the nations. I don't blame them. I mean, the world has seldom proven itself to be strong enough or united enough to respond to similar challenges. Still, the speech was provocatively critical of the USA and 'the Zionist regime' and even the Europeans were a little taken aback by its ferocity.
Then, as if to provide just what the American-Israeli doctor ordered, we witness a pledge by North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions. After years of tough talk from all sides (and some tense times), suddenly we are greeted with what really is a tremendous announcement. If the North Koreans do in fact fulfil their obligations as pledged, this would constitute a quite remarkable victory for diplomacy and those who support that route over miltary action. In light of its provision of weapons and know-how to Israeli and US foes, this decision appears to be at least somewhat of a dent in the terrorist's endeavour to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Let's not overlook the extra diplomatic hurdle this agreement will create for Iran.
At home though, the weapons are flowing. Isn't it just a touch ironic that the communities to the north of Gaza are now complaining that the government has not put protective measures in place to sufficiently defend them from missiles and terrorist infiltrations from Gaza? Almost funny actually. The settlement enterprise has always, always (that is- ALWAYS) said that should we ever withdraw from the settlements, then Israel proper would quickly become the frontline. And here we are...
As predicted by many (even those for Disengagement), the Egyptian presence on the Gaza-Egypt border has proven pointless - in fact laughable. The hands-off approach of Abu Mazen's thousands of security personnel would be funny too if it wasn't so dishonest, tragic, weak and misleading. With rhetoric and expectations forever rising in the Palestinian territories, everyone (except for those who have been at Club Med on Mars for the last 15 years) is simply awaiting the unwelcome arrival of missiles in Ashkelon and the full return of Palestinian youth who grow up and blow up so so young these days.
I've been at least hesitantly 'encouraged' by some of the world's support for Israel recently so you can't call me an all-out pessimist. Still, if you can convince me that my last paragraph is simply doom & gloom whining and not at all realistic, I'd be happy to hear your view in the comments section.
Meanwhile, I'm strapping myself in tightly and getting the protective gear on - the battle for the heart of the Likud is underway. Not only won't it be pretty but it may well see the biggest change to Israel's political scene for decades.