Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to visit three Latin American countries next week, as a part of his ongoing effort to boldly go where none of his predecessors has gone before.
By inviting the president of Israel and the head of the Palestinian Authority to his Vatican home for a "prayer for peace," Pope Francis picks up where Secretary of State John Kerry left off—using moral suasion to bring the two famously recalcitrant sides together in the same room. But in this case, Francis is leaving out the Israeli leader who matters most.
After a bitterly heated debate among feuding party luminaries, the Labor Central Committee on Monday night approved by a two-to-one margin calls by Shimon Peres to join a national unity government with Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon.
After the Knesset voted early Tuesday morning not to dissolve, the special Israeli election for prime minister only appeared to come down to a race between incumbent Ehud Barak and Likud chairman Ariel Sharon. But prominent dove Shimon Peres looked at his numbers in the polls and announced on Wednesday he plans to run as well, adding more pressure on Barak to seal a quick peace deal in renewed talks with the Palestinians.
Falling further behind in successive polls, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is facing increasing calls to set aside in his bid for re-election in favor of the Labor's party elder statesman and leading dove Shimon Peres, who appears to have a better chance at defeating Likud Chairman Ariel Sharon in balloting on February 6.
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak delivered on Monday his most outspoken comments yet on the violent Palestinian intifada since it drove him from office last February, insisting there should be no more negotiations with PLO chief Yasser Arafat.
Ignoring the relentless violence and skirting pledges not to negotiate under fire, Israel renewed both political and security contacts with the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday.