The mystery of America

It happens once every few months. Like a periodic visit by an especially annoying relative from overseas, Condoleezza Rice was here again. The same declarations, the same texts devoid of content, the same sycophancy, the same official aircraft heading back to where it came from. The results were also the same . . .

Rice has been here six times in the course of a year and a half, and what has come of it? Has anyone asked her about this? Does she ask herself?

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Gaza sliding into civil war

Years of rivalry between the Islamic Hamas movement and the more secular Fatah is spilling over into a violent struggle for power, reports Rory McCarthy from Gaza City

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Israel Bars New Palestinian Students From Its Universities, Citing Concern Over Security

[Israel's Apartheid system is tightening its grip over the lives of Palestinians]

Dr. Raphael Levine, the Hebrew University chemistry professor who accepted Ms. Salameh as his student, said he understood Israel’s security concerns but was baffled by the ban. “I think it is in Israel’s interest to strengthen the Palestinian middle class, and strengthening academic institutions in Palestinian areas is one sure way of achieving that,” he said.

“There is a Jewish tradition in which value is put on learning; Mr. Ben-Gurion said he wanted Israel to be a shining light to all nations,” he said, referring to Israel’s first prime minister. “You have to deliver on these things.”

“Both by sentiment and cold practicality, it is not in our interest to act like this,” Dr. Levine said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where he is teaching at the University of California.

Meanwhile, Ms. Salameh, a high school science teacher, continues her life in Anata. She attends meetings as an elected member of the municipal council and is working to set up the village’s first women’s center.

She longs to begin work on her doctorate and one day become a role model for other Palestinian women and girls as the first woman to be a Palestinian professor of chemistry in the West Bank.

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Soros pairing with dovish Jews to consider an alternative to AIPAC

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (JTA) – A top staffer for billionaire philanthropist George Soros met recently with senior representatives of the dovish pro-Israel community to discuss setting up an alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, JTA has learned.

Morton Halperin, a director of Soros’ Open Society Institute and a veteran of senior positions in the Clinton, Nixon and Johnson administrations, confirmed to JTA that the meeting took place late last month. He would not add details.

“It was a private meeting, it was an effort to get this off the ground,” said Halperin, who directs the institute’s U.S. advocacy.

The meeting focused on how best to press Congress and the Bush administration to back greater U.S. engagement toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how to better represent American Jews who don’t buy into AIPAC’s often hawkish policies.

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Report: Peres torpedoed Gaza desalination plant in '92

"I stressed to him that I was about to establish a desalination plant on the border of the Gaza Strip," Zaslavsky related. "Peres burst out in response that he opposed it, because it did not concern us, and we did not need to worry about the Arabs, as they would look after themselves." He claims that the project was consequently canceled.

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