March 17, 2010

Amid a pre-event torrent of child-friendly animations of China's upcoming world's fair —expected to draw 70 million visitors—and images of the Expo's fingerless blue mascot, called Haibao, Israel's seashell-shaped pavilion has garnered more than its share of attention.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has dismissed the idea that US-Israeli relations are in crisis amid a row over Jewish settlers in Arab East Jerusalem.

The tiff between the U.S. and Israel is less important that the worrisome growth of tension between Palestinians and Israelis as the Israelis have claimed more and more sites sacred to the Palestinians as well. There is talk of a third Intifada or Palestinian uprising.

He is visiting Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan ahead of a more controversial visit to Iran in May. While in the region Lula will throw his country's growing diplomatic weight behind the Middle East peace process.

The action, if not the timing, was neither a provocation, the establishment of a "new settlement" nor proof that Israel doesn't want peace. Anyone who knows Israel well understands this is what is called locally a fashla, a stupid mess-up as often happens with the government.

The 500-page report revealed Monday by The Jerusalem Post and authored by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center is the first real, aggressive Israeli response to the Goldstone Report, taking it apart piece-by-piece and explaining the true nature of the conflict against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon ended his visit to Washington on Thursday - a visit which coincided with the current crisis between Washington and Jerusalem, saying that "it's my understanding that this incident is behind us". Apparently, it only just began.

Israeli riot police and soldiers have, since Friday, sealed off the Al Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine, restricting entry to women and Palestinian men over 50. The tense situation on the ground has coincided with a diplomatic crisis of sorts with the Israeli government in confrontation with visiting United States Vice-President Joe Biden.