FROM Avi Issacharoff
Possible Cease-Fire in the Works in Israel-Gaza Conflict As we began broadcasting and recording this program moments ago, there was hope that the hour for a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel had arrived. We get an update from Sheera Frankel of NPR and the McClatchy Newspapers, who joins us from the border between Israel and Gaza, and Avi Issacharoff, Palestinian and Arab affairs correspondent for Ha'aretz .
In the Middle East, New Strategies or More of the Same? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced today that the US today will lift the embargo placed on the Palestinian Authority when Hamas won parliamentary elections 18 months ago. Also today, the European Union said it will resume direct aid to the Palestinian Authority now that Hamas is out of the government. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who will meet tomorrow in Washington with President Bush, has indicated that Israel might turn over tax money it's been withholding. It's all about bolstering the secular Fatah faction in the West Bank and isolating Islamic Hamas after last week's military takeover of Gaza. Since Hamas took control of Gaza, Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has formed a new government, excluding the radical Islamic group. What are the benefits and risks of further dividing the Palestinian people? What are the strengths and weaknesses of Hamas and Fatah, and what's at stake for the region as a whole?
New Clashes in Gaza In Gaza, eight Palestinians were killed today, and twenty-five more were wounded in factional fighting. The dead included two people thrown off rooftops. Avi Issacharoff, who reports for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz , says the violence constitutes a sort of civil war between Fatah and Hamas.
After Southern Lebanon, What about the Palestinians? UN Security Council Resolution 1701 stopped the fighting in southern Lebanon with the promise that France would help enforce it by leading a 15,000 member peacekeeping source. Today, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that France is scaling back to a "symbolic" contingent of 10 officers and 200 engineers. Meantime, as Hamas and the Palestinian Authority talk about forming a "unity government, there's a threat to dissolve all civil institutions and demand that Israel keep order in the West Bank and Gaza. Has the success of Hezbollah emboldened militants or will it lead to diplomacy in the region's oldest conflict? What about Israel's plan to pull out of the West Bank? We get an update from the UN and the Palestinian territories, where events have been out of the limelight because of the fighting in Lebanon.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.