Stuff You Should Read

newsboy2-745827.jpgThe Jerusalem Post predicts that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert will survive the release of the Winograd Report and that Defense Minister Ehud Barak will remain in the government:

Sources close to Barak said it was unlikely that he would honor the promise he made when running for Labor leader last year that as soon as the report came out, Labor would “end its partnership with Olmert and work to establish a new government in the current Knesset, or alternatively, to set a date for elections.”

“He will find it extremely difficult to demand Olmert’s resignation based on this report,” a source close to Barak said. “This is not a report that justifies bringing down the government. I can’t see him leaving the government or demanding Olmert’s resignation.”

A Kenyan journalist, Edwin Okong’o offers an extremely helpful, in-depth analysis of the current Kenyan crisis for Frontline/World:

Odinga and Kibaki are now locked in a political struggle that could tear the country apart. Odinga is under pressure to deliver on behalf of his associates who may not be willing to wait another five-year term before they come to power.

…Regrettably, as a popular Kiswahili saying goes, when two elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers. Whatever showdown emerges will involve tribal sentiments. My fear is that if both sides fail to agree to share power, they will summon their tribal armies of poor people to do their dirty work for them.

Ha’aretz reports on this deeply troubling Jewish new construction project in East Jerusalem:

The Yemin Yehuda non-profit association has begun building 200 housing units in the Shimon Hatzaddik compound, in the heart of East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarra neighborhood. In the process, the organization intends to demolish the homes of dozens of Palestinian families who live there.

This neighborhood is in a strategic location: If Yemin Yehuda completes its plan, it will cut the Old City off from the Palestinian neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem.

MK Benny Elon (National Union-National Religious Party), who supports building the new neighborhood, says it is designed to create a Jewish continuum surrounding the Old City, where there currently is a massive Palestinian majority.

Meir Margalit of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions says the new plan is very dangerous because it aims to thwart any chance of a future agreement based on the division of Jerusalem.

Veteran writer/journalist Kevin Kelly offers this exquisite piece for NPR’s “This I Believe:”

When the miracle flows, it flows both ways. With each gift the threads of benevolence are knotted, snaring both giver and recipient. I’ve only slowly come to realize that good givers are those who learn to receive with grace as well. They radiate a sense of being indebted and a state of being thankful. As a matter of fact, we are all at the receiving end of a huge gift simply by being alive. Yet, most of us are no good at being helpless, humble or indebted.

As with my hitchhiking rides, the gift is an extravagant gesture you can count on. No matter how bad the weather, soiled the past, broken the heart, hellish the war, I believe all that is behind the universe is conspiring to help us — if we will humble ourselves enough to let it.

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