Danny Rubinstein, Haaretz, September 4:
During the past two months, July and August, 251 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and the West Bank, all of them by Israel Defense Forces fire. About half of them were civilians, including women, children and the elderly. More Palestinians than Israelis were killed during the war in Lebanon, even though the Palestinians did not participate in the war and were not subjected to Katyusha fire.
There has been a total freeze in the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The road map has not been mentioned for a long time. There is no disengagement and no realignment. There are no unilateral moves, and certainly no negotiations between the two sides. Occasionally, low-level officials meet to discuss essential everyday issues. And there have apparently been indirect contacts about releasing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. But the only area in which Israel and the Palestinians currently maintain relations is the violent conflict: raids, shootings, shellings, terror attacks, arrests, roadblocks, expropriations. Killed and wounded.…
The Israelis, however, have a major PR problem. During the recent war in Lebanon, many believed Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah over Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz.