In Israel, Rice does the limbo


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met in Jerusalem on Aug. 26.

Visiting Israel this week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is trying to figure out what Israel’s state of political limbo means for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

To her dismay, she’s discovering it means the Bush administration is unlikely to see any progress of note during the remainder of Olmert’s – or Bush’s – term.

Here’s Barak Ravid’s analysis in Ha’aretz:

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may have arrived in Israel with the intention of advancing talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but her meetings have also dealt with trying to understand Israel’s political limbo.

An Israeli government source said a key issue Rice’s aides discussed with their Israeli counterparts was what happens the day after the Kadima party primary.

U.S. officials were trying hard to understand the constitutional ramifications of the Kadima race. They discussed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s role in an interim government and whether he could carry out significant political decisions. Rice’s aides concluded that it is highly likely that Israel will not have a stable new government before the end of 2008, around the time the Bush administration comes to a close.

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