Written from Jerusalem:
Things in Israel are a mess. This morning they bombed and killed many women and children in Gaza (Beit Hanoun refugee camp) in response to qassam missile attacks that came further into Israel than ever before (they hit Ashkelon). Braverman the challenger for the leadership of the Israeli Labour Party says that the Palestinian situation is now hopeless - and that failing Premier Olmert is now "finished". He says that both Israel and worldwide there is a total lack of leadership.
Ari Rath (former Jerusalem Post editor) says that the over-reaction in Gaza is a consequence of the summer war and a desire on Peretz's part (failing defence minister) to prove his military prowess. All the time there is this tit-for-tat. According to Ari there will be terrible repercussions to the Beit Hanoun attacks - both politically (internally to Israel that is) and internationally.
All I know is this may scotch the NCF's delegation to the region's chances of getting to Gaza - which were slim at the best of times.
Interestingly, by the way, Braverman adds, "I do not doubt that any Israeli government - whatever its public pronouncements - would be willing to negotiate with Syria - if the USA gave a green light".