Nasfad al-Khuffash is just about out of patience. But he has nowhere to go. An employee of the relief agency World Vision in Ramallah, Khuffash had high hopes for an easing of the Israeli siege after Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat signed a ceasefire with Israel nearly a month ago.
As a full moon rises over the Persian Gulf, the distant tinkle of a piano wafts through the darkness. It's late on a sultry evening in Dubai, and I'm on my way to the Burj Al Arab Hotel, described in a promotional brochure as a pleasure palace for "the richest of the rich." Constructed in 1999 at a rumored cost of $2 billion, the Burj is a sail shaped white tower that rises from an artificial island, separated from the mainland by a quarter-mile causeway.
It began in a concrete-block house in a sandy alley in Rafah, a hardscrabble Palestinian town at the southern edge of the Gaza Strip. Photographer Gary Knight and I had driven there last Tuesday morning to report on a worsening guerrilla war--a conflict pitting lightly armed Palestinian insurgents against Israeli troops backed by tanks and bulldozers.
When he succeeded his father, King Hussein, to the throne two years ago, Jordan's King Abdullah II was hailed as a thoroughly modern monarch. Oxford-educated and a fan of the Internet, the energetic young king courted potential investors from Silicon Valley and paid incognito visits to state-run hospitals to investigate reports of corruption.
The taxi driver raced his aging Mercedes through downtown Beirut, past bullet-pocked ruins and new steel and glass office towers. Approaching a red light, he gunned his engine and sped through the intersection. "Nobody obeys the lights," the cabby, a Maronite Christian named George, says with a laugh, veering to avoid a collision with a Volkswagen that charged through the crossroads with similar nonchalance. "It's like we don't even see them." Beirut's peculiar traffic conditions are among...
Until the moment the masked men burst into his shop last Sunday morning, Mamoun Freij must have believed the worst was behind him. For four years the Palestinian merchant had been exiled from his West Bank home in Tulkarm--forced to flee to Israel after being accused of collaboration with the Israeli Army during the first intifada.
The busiest place in Ramallah these days is a parched slope on the city's outskirts, just beneath the Jewish settlement of Psigot. Here, in a new extension of the Al Bira Cemetery, Palestinian families gather through the day around 150 marble tombstones that mark the graves of victims of the Intifada.
Nestled on Albania's southern coast just 45 miles across the Adriatic from Italy, the crumbling port of Vlore is a smuggler's paradise. Countless sandy coves hidden along the rugged shoreline provide ideal loading bases for high-powered speedboats laden with heroin, hashish, guns or human cargo.
On a rocky hillside overlooking a military checkpoint near Jerusalem, two Israeli soldiers rush to intercept a group of Palestinians at dawn. The Arabs stampede across rocky terraces, racing to the safety of Palestinian territory 100 yards away. "Stand still!" a soldier commands.
Inside the crowded hearing room at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, emotions were stretched taut. As an inquiry began last Monday into the shooting deaths of 13 Arab Israelis in October, policeman Alexander Shvatzinsky was testifying about his role in quelling riots in the village of Jatt in northern Israel.
One of the world's most dubious bits of conventional wisdom holds that Israel is a modern and efficient state. Oh yeah? Sure, the country boasts high-tech industries, excellent health care, and sophisticated universities, all befitting its reputation as a slice of Europe in the Middle East.
Before he had even formed a government, Ariel Sharon radicalized both sides of the Arab-Israeli dispute. His spokesman, Raanan Gissin, announced that all of the concessions offered to the Palestinians at Camp David last summer were now "null and void." Sharon was willing to talk peace, but only on his own terms.
For Ariel Sharon, it was a clear sign that his enemies would not be intimidated. Just two days after his landslide victory in the Israeli election, Palestinian bombers packed 30 pounds of explosives into the trunk of a stolen Ford Fiesta and parked the car in the heart of Beit Yisrael, a densely populated religious neighborhood in Jerusalem.
It was another beautiful morning on the coastal plain of Israel, and along Route 44 southeast of Tel Aviv, the daily commute was underway. At a few minutes before 8 o'clock, three dozen young Israeli soldiers were waiting at the curbside for a public bus to take them to the nearby Tsrifim army base.A hundred yards up the highway, Havi Negav, 45, pulled his motor scooter behind a southbound bus heading toward the soldiers. "The road was empty, and he was going slowly," Negav remembers. "I tried...
For the students of Mir Yeshiva, a few minutes may have saved their lives. At 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, hundreds of devout Jewish scholars were gathered for their prayers inside a three-story sandstone building in the Hasidic Bet Yisrael neighborhood near downtown Jerusalem.
Lt. Matt Stapleton is a long way from his weekend combat training. On an unseasonably warm January morning, the North Carolina National Guardsman--a volunteer part-time soldier back home in the States--is bouncing in a Humvee through Bratunac, a town in eastern Bosnia whose entire Muslim population was murdered or driven out during the war.
Lt. Matt Stapleton is a long way from hurricane duty. On an unseasonably warm January morning, the North Carolina National Guardsman is bouncing in a Humvee through Bratunac, a town in eastern Bosnia whose entire Muslim population was murdered or driven out during the war.
Motti Dayan and Etgar Zeituni considered it just another shopping trip. Last Tuesday the cousins and co-owners of a trendy Tel Aviv cafe called Yuppies ventured into the seething West Bank--defying a ban imposed by the Israeli military--in search of bargains on produce for their restaurant.
Ever since he was forced to concede defeat in last September's Yugoslav election, Slobodan Milosevic has had an easy ride. Guarded by loyal members of the Serbian secret police, the ex-despot and his equally unpopular wife, Mirjana Markovic, still dwell in splendor in a hilltop villa in Belgrade's Dedinje neighborhood.
From the earliest days of their relationship, the two men never really trusted each other. At the Center for Philosophy and Social Theory in Belgrade, a think tank set up by Marshal Josip Broz Tito, the late Yugoslav leader, in the 1970s as a dumping ground for anti-communist intellectuals, they worked side by side in gloomy fourth-floor offices, barely speaking.