Marwan Barghouti doesn't get many visitors at his cell in the Haderim prison, a low-slung beige structure located along Israel's coastal plain. So the popular Palestinian leader was a little surprised two weeks ago to see the face of Ephraim Sneh, who until last month was the Jewish state's deputy Defense minister.
There wasn't much left of Mohammed Dahlan's house by the time I stopped by Wednesday morning. The whitewashed villa in Gaza City's lush Remal neighborhood had been torched, robbed and stripped by looters of any loose fixture or ornament of value, including the sewage pipes in the backyard.
Israelis began calling for the head of their prime minister, Ehud Olmert, this week, after an interim report of the Winograd Commission, the panel investigating the conduct of last summer's Lebanon war, found "severe failures" in Olmert's handling of the conflict.
Salam Fayyad just might have the worst job in the West Bank. After warring Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reached a power-sharing deal in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, last month, the 55-year-old economist agreed to take over as the new government's finance minister.
Avigdor Lieberman is one of the most controversial figures in Israeli politics. Critics deride the 48-year-old founder of the far-right Israel Beitenu ("Israel Is Our Home") party as a "racist" and a "fascist" for his proposal to redraw Israel's borders to exclude some Israeli Arab villages.
The sound of the ringing telephone preceded the roar of the rocket by only moments. "Get out of the house as soon as you can," Silvan Elmakias's brother cried over the telephone line. "Get the kids and run."A moment later, a deafening blast—"as if the whole world exploded"—ripped through the garden outside Elmakias's home, near the northern Israeli suburb of Nahariya.
At first, the threats trickling in to the Palestinian intelligence headquarters in Gaza seemed like childish pranks. Operatives chuckled about a Hamas-run Web site featuring a caricature of their boss, intel chief Tareq Abu Rajab: the Islamists had digitally grafted an image of a dog's head onto the Fatah loyalist's body.
Few know more about the behind-the- scenes machinations in the Middle East than Israel's notorious Mossad intelligence agency. Of course, the Mossad has inspired its fair share of conspiracy theories as well.