I pay close attention to what’s going on in Israel and the occupied territories, but I still don’t fundamentally understand the nature of the relationship between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The Palestinians and IDF seem to be close to reaching a compromise that will end the siege in Bethlehem. The terms of the settlement will be that the 6 most wanted men holed up in the church will be exiled to Italy, another 35 will be sent to the Gaza Strip, and the rest will go free. If the 6 men are terrorists who have killed Israeli citizens, why is Israel going to let them, in essence, go free? Why would Italy accept these highly dangerous individuals? How much better is it to have terrorists in the Gaza Strip than in the West Bank? Then there’s the issue of Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian head of the Tanzim militia, who Israel has in the past tried to assassinate. Barghouti is currently in Israeli custody and word is he’ll be tried for terrorist attacks in which he was allegedly involved, but there’s also talk that Israel sees him as a future replacement for Yasser Arafat and that he might ultimately be sent to the Gaza Strip. I confess that I don’t understand a bit of it.