Jonathan has been carefully documenting the many encouraging developments in the middle east conflict over the past few weeks - items that call for reflection and absorption rather than outright commentary.

I'm amazed and pleased at the recent rush of events like this that leave me more and more guardedly optimistic about the future of peace than I've been in a long time.

Perhaps as only Nixon could go to China, could Sharon leave Gaza. And perhaps the very concept of the Wall has an inertia all its own, that the messianic settlers can't harness as they thought they might...

UPDATE: fantastic and humbling article in the Economist about the human face of the conflict. Bottom line is that the people living the conflict aren't nearly as optimistic as I, because for them it's not a theoretical issue, it's the daily reality of having your nephew shot in the eye or having your son called up during his engagement party. Still, I can't help but hope that things are headed towards improvement. But my own interests are diverted more towards the issue of Iraq ...

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