"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's bureau said it saw no problem with renewing the work, and its halt in recent months reflected planning problems, and not a political decision." - Haaretz On the face of it, it looks ridiculous to restart the archeological work now, just before a "peace conference". Why get everybody worked up, even as the city did not yet finish the approval process of the new bridge to be built, without which there is no point in a "salvage" dig. (One doesn't know yet which area needs salvaging.) For a similar reason it looks ridiculous to expropriate land for a new road to Jericho in order to enable annexation of an area (E1) bordering on Jerusalem. All these are pre-emptive political payments by Olmert. Olmert is showing Shas, whose bottom line is the unity of Jerusalem, that he will not give up on Israel's sovereignty of Jerusalem, and is showing the Lieberman party that he will not make concessions that are too painful. Olmert wants to keep the present coalition intact. There is a little problem here. By mollifying the extremists in the government, Olmert excludes a deal that the Palestinians can accept. The so-called peace conference will produce no real deal; perhaps a real new Intifada. Best to wait for new elections in Israel, the PA, and the USA, and start with a new cast of characters.
2 Yemeni Red Cross workers killed by gunmen (AP)
from the article: Mugrabi excavations delayed due to appeal by Arab minister