Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talks to reporters on Capitol Hill about the Iraq war supplemental. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The Democrats' biggest problem during the 110th Congress has been obvious: They were elected with a mandate to carry out the Herculean task of ending a war over the objections of a singularly stubborn president and a shameless minority party. Democrats won a landslide electoral victory last year in large part simply by expressing strident opposition to President Bush's foreign policy. But now, as the majority party, they're expected to actually do something. And Republicans have not cooperated.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearings on the West Bank separation barrier, which took place at The Hague last week, have attracted widespread attention and zealous passion. Palestinians and their partisans set up a mock fence outside the courthouse, and anti-Zionist chants filled the air. Not to be outdone, a pro-Israel organization shipped the skeletal remains of a blown-up bus into the city, and the parents of terrorism victims voiced their opposition to the hearings. But there is more than rhetoric to this case.
Three weeks ago, former officials from the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority announced that they had negotiated a detailed framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Ever since, Israeli public discourse -- for the first time since Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's landslide re-election earlier this year -- has focused on the possibilities for peace rather than simply on the miseries of war. To be sure, there is no guarantee that the Geneva Accord, as the plan is called, will provide the groundwork for an official agreement; nor is the plan certain to revitalize the long-moribund Israeli left.