Spoiling The Postelection Mood

The honeymoon's over for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

The honeymoon didn't last long. After Mahmoud Abbas was elected Palestinian President on Jan. 9, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon placed a congratulatory call to Yasser Arafat's successor and, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials, said he was "looking forward to meeting with you to discuss issues." Abbas responded that they would meet soon, "God willing." Four days later, the optimism was shattered, at least temporarily, when Palestinian militants killed six Israelis at a freight crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Sharon suspended ties with Abbas the next day.

For both leaders, the crisis presents an early measure of...

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