Israel Tries English Patience

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JERUSALEM: Touring the Mideast as an emissary of the European Union, British foreign secretary Robin Cook heard today that his divorce had been granted, leaving him free to marry his mistress. And that's about the best news he’s likely to get on this trip, according to TIME Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer.

In a major diplomatic rebuff, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a dinner with Cook after the foreign secretary met with Palestinian representatives in Arab East Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s move is a sign of the limits of E.U. leverage in the Mideast peace process: "The European Union has no influence whatsoever over Israel," says Beyer. "To say even that Cook's visit will achieve very little would be an unrealistically high expectation."