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In Gaza, Hamas’ Insults to Jews Complicate Peace Effort

In the Katib Wilayat mosque one recent Friday, the imam was discussing the wiliness of the Jew.

“Jews are a people who cannot be trusted,” Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas told the faithful. “They have been traitors to all agreements — go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing. Look what they are doing to us.”

At Al Omari mosque, the imam cursed the Jews and the “Crusaders,” or Christians, and the Danes, for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He referred to Jews as “the brothers of apes and pigs,” while the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, praises suicide bombing and advocates holy war until Palestine is free of Jewish control.

Its videos praise fighters and rocket-launching teams; its broadcasts insult the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, for talking to Israel and the United States; its children’s programs praise “martyrdom” and teach what Hamas calls the perfidy of the Jews and the need to end Israeli occupation over Palestinian land, meaning any part of the State of Israel.

Big Plans for Big Easy Are Stalled

In March 2007, city officials finally unveiled their plan to redevelop New Orleans and begin to move out of the post-Hurricane Katrina morass. It was billed as the plan to end all plans, with Paris-like streetscape renderings and promises of parks, playgrounds and “cranes on the skyline” within months.

But a year after a celebratory City Hall kickoff, there have been no cranes and no Parisian boulevards. A modest paved walking path behind a derelict old market building is held up as a marquee accomplishment of the yet-to-be-realized plan.

There has been nothing to signal a transformation in the sea of blight and abandonment that still defines much of the city. Weary and bewildered citizens, forced to bring back the hard-hit city on their own, have searched the plan’s 17 “target recovery zones” for any sign that the city’s promises should not be consigned to the municipal filing cabinet, along with their predecessors. On their one-year anniversary, the designated “zones” have hardly budged.

Carrying Primary Scars Into Nov.

President Carter and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy had been sharp adversaries with a bad history, and in the 1980 presidential campaign they let it bleed into a bitter nomination fight. The Carter administration challenged Kennedy’s patriotism and refused to debate, while Kennedy dragged out their fight for nine months, all the way to the Democratic convention. A weakened Carter prevailed and won the nomination, but he went on to lose in November.

Convention fights often spell ruin for a party. The 1980 experience for Democrats — as well as a fight in 1968, and one in 1976 for Republicans — all suggest that a bruising primary carried through the summer can contribute to defeat in November.

Today, nervous Democrats are worried that history will repeat itself as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who lags in delegates and the popular vote, has refused to concede the nomination to Sen. Barack Obama. Despite the increasing rancor of the campaign, Clinton says she is staying in until the voting is over.

Former President Clinton reinforced that point on Sunday. “There is somehow the suggestion that because we are having a vigorous debate about who would be the best president, we are going to weaken this party in the fall,” Clinton said. “Chill out.”