....from the MidEast.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas declared Tuesday that their people would stop all military and violent attacks against each other, pledging to break a four-year cycle of bloodshed and get peace talks back on track.If Hamas is waiting until Israel does something, that may be good news. Israel is not going to initiate any violence, so the ball is in Hamas' court.
With the flags of their countries whipping in the wind, Sharon and Abbas met face-to-face at a Mideast summit, smiling broadly as they leaned across a long white table to shake hands. In one sign the talks went well, Egypt and Jordan announced afterward that they would return their ambassadors to Israel after a four-year absence possibly within days.
But the Palestinian militant group Hamas immediately called the deal into question, saying it would not be bound by the cease-fire declarations and was waiting to see what Israel would do next.
As part of the deal, Israel will hand over control of five West Bank towns to the Palestinians within three weeks and immediately release 500 Palestinian prisoners.
Those agreements, and the sight of Abbas and Sharon shaking hands, were the clearest signs yet of momentum in the peace process after Yasser Arafat's death in November and Abbas' election to succeed him in January.
The world waits, with fingers crossed, hoping that this will be the real thing. Only time will tell.