On Night One, she dined with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who told Arianna that he was an "ABB: Anybody But Bush," and that the Palestinians "need to accept becoming a Palestinian state even before the borders are finalized."
When PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad unveiled a plan last month for creating a Palestinian state within two years, Israeli leaders reacted with consternation...
The following day, Arianna met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, who seduced her with his optimism.
"It's hard to spend any time with Israeli President Shimon Peres and remain pessimistic about the possibility of peace," she wrote of the Nobel Peace Prize-winner whose centrist Kadima party has been relegated to back bench status while the conservative Benjamin Netanyahu leads a right-leaning coalition government that has taken a hard-line on talks with the PA and forcefully rebuffed US attempts to secure a freeze on Israeli settlement building that the nation was supposed to enact in the first phase of the "Road Map" for Middle East peace...
Once imbued with Peres-fueled optimism, Arianna set out to see the settlements for herself.
"Taking it all in, it's hard not to feel weighed down by a sense of hopelessness over the divisions that seem even more entrenched and permanent than the intruding settlements themselves," she wrote today. "Yet, in this land of miracles, we can still imagine the emergence of the kind of leadership that can transform both old hatreds and the facts on the ground."