January in the Middle East
The year in federal politics began with a Prime Ministerial trip to Israel, the West bank and Jordan that was widely considered a political success.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Canada's Stephen Harper the warmest welcome possible.
Netanyahu lavished a degree of effusive praise on Harper that he reserves for no other world leader -- certainly not the President of Israel's most important ally and biggest funder, the United States.
The American administration may be solidly pro-Israel, but it still would like a lasting and viable peace settlement with the Palestinians, an idea that the Israeli leader only occasionally pretends to support, in the most tepid and unenthusiastic fashion.