PROGRESS IN GAZA….Condoleezza Rice has successfully concluded a deal between Israel and the Palestinian government that gives Gaza better access to the outside world:

The deal sets out the terms of operation for Gaza border crossings used to move cargo and people, resolving a deadlock that has frustrated a team of international negotiators for weeks. It also establishes a system of bus convoys to shuttle Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank, the two territorial components of what is envisioned as a future Palestinian state.

The agreement allows the Palestinians to begin work on Gaza’s seaport, and assures donors that Israel will not interfere with its operation….The deal says discussions on renovating and reopening Gaza’s international airport will continue.

As NSC director Rice was a disaster, but as Secretary of State she’s been surprisingly effective. Credit where it’s due. Over at Liberals Against Terrorism, Nadezhda provides some of the backstory, including props for James Wolfensohn, who negotiated the deal in the first place. As she says, “This demonstrates the benefits of actually working the issues multilaterally rather than use the Quartet as either a fig leaf for US positions or an excuse not to act.”