Mitchell's meeting with Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, is part of US efforts to forge peace [EPA]

The US are looking at a big week for its relations with Israel.

George Mitchell, the special envoy to the Middle East, is the first of four US senior officials visiting Israel.

They are hoping to restart the Arab-Israeli peace process that has been stalled for the last six months.
 
But these meetings were pre-empted by a major corruption scandal unveiled by the FBI in New Jersey.

Several rabbis are among dozens of people arrested in a federal investigation of corruption and money laundering that the FBI has linked to Israeli charities connected with Jerusalem.

Could the timing of this investigation be sending a message to the Israelis? Could the unveiling of this scandal damage the popularity of the pro-Israel lobby in the US? And will it in any way affect the way the US deals with the Middle East peace process?

Inside Story discusses with guests Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist, Charlie Wolf, a conservative political commentator who writes for the Jewish News, and Abdullah Schleifer, a politcal analyst at the American University in Cairo.

This episode of Inside Story airs from Monday, July 27, 2009 at 1730GMT and 2230GMT with repeats on Tuesday at 0430GMT and 1030GMT.

Source: Al Jazeera