Saban Forum: "How do you like my farm?" I [Rice] said, "Well, Prime Minister [Ariel Sharon], actually, I'm kind of a city girl," and he said, "Oh, we can fix that," and he took me around, he introduced me to his sheep. And I called him about something a while later. It was actually, I think, the last time we spoke and I said, "How are your sheep?" He said, "Well, actually, they miss you." +++ "I know what its like to hear that you can't use a certain road or pass through a checkpoint because you are a Palestinian. I know what it is like to feel discriminated against and powerless," Rice told a closed meeting of Arab and Israeli representatives, according to the Dutch representative at the summit, Franz Timmermans. "Like Israelis, I understand what it's like to go to sleep not knowing if you will be hurt in an explosion, the feeling of terror walking around your own neighborhood, or walking to your house of prayer." [Das war wohl die teuerste Selbsthilfegruppe aller Zeiten.]
Es sei an dieser Stelle nochmal auf die enorm ausführliche und qualitativ ansprechende Berichterstattung über Annapolis bei der Washington Post verwiesen. Dazu: Russia and the United States are tentatively planning a second Middle East peace conference, in Moscow in early 2008, with major parties hoping to begin a comprehensive peace effort that would include direct talks between Israel and Syria, according to U.S., Russian, Arab and European officials. Syria's delegate to this week's talks in Annapolis said yesterday that Damascus wants a Moscow gathering in order to begin negotiations between Syria and Israel over the Golan Heights, a border region seized by Israel during the 1967 war. "It is our hope that we can revive the Syrian track in Moscow," Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad said in an interview before departing Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert indicated that he hopes at some point to resume talks with Syria but cautioned that the time is not yet ripe. He said Syria must change its behavior, notably its support for Lebanon's Shiite militia Hezbollah. ["And the US"??? Stephen Hadley wird heute Abend wie folgt zitiert: "No place yet for Syria in peace process"] Hier der Artikel: U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said Thursday it is difficult to see how Syria can fit into the renewed peace process. "Syria is a state that supports terror, including Hezbollah and Hamas," Hadley told students in a speech at Johns Hopkins University's international studies school in Washington. He spoke just after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert headed home following the Middle East peace conference, held in Annapolis Tuesday.
Realpolitik: The author of a highly influential government report on illegal outposts in the West Bank has recently warned the government against approving a new justice ministry proposal that would allow state funding for outposts, Haaretz has learned. In her letter to the Ministerial Committee on Unauthorized Outposts - a panel which was formed to implement her report on the subject - Tali Sasson says the proposal would constitute "a clear and immediate violation of the prime minister's prior commitments to the president of the United States." The ministry's proposal, which will come up for discussion in 10 days, advocates cementing Jewish ownership of land that is owned by Palestinians, Sasson said. She also criticized what she called "allowing state funding for illegal outposts." The proposal was drafted in consultation with various parties, including settler and political leaders.
Irrealpolitik: The United States asked the Security Council to support a United Nations resolution endorsing this week's agreement by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008. [Völkerrechtliche Anerkennung des Fatah-Proto-Staates Ramallah als palästinensische Vertretung durch die Hintertür.]
Die Jerusalem-Frage: One out of three new apartments in central Jerusalem were sold to foreigners this year, while 20 percent of all apartments in the downtown area lay empty most of the year, according to a new study released Thursday. Der angegebene "Jerusalem Center for Ethics" ist richtiger der Mishkenot Sha'ananim Center der Jerusalem Foundation. Eine Publikation habe ich dort nicht gesehen.
In the meantime it has emerged that there are substantive disagreements between Israel and the US administration over the timetable for the Iranian nuclear bomb. Israeli intelligence believes that Iran will pass the point of no return next year or at the beginning of 2009, but the Americans think that Iran is still a long way from achieving a military nuclear capability, and that the point of no return will not be before 2012, at the end of the first term of the next president, or that of his successor. [Aus Ben Caspit, Maariv, "Syrian Track and russion Mediator"] Das wurde hier schon ausgiebig besprochen, möglicherweise ein Scheingefecht.
Fatah will fight alongside Hamas if and when the IDF launches a military operation in the Gaza Strip, a senior Fatah official in Gaza City said Thursday. + Israeli threatened on Thursday to launch a "serious military operation" into the Gaza Strip if the homemade projectiles fired by Palestinian resistance brigades cause Israeli casualties in the towns bordering the coastal region. The Israeli daily newspaper Maariv reported that the chances of a major Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip have increased now the Annapolis conference is over. + Bezüglich der heutigen Toten gibt es keine neuen Erkenntnisse: In Kampfhandlungen verwickelte Hamas-Mitglieder. Während des Tages sollen drei Qassam-Raketenabschüsse zu verzeichnen gewesen sein. Die IAF attackiert erneut Khan Younis. Nach Angaben der Maariv wird während eines Besuchs von Armeechef Ashkenazi eine Militärbasis an der Grenze zu Gaza beschossen. Weitere Zwischenfälle über den ganzen Tag ohne Verletzte.
In der Westbank geht die PA enorm gegen Kriminelle und Hamas + Hizb ut-Tahrir vor. Insgesamt 52 Personen werden westbankweit verhaftet, darunter 39 Hamasniks. Die Anzahl von Hizb ut-Tahrir-Sympathisanten die verhaftet wurde bleibt unklar, da diese Organisation keine offziellen Sprecher beschäftigt. Derweil ... The Palestinian interior minister apologized on Wednesday for assaults by Palestinian security services on journalists covering anti-Annapolis rallies across the West Bank on Tuesday. Abdul-Razzaq Al-Yahya said he blamed himself for the regrettable events. [Maan]
Da lacht er: Israel Police recommended Thursday that the State Prosecution close the criminal case into Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's role in the privatization of Bank Leumi, citing a lack of evidence. Police will now hand their recommendation along with the investigative material to the prosecution, which will determine whether to continue legal proceedings. [Nicht das ihr jetzt denkt das diese "lex Olmert" für kleine Fische gilt! Die werden gehängt!]
At least one person was arrested Thursday evening as police clashed with striking teachers outside the National Labor Court in Jerusalem, temporarily halting the court's hearing on the current crisis in negotiations between teachers and the government. More than 100 teachers were demonstrating outside the court when, according to the teachers, one demonstrator moved a police barricade slightly and was arrested by force. Subsequently, dozens of teachers poured into the street and blocked traffic.
Die libanesisschen Präsidentschaftswahlen wurden erneut vertagt. Siebter Termin: 07.12.07 [nach Nikolaus, mal sehn wer da die Rute bekommt.]
Caellum Moffat, "A tale of two Cities": After four months of anticipation, intrigue and debate concerning Annapolis and its agenda, the summit at the home of the US Naval Academy has now come to a close. Just like all events that have a tendency to incite a glimmer of hope and are thus eagerly awaited, it flew past in the blink of an eye and made the most minimal impact possible to the Palestinian / Israeli situation.
Daniel Levy, "Keep the cynics at Bay": Theories abound as to why an Annapolis conference and why now. Jerry Seinfeld would be excused for thinking that this is all a personal conspiracy against him - his visit to Israel was dominating the headlines until Annapolis came along. In fact some in the Israeli media have been drawing a rather unflattering analogy: the Annapolis conference resembles a Seinfeld episode - it's about nothing. Yada yada yada.
El Hassan bin Talal, "A view from Amman": The middle-east conference to be convened in Annapolis, Maryland on 27 November 2007 must, if it is to be effective, be conceived as a return to a peace-building process whose objective is to realise a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. Most of the issues to be addressed are exceptionally complex: they relate in particular to the overwhelming issue of the Palestinian diaspora, and include matters such as confidence-building, inclusive security, regional conflict-prevention, attitudes to extremists, the gap between final and permanent status, and the need to combine a peace process with a reconciliation process.
Baltimore Sun, "The Syrian Peace Track": Getting representatives from at least a dozen Arab countries to Annapolis today for President Bush's Middle East summit was no small feat considering America's reputation in the region and the unlikely prospect of substantive change in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could advance the peace agenda - and her diplomatic credentials - if she secures Syria's involvement in the process beyond the one-day meeting.