Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad says a Palestinian-American-Israeli commission on implementing the first stage of the road map peace plan will soon begin work, but Israeli officials deny the report. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hopes to reach an agreement on all the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within a year, the premier said in conversations with both Israeli officials and foreign diplomats over the last few days.
Police released photos Thursday showing several masked men from the Druze town of Peki'in destroying Jewish-owned property during the violent clashes that occurred there Tuesday.
Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group, is expanding its military power by recruiting Sunnis, Christians and Druze in preparation for another conflict with Israel, according to sources close to Hezbollah. In addition to its yearlong political campaign to bring down Lebanon's pro-Western government, Hezbollah has ignored U.N. and Lebanese government calls for disarmament and remains focused on bolstering its military strength by recruiting non-Shiites. The Islamic organization wants to allay fears that it is strictly a sectarian militia, these same sources say. + Hopes rose for an end to the power struggle in Lebanon on Thursday after two days of talks in Paris between parliamentary majority leader MP Saad Hariri and the head of the opposition Reform and Change bloc, MP Michel Aoun.
Abu Toameh [Das Nahost-Waschweib]: Scores of Fatah policemen who used to serve in the Palestinian Authority security forces in the Gaza Strip have now joined the al-Qaida-affiliated group calling itself the Army of Islam, sources in the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.
Attack on Syria, Part XXXVI: Al-Jazeera berichtet das zwei amerikanische Kampfflugzeuge an der Aktion teilgenommen haben. [anonyme israelische Quelle ua]
"Regaining the lead", Dina Ezzat gauges reaction to an Egyptian presidential commitment to develop peaceful nuclear energy.
Khaled Amayreh: The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) has been making frantic efforts to block the "national conference" that the Hamas-led opposition plans to convene in Damascus to highlight their rejection of the upcoming US- sponsored conference in Annapolis, Maryland, scheduled for November or early December. The conference in the Syrian capital was due to take place on 7 November but has been postponed, reportedly in order to coincide with the Annapolis conference. Und ebenda: "As the world forgets Gaza". Hyper-inflation and 80 per cent unemployment are the real target outcomes of Israel's siege on Gaza, writes Saleh Al-Naami.
Joharah Baker, "The innocent Civillians not on Israels Agenda": It is ironic how everyone across the spectrum – politicians, civil society and the average man on the street – all stress on the protection of innocent civilians during times of conflict, and yet it is these very civilians who pay the heaviest price. This is not exclusive to Palestine. Look at Iraq or Afghanistan. The United States, the great defender of democracy and civil rights, prides itself on waging war right. The “innocent civilians” caught in the midst of its sublime endeavor to grant freedom and independence to the Iraqi people are brushed off as unfortunate collateral damage. They were never the target of America’s wrath, the US claims, but they are certainly the ones who have suffered from it the most.
David Neff, "Condi Rice: From Bethlehem to Annapolis": Last Friday, I joined five other evangelical Protestant leaders for an intense and rewarding half-hour conversation with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Our goal was to assure her of our support as she navigates the treacherous waters of Middle East politics—particularly as she arm-wrestles the various parties toward the summit planned for the beginning of December in Annapolis. The Bush Administration is hoping that foundations can be laid for an enduring, peaceful two-state solution in Israel-Palestine conflict.
Glen Kessler, "Aid request emphasizes support of palestinian authority leadership": President Bush has proposed a sixfold increase in aid to the Palestinians, including $150 million in direct cash transfers to the Palestinian Authority, in an effort to bolster the government in advance of a Middle East peace conference planned for later this month in Annapolis. The $435 million in additional aid, on top of $77 million requested earlier this year, has attracted little notice in the president's $45.9 billion supplemental request last week to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, if approved, it would constitute the administration's largest amount of direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. Previously, the administration had limited cash transfers to $50 million at a time. The Bush administration largely cut off aid to the Palestinian government when the militant group Hamas unexpectedly won legislative elections in 2006. But earlier this year, a unity government deal between Hamas and its Fatah rivals collapsed. Hamas forcibly took over the Gaza Strip, leaving the Fatah-led government in charge of only the West Bank.
Dion Nissenbaum bespricht Ghazi Hamads Fall. [Ich muß nicht dieser Meinung sein.]