Nachdem sich United Nations Relief and Works Agency Commissioner-General Karen Koning AbuZayd erlaubt hatte kritische Töne über die Lage im Gazastreifen zu äußern wird sie seitens der Israelis mit einer albern anmutenden Geschichte konfrontiert, wobei ihr Chef eine enorm kriecherische einstellung an den Tag legt. Ein weiterer Hahnenkampf wird wohl ohne Sieger bleiben und vertagt werden: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Thursday evening for a personal tete-a-tete intended to smooth over tensions that have erupted regarding the working procedure for Olmert's weekly meetings with defense officials. [Related: The perceived undermining of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's peace drive by Defense Minister and Labor leader Ehud Barak is drawing increasing fire from within his own party ranks.]
Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun surprised everyone today when he announced that that he does not regard himself the sole candidate for the presidential office. Hingegen verstößt Sarkozy gegen US-amerikanische Gesetze, da er sich massiv in die inenren angelegenheiten des Libanon einmischt: "What Lebanon needs is a president elected by the Lebanese people," the French president said in his speech. "France will not accept anyone trying to subjugate the Lebanese people. No one is entitled to prevent the Lebanese to live in a free country." Er wird daruafhin noch im Kongress verhaftet und sein Vermögen eingefroren. [Was natürlich nicht stimmt, aber nach dem vor dem Gesetz sind angeblich doch alle gleich.]
Nachdem ihn die Chinesen beim fraud erwischten [und es sonderbarerweise niemanden Recht bekümmerte das im Gegenzug 80% von Gaza unter der Armutsgrenze darbt während der Herr Sonderbeauftragte in Hotels völlert], er seine Zukunft mit einem 5Millionen Pfund-Buch-deal unter Dach und Fach gebracht hat feiert der Zuständige für Freiden und Zukunft im Quartett ausgiebig sein neues Leben mit ... Islamist extremism is similar to “rising fascism in the 1920s and 1930s”, Tony Blair said last night in his first major speech since leaving office. At a prestigious charity dinner in New York, the former Prime Minister said that public figures who blamed the rise of fundamentalism on the policies of the West were "mistaken". ... warmongering and talk like a Bushian. Nun, jetzt könnte man natürlich fragen was unsere leiben rechten Rabbis dazu sagen, denn der Herr schickte kein Erdbeben das die Bande die ja recht übersichtlich in NY und Washington versammelt war zu vernichten. Die schlauen rechten Rabbis würden möglicherweise vielleicht antworten, das sie sichs nochmal überlegt hätten: Nicht die Brände von Kalifornien sind die Krankheit die der Herr wegen der falschen Politik der Sarkos und Bushs verhängt habe, sondern sie sind die Krankheit und die Brände sind die Reinigung. Aber das ist schwer zu sagen.
DRei editorials der al-Hayat: Ghassan Charbel, "Rice in the Mine Garden". Hassan Haydar, "Everybody wants war". Jihad el-Khazen, "Bush and the rats"]
Danald McIntyre, "Patriarchs, Property, and Politics in Jerusalem": His Beatitude, Theophilus III, "Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion" – to give him his full and ancient title – is nothing if not hospitable. He interrupts an interview in the tranquil stone-built Greek Orthodox patriarchate in the heart of the Old City's Christian quarter to offer his visitors a tot of excellent 40-year-old Moldovan cognac. He is justly proud of the Church's venerable history here, dating back to Byzantine times. In the wall of his wood-panelled first-floor office there is a copy of the historic document given to his 7th-century predecessor Sophronius by Omar Ibn al Khattab, the Second Caliph of Islam, after his bloodless conquest of Jerusalem in 637 and promising the protection of the holy places. With the Greek Orthodox Church well known, among many other things, for being one of the biggest landowners in the Holy Land, the patriarchate is, in the present incumbent's own words, "one of the largest and most powerful institutions in the land ... a state within a state".
Dominique Vidal, "Annapolis, behind the scenes". Jordan Times, "Misguided priorities". Aluf Benn, "And after Annapolis, Gaza?"
Ghassan Katib, "Repeating the same mistakes": The Syrian connection to the current American initiative on the Middle East to convene a political meeting at Annapolis in the autumn is a good illustration of its deteriorating value. At the very beginning of the initiative, Syria had three motives for engagement. First, Syria is a member of the Arab Summit Committee tasked with promoting the Arab peace initiative. At that early stage of the American initiative, the Arabs, including the Syrians but also the Saudis and others, were under the impression that the US initiative would base itself on the Arab initiative. Second, Syria has territory under Israeli occupation and thus Syrian participation in any political meeting aimed at solving the Arab-Israel conflict is required. Finally, Syria has its own agenda vis-a-vis the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, evidenced by its relations with Hamas, and therefore another motive to engage with the American process.
Kifah Zaoun, "Fatah and Hamas: The division continues": When Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip last June; it emerged as a strong victorious army while Fatah was weak and defeated. Palestinians were awestruck by the force and speed of Hamas’s military takeover and believed that the already fragmented Fatah had been dealt a severe blow from which it would not recover. Meanwhile, others believed that the Gaza takeover represented the deadly blow for the victorious Hamas, which had fallen into the Gaza trap.
Mohammed Khatib, "Israels settlement blocs carve up the West Bank": For the people of our small village of Bil’in, which lies west of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, the planned negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders in Annapolis, Maryland evoke mixed feelings. Like all Palestinians, we pray that our children will not spend their lives as we did, under Israeli military occupation. But our experience has been that Israel, the stronger party, exploits peace talks as a smokescreen to obscure facts that it is establishing on the ground. During the Oslo "peace" process Israel built settlements in the occupied territories at an unprecedented rate. Israel’s system of settler-only roads, which is now strangling our cities and villages, was created during the Oslo process. This makes us wary of the Annapolis negotiations.
Akiva Eldar, "$2.5billion seeks government minister": After Shimon Peres was appointed president, his Peace Conduit project - channeling water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea for the mutual benefit of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians - was for all intents and purposes orphaned. So it will remain until Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decides which minister will assume responsibility for it - Minister without Portfolio Haim Ramon, Minister without Portfolio Ami Ayalon or Minister of National Infrastructures Benjamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer. The head of the project administration, Colonel (res.) Erez Ron, is about to join three colleagues who have already resigned.