Sonntag, 16. Dezember 2007

Qassam hurts baby

Palestinian militants fired a Qassam rocket that exploded next to a home in Kibbutz Zikim in the western Negev on Sunday, lightly wounding a two-year-old boy. His mother and six bystanders were treated for shock. Both the child, Rom Katzir, and his mother Sivan, who is six months pregnant were evacuated to the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. The rocket struck approximately two meters from the home and caused minor damage to the house. Zudem wird auf den Kibbutz Mordechai eine Qassam abgeschossen, am Erez crossing erfolg ein Granatangriff. In der Westbank werden durch die Israelis weitere fünf Palästinenser im Raum bethlehem verhaftet. Die Fatah setzt sechs Hamas-Mitglieder fest.

Anläßlich der Morgen statt findenden donor-conference in Paris zeichnen sich verschiedene Streitfelder ab. Israel's plan to build houses in East Jerusalem will cloud renewed peace talks, the Palestinian Authority said on Sunday, the day before an international aid conference in Paris meant to garner billions to help bolster the Palestinian economy. "The Paris meeting tomorrow is an important step forward. We hope the Israelis will not put any obstacles in front of the understandings of Annapolis," Palestinian spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah told reporters on Sunday after Abbas and Livni met. "We need a clear cut Israeli decision concerning this [Har Homa] issue, which is very sensitive and important to the Palestinians. This issue is going to reflect itself, whether positively or negatively, in the coming negotiations," Abu Rdainah continued. Earlier Sunday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met in Paris with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Regarding the construction, Livni insisted that "Israeli construction in Har Homa is not a new activity," and that "it is important not to deal with mutual complaints between the Israelis and the Palestinians," but to progress toward a common goal. Bezüglich der Forderungen nach mehr Bewegungsfreiheit in der Westbank ohne die ein wirtschaftlicher Aufschwung nicht möglich ist: "We really support the strengthening of the Palestinian Authority and the international mobilization to bring about an improvement in the quality of life of Palestinian residents, and in particular, in the improvement of their independent economic infrastructure, so it will not be dependent on Israel," PM Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet on Sunday. "But for Israel, the central issue... is the Palestinian Authority's ability to deal as it should with the subject of security, to eradicate the terror organizations, and ensure there will not be terror against Israel," Olmert said. Daneben streuen die Russen: Russia does not intend to set a date for the follow-up conference unless it is assured that the understandings established at Annapolis are implemented, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. At the conclusion of the Annapolis Conference, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner affirmed that Russia had proposed to hold the meeting, which would address the Israel-Syria peace process, in early 2008 in Moscow. The first Israeli-Palestinian talks following Annapolis on Wednesday, "ended badly", said Mr. Lavrov. Zudem ist noch fraglich ob die gewünschte Summe in Höhe von 5.6 Milliarden US$ zustande kommt. Ebenso kritisch: The State of Israel will not grant permanent or temporary residency to West Bank Palestinians whose homes were annexed to the Jerusalem municipal area by the separation fence, the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds reported on Sunday. The measure, which was reportedly approved by the cabinet in October, stipulates that the Palestinians in question could at most apply for residency permits from the military authorities - which confer no right to work in Israel, to obtain Israeli health insurance or to enjoy any of the other benefits of legal residency. Hingegen löblich: Israel agreed to let about 900 Gaza pilgrims travel through Israeli territory en route to a Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Palestinian and Israeli officials said. Israeli officials said the passage through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing was under way at midday, but couldn't specify how many Gazans had actually crossed. Daily Star, "World powers meet in Paris to bankroll Palestinian State": Major powers and key donors meet in Paris on Monday for a conference aimed at raising billions of dollars to help the emergence of a viable Palestinian state and give political impetus to the newly relaunched peace process with Israel. Ninety international delegations are expected at the one-day Conference of Donors for a Palestinian State, the biggest of its kind since 1996, which aims to shore up the already shaky negotiations jumpstarted in the US city of Annapolis last month.

Mustafa Barghouti, "Prerequisites for peace": As one who for decades has supported a two-state solution and the nonviolent struggle for Palestinian rights, I view the recent conference in Annapolis with a great deal of skepticism - and a glimmer of hope. Seven years with no negotiations - and increasing numbers of Israeli settlers, an economic blockade in Gaza and an intricate network of roadblocks and checkpoints stifling movement in the West Bank - have led us to despair and distrust. Any commitment must be made not only to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008 but also to end Israel's occupation.

Welch presses Lebanese to elect president now: US Envoy David Welch told Lebanese leaders to elect a president "now," echoing French President Nicholas Sarkozy's recent warning to Lebanese politicians that Monday is "the last chance" to hold the election. But despite international pressure to fill the vacancy in the top post, Monday's electoral session, the ninth one scheduled to date, appears set to be postponed.

In Jordanien geht der Wechsel in die Ära Nader al-Dahabi als PM und Defense Minister in PersonalUnion reibunglos von statten. Heute wird er vom Perlament bestätigt. Wie sich der militärische Hintergrund des Mannes auswirkt wird darf abgewartet werden.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday militant Palestinians, not Israel, are to blame for deteriorating conditions in the sealed-off Gaza Strip, as the United States announced it intends to donate about $550 million to the impoverished Palestinians this year. The US pledge would include $150 million in direct aid to the Palestinian government in the West Bank that, despite a history of corruption, is the US hope for new peace talks with Israel that US President George W. Bush launched last month in Annapolis, Maryland. PS: Reuters: rench FM Kouchner says France could be host to more Israel-PA talks.

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