Der französische Staatspräsident schockierte heute die Weltöffentlichkeit mit einem ungeheuerlichen Eingeständnis! Während des Versuchs letzte Woche innerhalb einer geheimen Kommandosache den Syrern französische Atomkraftwerke zu verhökern kam er in Damaskus von der Straße ab und muß nun Reparationsleistungen im vierstelligen Bereich an den syrischen Staat bezahlen: "I reached the end of the road in Syria. Words alone didn't suffice, I wanted action!!" Mein Kontaktmann in Damaskus spielte mir dieses Beweisfoto zu. Weitere Auswirkungen auf die eh schon verminderte Geisteskraft von Sarkozy finden sich hier: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority would agree to the deployment of an international force in the occupied Palestinian territories. "International forces are absolutely acceptable for us," Abbas said. He was responding to a suggestion by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, made Monday at the Paris donors' meeting, that international forces be brought in to bolster the Palestinian security forces that control parts of the West Bank. Wir wünschen dem Präsidenten baldige Genesung von seinem Schleudertrauma!
Interview mit Bashar al-Assad in "Die Presse"
Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch criticized Israel on Wednesday for insisting Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state, and said God made the Holy Land for Muslims and Christians too. Michel Sabbah, Jerusalem's Roman Catholic leader, said in his annual Christmas message that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had unleashed "forces of evil" across the Middle East and it was up to Israel to relaunch the peace process.
Dieses Mal schieben sie es wenigstens nicht auf kleine Angestellte: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office distanced itself Wednesday from a Housing Ministry decision to begin planning a new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. "Nothing has been decided and nothing has been authorized," said Mark Regev, Olmert's spokesman. Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim has given the green light for the plan, despite the fact that senior American officials say Israel had promised not to move forward with the project. The neighborhood, near Atarot, is slated to contain more than 10,000 apartments, making it the largest Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. .. Boim met last week with the head of the Israel Lands Administration, Ya'akov Efrati, and asked him for a permit to start the planning process. The neighborhood, which includes the abandoned Atarot Airport, is near the Qalandiyah checkpoint and the separation fence. It was annexed to Jerusalem after the 1967 Six-Day War. The ILA told Haaretz that Efrati plans to accede to Boim's request, but is awaiting a formal application from the Housing Ministry before issuing the permit. The ministry said it intends "to examine the feasibility of the planning for the site," but that no final decision has been made on how many houses will be built. More information. Der alte Haaretz-Artikel: Gov't promoting plan for new ultra-Orthodox East Jerusalem neighborhood, By Meron Rapoport.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's announcement that his group is willing to hold cease-fire negotiations with Israel is a "pathetic and misleading attempt to divert international attention away from the crimes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad," President Shimon Peres announced Wednesday. "If Hamas and Islamic Jihad stop firing rockets at our women and children, Israel will immediately hold its fire, so there is no need for negotiations," Peres said in a press release. Israel should not rule out indirect negotiations with Hamas in an effort to halt Qassam rocket fire at southern Israel, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz told Army Radio on Wednesday. "Mediation is something we can think about but one thing needs to be clear," Mofaz told Army Radio. "This subject is the responsibility of Hamas and the terror groups and as long as these firings and terror from inside the strip won't stop we must continue this policy and not stop for even one hour." Minister-without-Portfolio Ami Ayalon said Wednesday that negotiating with Hamas over a ceasefire must not be ruled out. "It is not outrageous to say that we can speak to anyone for the benefit of stopping Kassam attacks, but on condition that these talks do not lead to the strengthening of terror groups," Ayalon told Israel Radio. + ANALYSIS: Israel strikes hard in Gaza in attempt to avoid an invasion
Über die letzten 20 Stunden nur Geplänkel: MG-Feuer-Überfall an der Grenze. Am Zikkim-checkpoint verfehlt eine Granate ein Frauenbattalion nur knapp: Sechs Schockopfer. Vier Verhaftungen in der Westbank durch die IDF. Und der hier: A firefighting vehicle from the Karmiel station that was called up Tuesday night to put out a car that was supposedly ablaze in the Arab town of Rama in the Galilee was stoned by villagers, who succeeded in shattering its front windshield. There were no wounded in the incident, but according to reports, in the past month there were two instances in which police cars were called up and then stoned by villagers in Rama.
Ziad Azali, "Palestinian Security Critical For Building Momentum For Peace": In the wake of the resuscitation of peace talks on the Middle East achieved at the Annapolis meeting, security issues will be among the most crucial to building on this momentum. The development and expansion of Palestinian government security forces is a vital national interest for Palestinians, Israelis and Americans alike. Palestinians face a double threat when it comes to their own security. First, they face the security threats inherent in an occupation by a foreign army and the abuses and confrontations that result in deaths of both combatants and innocents. Second, Palestinian society lacks a well organized and disciplined security service and its towns are plagued with political militias and criminal gangs, as well as ad hoc violence. The problem of militias was most clearly seen in June, when Hamas-controlled gunmen seized control of Gaza and expelled the Palestinian Authority from the entire territory.
Falafel recipe painted on West Bank fence as part of protest: "For the rest of the recipe, turn over the wall," reads a falafel recipe spray-painted on Israel's imposing West Bank separation fence Tuesday, in a lighthearted but serious protest against the hardships it causes Palestinians. A Dutch group called Sendamessage collects money over the Internet for the project - painting messages on the barrier Israel is building along the West Bank. The barrier, made up of concrete walls, barbed wire, trenches and electronic sensors, is meant to keep Palestinian suicide bombers and other attackers out of Israel, but Palestinians charge it juts into their land and cuts many people off from their fields and services.
Danny Rubinstein, "Looking for a home in Pisgat Ze'ev": The separation fence surrounding eastern Jerusalem winds north of the city among the crowded houses of the Dahit al-Barid neighborhood. The wall is not finished and, in a few places, there are openings enabling passage (which confirms the graffiti drawn nearby by an Israeli tagger, "Yoram Arbel was right," i.e., this is not how you build a wall). One of the passages is via large drainage pipes, a meter or more in diameter, built under the road and the wall. If there is not a strong flow of rainwater or sewage, one can cross through them easily, and that is what many do every day: young and old, students, merchants and whole families.
Nehemia Shtrasler, "So what we have done to them?": An old Jewish joke tells of a devoted mother who briefs her son before he sets out to battle: "Kill a Turk and rest," she advises. But the son asks: "And what happens if in fact the Turk tries to kill me?" She opens her eyes wide in surprise: "Why would he want to kill you? What have you done to him?" This is exactly the kind of self-righteousness that accompanies our attitude toward the Palestinians. It is evident in the reports on the television, radio and in the newspapers - which paint only a partial picture of the conflict. Because when considerations of ratings and just plain cowardice determine coverage, the information the public gets is biased. In this way an extremist public opinion is created, which believes that all of the justice is on our side only, because "what have we done to them?"
Jonathan Power, "Israel and Iran's bomb": Across most of the political spectrum Israel is in a state of shock. The recently released US National Intelligence Estimate which concludes that Iran probably stopped work on its nuclear bomb back in 2003 has pulled the rug from under Israel’s proclivity to shoot first and ask questions after. The Israeli media and government have done a good hatchet job on the inconsistencies buried within the fine text of the estimate but they have nonetheless got the message that the Bush administration seems intent on delivering. There will be no American pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear industry this side of the general election and no secret green light will be flashed to Israel to do the job instead.