Über die politische Bedeutung des heutigen Anschlages auf den Brigade-General Francois al-Hajj in Beirut gibt es an dieser Stelle zwei Dinge zu sagen. Entgegen vielerlei Spekulationen das der Anschlag gegen die März-14-Bewegung gerichtet war sollte klar gesagt werden das al-Hajj politisch eher als unabhängiger Militär auftrat. Den derzeit wahrscheinlichsten Grund diagnostiziert seine Mutter haarscharf: "He was a very loving person. Why did they kill him?" she asked. "Because he was a hero. Because he fought against the terrorists." [Kafa al-Aalam]. Zweitens wird der Anschlag nun von jeder politischen Seite benutzt um Stimmung gegen den jeweiligen politischen Gegner zu machen: Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Sinioria says he believes the killing of an army commander was carried out to disrupt attempts to fill the country's vacant presidency. Lebanese Communications Minister Marwan Hamade blames Syria for the attack. "We believe that all the institutions of Lebanon civilian and military have been targeted by the Syrian-Iranian axis," he said. Die poltischen Ereignisse selbst haben nichts mit dem Anschlag zu tun: Hopes for a compromise between Lebanon's rival political camps diminished rapidly on Tuesday after reports that both sides were considering retreats to maximalist positions. According to Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. (LBC) television, members of the ruling March 14 coalition met late Tuesday to consider replacing assassinated Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, who came from their ranks. But LBC also said that the participants discussed the possibility of accepting the resignations of the six opposition Cabinet members - including all five Shiites - who resigned in November 2006 and filling their seats. A source from one of March 14's harder-line parties told The Daily Star that the second option was in fact under consideration. [Man beachte auch explizit die Töne des potentiellen Machthabers: Suleiman said Tuesday that the army is committed to its duty to safeguard the security and stability of the people and to protect public freedoms. He made his remarks after inspecting troops deployed in the South. "Lebanon's resurrection started with the deployment of the army in the South which achieved sovereignty over our national soil, protected the liberation from the Israeli enemy and safeguarded the sacrifices of thousands of martyrs who fell while defending their homeland," Suleiman told troops at the regional command post in Ain Ibl.] Noch ein übersichtlciher Artikel über den heutigen Anschlag, Nadim Ladki, "Bomb kills Lebanese general tipped for army chief". Natürlich ist diese Geschcihte wenig erfreulich bei der Bewertung der Sicherheitslage im Libanon. Ein Land das nicht mal seine top-Militärs schützen kann hat auch bewiesen das die franco-amerikanische Theorie "Aufrüstung des Libanon sichert" keineswegs von Erfolg gekrönt ist.
Newsweek: Rana Fil, "Lebanon’s Exodus ++ As Beirut's latest political crisis drags on, more and more Christians are leaving the country.": Lebanon's political stalemate was supposed to be resolved weeks ago. Instead it drags on, with Tuesday's parliamentary session to elect a new head of state now postponed for the eighth time since September. And as the impasse continues, Lebanese Christians are becoming increasingly frustrated with what they see as an unprecedented threat to their political influence. "It is the first time in the history of Lebanon that Christians feel so demoralized," said Elie Haddad, Greek Catholic Archbishop of Saida and Deir el-Kamar. "I have never seen such despondency, even during the civil war." The trigger for Lebanon's latest crisis is the ongoing dispute over finding a successor to pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, whose term expired Nov. 23. Parliamentary leaders have tentatively agreed on compromise candidate Gen. Michel Suleiman—but are still squabbling over how to amend the constitution for the army chief to assume his new position. For the country's Christians, however, the dispute over Suleiman has an even deeper significance. Many see it as underscoring the subsidiary role played by Christian leaders in Parliament's two main factions: the ruling, pro-Western March 14 coalition led by Sunni Muslim Saad Hariri and the Hizbullah-dominated opposition led by Shiite leader Hassan Nasrallah. "Christian leaders are divided among themselves at a time when the Shiites are united and the Sunnis are united," says Rajeh Khoury, a columnist at the daily An-Nahar newspaper. "The more divided they are the weaker their role is in Lebanese politics."
A senior Israeli official has fiercely criticized U.S. President George Bush's administration for the way it has dealt with the Iranian nuclear issue. The official said that the administration was not doing what was required of it to create an international coalition and wide agreement to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.
There are hundreds, even thousands, of planned housing units in the West Bank that have building permits and do not need any further government approval before their construction can begin, Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, the head of the Civil Administration, told the interministerial committee on illegal outposts Tuesday. Their construction "could cause similar embarrassment to that created by the publication of the tender for building in Har Homa," he added. .. Attorney Talia Sasson, who compiled the report into illegal outposts, noted that a Justice Ministry proposal for a new planning and construction procedure, could lead to future cases in which it would be possible to build in the West Bank without government approval. Vice Premier Haim Ramon, the committee's chair, asked the Civil Administration representative exactly how many housing units past governments had already approved and could theoretically begin construction. Mordechai told Ramon that there were "hundreds, or thousands, of such housing units." Ramon asked for the exact figures to be brought to the committee's next meeting. "Har Homa is within the consensus [as to where Israel can build in the territories], and look how much noise that ended up making. Imagine what would happen if the same thing happened elsewhere, places in which there is no agreement," Ramon said. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni agreed. "Another advert in the papers for a construction tender could ruin the negotiations with the Palestinians," she said.
The European Commission-sponsored program known as ADR-MEDA presented last week an intensive workshop and forum on the Israel Bar in Tel Aviv. The workshop was attended by leading experts in mediation to discuss alternative dispute resolution (ADR) issues in the legal and business community in Israel and the EU. The workshop and forum were both presented by Manon Schonewille of the Netherlands, the executive director of ACB Group. Besides the workshop and forum, Schonewille used her visit in Israel to promote mutual efforts to advance awareness, acceptance and the use of international arbitration and mediation in the MEDA countries (Israel, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and West Bank & Gaza), with special attention to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The intention of the European Commission's initiative is to assist SMEs to resolve international commercial disputes arising from business transactions between Middle Eastern countries and EU-based companies, in order to enhance business transactions between companies based in two or more Middle East countries.
Photo-Shooting, part II: US President George W. Bush is set to take a more active role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, his top diplomat said in an interview transcript released Wednesday. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told USA Today Bush would be visiting the region because "he very much wants to signal support for the bilateral process between the parties and to continue in a hands-on way to encourage them to move forward." [Das arme Bethlehem]
The defense establishment is working diligently to end the fire of Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip, but accomplishment of the task is still a long way off, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday. "The task of ending Qassam fire has still not been reached and the road is still long," Barak told delegates at a National Security Institute conference in Tel Aviv.
Yohara Baker, "Israeli Terrorism deserves punishment, too": The horrific bombings in Algiers yesterday in which as many as 60 people were killed drives home a terrible point for all of us. Such acts of terrorism where innocent people – in this case United Nations employees, Algerian government workers and students – are killed in a senseless act of violence – must unexceptionally be condemned, their perpetrators immediately brought to justice. The Algeria bombings are unfortunately just one example of the many other terrible acts of terrorism taking place in our world today. While the United States has successfully associated the word terrorism with the attacks of September 11, 2001 – which they were – terrorism has many faces and many facades behind which it hides. In the international community, Israel has been conveniently excluded from the list of abhorred perpetrators of terrorist acts. On the contrary, it is one of the parties that rants and rages about the need to extricate terrorism from our midst, proposing harsh sanctions against those who supposedly embrace it. + Al-Haq, "UN Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights Special Rapporteur Finds Israeli Laws and Practices Incompatible with Human Rights": United Nations Special Rapporteur for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Mr. Martin Scheinin, will present his mission report following his July 2007 visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, 12 December 2007. In the report, the Special Rapporteur finds serious incompatibilities between Israel’s counter-terrorism laws and practices and Israel’s international human rights obligations. Among his conclusions and recommendations are the following...
Tamar Hermann, "Just another forgotten peace summit": Many assume that if the Israeli decision-makers were to openly change their position on the conflict and its resolution, the public would throng after them en masse and support an agreement. The present survey, like earlier surveys we conducted, shows that this assumption is very flimsy and that people are not hurrying to get on the Olmert government's peace train. + NYT-Editorial: Israelis and Palestinians are supposed to begin serious negotiations tomorrow after last month’s long-on-optics, short-on-specifics Annapolis peace meeting. Despite all the smiles and handshakes, both sides went home and fell back into some familiar, counterproductive patterns.
Steve Erlanger, "In Bethlehem, Blair speaks of peace and reconcilliation of cultures": Tony Blair had that practiced politician's half-grin, his eyes in semi-focus, as the Palestinian minister of tourism, Khouloud Daibes, showed him around a display of Palestinian products at the Chamber of Commerce. The former British prime minister and now the Western envoy for Palestinian development, Blair posed for photos with businessmen on the Tuesday night tour and praised the quality of the local marble tiles. When presented with a Bethlehem specialty, a Nativity scene carved inside the root of an olive tree, Blair oohed his admiration. He barely blinked when Daibes told him that the gift was special, because it was fashioned from a 200-year-old tree "uprooted by the Israelis." [Sch...foto von Khouloud!]