Bei Nablus wird ein Palästinenser an einem Checkpoint mit einer Mörsergranate erwischt. Zwei Qassam-Raketen landen in der israelischen Wüste.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri postponed, until December 29, a session of Parliament to elect Lebanon's next president, his press office announced on Friday evening. The speaker "has decided to postpone until December 29 the session that was scheduled for Saturday," a statement said. For the 10th time in three months, lawmakers had been due to meet in order to elect a new president but hopes for a breakthrough were dashed after Lebanon's rival political camps failed to reach an agreement over pending matters. +++ The militant Hezbollah group lashed out on Friday at U.S. President George W. Bush for urging Lebanon's anti-Syrian lawmakers to push through their own choice for president if need be to resolve the country's long political deadlock. ... Bush's comments a day earlier were the first time the U.S. leader urged such a step. The anti-Syrian bloc in Lebanon has avoided trying to use its slim majority in parliament to elect a president. Doing so would inflame the confrontation with the opposition, led by Syria's ally Hezbollah. Hezbollah's deputy leader, Sheik Naim Kassem, said in a statement Friday that the American leader's orders will not be implemented in Lebanon. +++ French President Nicolas Sarkozy will make a pitch for his proposed Mediterranean Union when he pays an official visit to Egypt on December 30 and 31, his spokesman said Friday. Sarkozy will hold talks with President Hosni Mubarak, "whose experience has made him one of the most enlightened observers in the region and on its developments," said spokesman David Martinon. +++ US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday she was ready to meet her Iranian counterpart if Teheran abandoned its nuclear ambitions and complied with UN Security Council resolutions. "On Iran, I continue to say that if Iran will just do the one thing that is required of it by the Security Council resolutions that have been passed - and that is suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities - then I'm prepared to meet my counterpart any place and any time and anywhere and we can talk about anything," she said at a State Department news conference. Iran has thus far refused to comply with the international demands and Rice said that "as long as the Iranians are talking and practicing enrichment, we're not getting anywhere."
US Consul General Jacob Walles was in Bethlehem on Thursday, Christmas shopping. He told Ma'an that Bethlehem is a safe place [nur nicht für Palästinenser] and he feels comfortable shopping in the city's streets. He said his visit represented an open invitation for tourists from all over the world to come and visit Bethlehem.
Eric Alterman, "Bad for the jews": Today's topic is the paradox - or one of them, anyway - of American Jewish political behavior. No, it's not that hoary old cliché that they "earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans." Rather, it's that they think like enlightened liberals yet allow belligerent right-wingers and neocons who frequently demonize, distort and denounce their values to speak for them in the U.S. political arena.