Egypt on Tuesday strongly rejected criticism by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that Cairo is doing an awful job of securing its porous border with the Gaza Strip against smugglers, saying she did not understand the issues and should have remained silent. The diplomatic spat cast a cloud over an upcoming visit to Egypt by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. His talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are expected to tackle a series of security matters, including cross-border weapons smuggling to Gaza militants.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sent Syrian President Bashar Assad a message Tuesday, saying Israel is still awaiting an answer from Damascus on the possibility of reviving peace talks. Olmert met with United States Senator Arlen Specter and gave him the message, which will be delivered to Assad when Specter meets with the Syrian president on Thursday. Specter, a Jewish Republican from Pennsylvania, is considered one of his party's biggest supporters of reviving the dialogue with Syria. The senator told Olmert during their meeting that he intends to meet with senior officials in the Syrian regime, and asked whether the prime minister would be interested in advancing the diplomatic process with Damascus. [Meint Olmert etwa seinen Luftangriff im September mit "Friedensanfrage"? Oder die Verhinderung einer Aussprache während dem Untergang der MS-Annapolis? -While the Annapolis peace conference has yet to fulfill its promise of bringing Israelis and Palestinians together in peaceful harmony, it has apparently succeeded in bringing them together on another issue: both sides are deeply disappointed with the conference's results. A new survey conducted jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah revealed that only 16 percent of Israelis and 11% of Palestinians believe the conference will advance the peace process.-]
A reliable March 14 source has revealed that the parliament will very soon present to Lebanon’s speaker Nabih Berri a draft to amend the constitution in order to elect General Michel Suleiman as president.
Erneut verbreitet das türkische Militär bislang lokal dementierte Daten in einen Bericht in dem es die Aktivitäten jenseits der Grenze zum Iraq als hm... blutrünstige Schlachtorgie verkauft: Hunderte Rebellen habe man vornehmlich durch Luftangriffe getötet. Sehr undurchsichtig: Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq have killed more than 150 rebels and hit more than 200 targets in recent days, the Turkish military said Tuesday, countering Kurdish claims that only a handful of people were killed in the attacks.
Das israelische Central Bureau of Statistics legt die Anzahl von Christen die in Israel leben mit 152 000 [2.1% der Gesamtbevölkerung] fest, wovon 80% israelische Araber wären und an die 17 000 in Jerusalem leben würden. Der link auf der Website ist allerdings ein dead-link, so daß derzeit keine sachliche Überprüfung möglich ist.
Für den Dienstag werden am Abend eine Qassam-Attacke auf die israelischen Wüstenfüchse und ein Luftangriff auf eine Granatwerferstellung des Islamic Jihad gemeldet. Zwei Verletzte Jihadis. Nahe Beit Or Atnachta ballern israelische Vandalen in Uniform auf palästinensische Vandalen die versuchten mit Molotowcoctails Autos zu treffen. Im Vorfeld werden drei Qassam-Rakten abgeschossen. Eine davon trifft den Erez-Grenzübergang. Ein kleinerer Mörsergranatenangriff auf den Grenzzaun. Fast schon friedliche Weihnachten.
The defense budget fails to offer adequate measures to tackle the threat Iran poses to the home front, former deputy defense minister MK Ephraim Sneh said on Tuesday. Sneh told reporters at a press conference that he cannot put up with what he sees as neglecting the safety of the home front, and that he intends to vote against the budget unless large funds are allocated to it. "This is unacceptable," Sneh said. "The root of evil is the advancement of a macroeconomic policy of reducing government expenses at the expense of the security of the State of Israel. The citizens of Israel should know that there is a twisted priority scale. They are much less safe than they could be," he added. ... Sneh said the budget shortage adds up to roughly NIS 1.5 billion, and that the responsibility lies with the politicians, not the IDF. "Last night I voted against the budget in the defense budget sub-committee," Sneh said, "and I am going to do the same on Thursday night unless these flaws are corrected." ... He also said that the defense budget was cut from NIS 49.4 billion in 2007 to NIS 48.3 billion in 2008. [Diese Angabe liegt unter den verbreitetn NIS 51.5 billion anderer Quellen.]
Selten genug verbreitet die Haaretz solcherlei Nachrichten: Masked Jewish settlers beat and injured Palestinian farmers in a field near the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday, Palestinian witnesses and doctors said. The settlers sprayed four Palestinians who were planting wheat with pepper gas and then beat them with sticks, the witnesses said. Two were injured, one moderately, and treated at a local hospital, doctors said. Ich wehre mich gegen die Bezeichnung "Siedler". Bezahlte Schlägerbanden einiger irrer Siedlerbandenchefs. Mit Sicherheit gibts auch normale Siedler.
Shlomo Swirski, "The rich got more": Alongside the banner of economic growth, Israel must also fly the flag of social growth. This is the main conclusion of the annual report on Israeli society published last week by the Adva Center for Information on Equality and Social Justice.
Shahar Ilan, "Prisoner exchange rate: 400 Palestinians for every Israeli": "The question is not just what you tell the families of the kidnapped soldiers, but what you tell the families of the dead," says MK Yisrael Hasson (Yisrael Beiteinu), a former deputy chief of the Shin Bet security service. Hasson was referring to the potential casualties who will die as a result of actions initiated by senior members of terror organizations released in the expected deals to free the hostages.
Da ich noch einen eigenen Text schreiben möchte bitte ich die bemerkenswerten updates bei Miftah.org selbst durchzustöbern.
Kim Howell, "Lebanon - A very precious and fragile treasure": Waiting in the departure lounge for my plane after my recent visit to Beirut, I was looking for a Christmas gift to take home when a security official from the army bid me farewell, adding with a smile: "All we need for Christmas is a President - a Christmas President". While this is now looking over-optimistic, the sentiment summed up in a nutshell the aspirations of all the sides I had talked to during my visit. Or at least their stated aspirations. Everybody I met recognised the importance of filling the political vacuum left by the departure of President Lahoud on 23 November with no replacement and resolving the worst political crisis since the 1975-90 war. Everybody wanted to find a way of unlocking the political process and moving towards a functioning government capable of addressing the issues that really matter to the ordinary Lebanese -security, stability and the economy. Many of those I spoke to shared common views about the political formulas that could move the agenda forward. But hanging over it was a cloud of pessimism about the very formidable obstacles standing in their path.
The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad. American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out. In particular, it should focus on eliminating Islamist terrorists, stabilizing Iraq, containing Iran, and toughening its stance with Pakistan. MICHAEL D. HUCKABEE, former Governor of Arkansas, is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.