Attila Somfalvi: "Decision nearing: Defense minister meets with leaders of reservists' protest movement, promises to announce next moves after reviewing Winograd report; reservists urge Barak to quit, say they view him as 'part of solution'. Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with the leaders of the reservists' protest movement Thursday evening and promised to announce his views on the Winograd report in the near future. "You are the salt of the earth," Barak told the two leaders, Yakir Segev and Tomer Buhadana. "I will announce my position after I finish reading the Winograd report." In recent weeks Barak repeatedly said that he will decide on his next moves only after reading the report, and that he will do "what's best for the country." + Netanyahu goes on the offensive: Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu issued a scathing attack on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Thursday evening and called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to deliver on an earlier promise and quit the government. "The prime minister is dodging responsibility. Responsibility means doing what the army chief and defense minister did," Netanyahu said at a press conference convened at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv in the wake of the Winograd report's publication. + Shortly after the opposition leader called for Olmert's ousting, he was challenged by Public Security Minister Avi Dichter during an interview on Channel 2. Dichter said that Olmert needs to continue serving as prime minister, and he predicted that the present government will stay in office until the next elections in 2009. The public security minister also tried to explain away the criticism that the government has not acted fast enough to implement the recommendations of the Winograd Committee. "Not all of the problems which were discussed in the report were fixed, and it's not reasonable that they would all be fixed after only a year and a half," Dichter said.
Amnesty International called a report published yesterday by the Winograd Commission on Israel's conduct in the war with Hizbullah in July-August 2006 "deeply flawed." The organization said that the report failed to investigate a crucial aspect of the war -- the government policies and military strategies that failed to discriminate between the Lebanese civilian population and Hizbullah combatants and between civilian property and infrastructure and military targets. "This was yet another missed opportunity to address the policies and decisions behind the grave violations of international humanitarian law -- including war crimes -- committed by Israeli forces," said Malcolm Smart, Middle East and North Africa Program director. "The indiscriminate killings of many Lebanese civilians not involved in the hostilities and the deliberate and wanton destruction of civilian properties and infrastructure on a massive scale were given no more than token consideration by the commission," said Smart.
Top-Analyst Daniel Levy: "Five -initial- comments on the Winograd Report and its aftermath": 1) Rumors of Ehud Olmert’s political demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Report was nowhere near as politically devastating as had been anticipated. The PM is breathing a sigh of relief, and the wind has gone out of the sails of the protest campaign of his political opponents. [...] Ich erläuterte bereits das erst das Wochenende, nach Barak eventuell später hier Klarheit bringt. Erst wenn wir wissen wie sich Barak entscheidet können wir die dimension der kommenden Auseinandersetzung abschätzen. Die von Daniel Levy erwähnten Artikel in der Haaretz: 1. Tom Segev: The public relying on today's flood of analysis should also remember that none of these commentators have closely read the whole report. The most important thing one can write this morning is that the report is on the Internet and can be read in full. [Naja, die Realität des Krieges und die Realität seiner Ereignisse ließen bereits letztes Jahr zu das man eine persönliche Entscheidung fällt. In dem Bericht wird sicher nichts Neues stehen und den "GEHEIMEN" Bereich werden wir nicht zu lesen bekommen. Deswegen ist auch Barak zu empfehlen diesen Bereich sorgsam zu prüfen und sich Zeit zu lassen.] 2. Yossi Verter: The bottom line of the complete Winograd report is that there is no bottom line. More precisely, there are plenty of bottom lines and everyone is welcome to pick his own. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert comes out of this report neither honored nor disgraced. His rivals will find countless reasons in the report to demand his ouster just as they did beforehand: He failed in managing the war, in coordinating, planning and laying the groundwork. His supporters will find quite a few justifications for demanding that he remain, repair and atone for his sins - just as they did earlier. [Auf die Bedeutung der Commission in demokratischen Gebilden bin ich schon näher eingegangen. Der Satz: "Empfehlen den Rücktritt von ... auf den alle scheinbar warteten war nicht zu erwarten.]
Während die Lage an der Grenze zwischen Gaza und Israel scheinbar vollständig ruhig bleibt kommt es im Westjordanland zu kleineren "Rangeleien". Die Fatah verhaftet acht Hamasniks, die IDF prügelt in Kalkillia. Nach dem der Monat Januar als einer der Blutigsten in den letzten Jahren in die Annalen zu gehen drohte darf man seit einer Woche von einem faktischen Fast-Waffenstillstand sprechen, der nur durch rüpelnde IDFler unterbrochen wird. Irgendwie noch ein aftermath des Winograd-Reports: Deplatziert. Der Islamic Jihad schießt nach eigenen Angaben zwei Qassam-Raketen auf Sderot und al-Majdal. Ein Luftangriff der IAF zerstört die launcher. Von Opfern wird bislang nicht berichtet. [Die klassische Fehde zwischen der IDF und dem Islamic Jihad würde ich nicht überbewerten. Speparatkrieg.] European foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair are to travel to the Middle East next week to work out a solution for better access to Gaza, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said on Thursday. [Die werden BESTIMMT eine Lösung finden! Ganz sicher.] Egyptian border guards moved Thursday to prevent all car traffic from entering the country from the Gaza Strip, but still allowed hundreds of Palestinians in on foot. The development reflected Egypt's intentions to contain the influx from the breached boundary, but worries grew among the Gazans that the Egyptians could soon completely seal the border. [Zusätzlich werden einige Märchen durch die Ägypter in Umlauf gebracht: Fünf Selbstmordattentäter und 15 Hamasniks habe man auf dem Sinai verhaftet! ... Eine Randgeschichte: Damage to a submarine cable in the Mediterranean caused disruption to Internet services in Egypt and Kuwait and to telephone services in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, officials said. "A communication cable in the Mediterranean Sea was cut, which led to partial disruptions to Internet and communication services in Egypt," Egyptian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Tareq Kamel said. The minister, who did not elaborate, said an emergency team had been formed to try to find alternative communication channels, with a ministry statement saying it could take several days for services to return to normal. In Kuwait, the communications ministry said two cables in the Mediterranean off Alexandria had been cut, affecting traffic around the region, and causing slower than normal service in the Gulf emirate. Spokesman Ahmed Ramadan said the incident was the result of "weather conditions and maritime traffic" and that it would take 12 to 15 days to repair the cables. Derzeit darf für Ägypten das verfügbare Potential mit 10% angenommen werden. Nahezu von der aussenwelt abgeschnitten.] In Cairo meanwhile, the Syria-based radical Hamas leader Khaled Meshal was expected to talk with Egyptian officials, about the border crisis Thursday. The militant group is seeking to return to the political stage and maintain its influence on the frontier, after it wrestled control of Gaza in clashes last June with their bitter rival, the Palestinian Fatah. But it was unclear what Hamas could achieve in the talks, after moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made it clear during a visit to Cairo Wednesday he will not be pressured into working with them. Abbas categorically refused to talk with Hamas until it recognizes the 2005 international border agreement and repudiated the summer coup that brought it to power in the strip. = Nichts Neues. Interessant: As Palestinians trudged across the Rafah border to stock up, Yahya Salama had another mission -- to sell Israeli-style greenhouses in Egypt.
The Yemin Yehuda non-profit association has begun building 200 housing units in the Shimon Hatzaddik compound, in the heart of East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarra neighborhood. In the process, the organization intends to demolish the homes of dozens of Palestinian families who live there. This neighborhood is in a strategic location: If Yemin Yehuda completes its plan, it will cut the Old City off from the Palestinian neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem.