Sonntag, 13. Januar 2008

Part II

[Mittlerweile zwei Opfer des Luftangriffs bestätigt.]

Al-Jazeera, "Arab Papers on Bush tour"

Josh Reubner, "Double Standard on Divestment": Today, two movements for the promotion of human rights in Sudan and Palestine seek to emulate the successful role played by boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in achieving democracy and equality in South Africa. The two movements, however, have received radically different receptions on Capitol Hill. This double standard testifies to official Washington's selectivity when it comes to promoting human rights around the globe and its tendency to overlook the faults of its allies while using human rights as a pretext to punish its adversaries.

Ron Tylor, "Freezing out a settlement": One sure-fire way of scuttling Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is for Israel to carry on with settlement construction in the Occupied Territories. In every attempt at a solution to the conflict, the freezing of the settlement programme has been seen as an essential condition to diplomacy and as a way of reassuring the Palestinians of Israel’s commitment to meaningful negotiations. In 1979, at the first Camp David summit US President Jimmy Carter sought a 5-year freeze. Prime Minister Menachim Begin was only prepared to agree a 3-month halt, neglecting to say that the expansion of existing settlements would continue unhindered. By 1992, when the number of settlers had risen from 50,000 to 250,000, the then Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin agreed on a freeze only to insist on an allowance for ‘natural growth’. The so-called final status talks foundered in 2000, one of the reasons being Israel’s inability or unwillingness to stop settlement building. The number of settlers had then risen to 400,000.

President Bush accused Iran Sunday of undermining peace in Lebanon, funding terrorist groups, trying to intimidate its neighbors and refusing to be open about its nuclear program and ambitions. In a speech described by the White House as the centerpiece of his eight-day trip to the Middle East, Bush tried to speak directly to the people of Iran as he urged nations to help the United States "confront this danger before it is too late." + President George W. Bush urged wary Gulf allies Sunday to rally against Iran "before it is too late," even as the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that the country had agreed to answer outstanding questions about its nuclear programs within four weeks. In an address to government and business leaders in an opulent hotel here, Bush focused not only what the United States suspects are Iran's nuclear ambitions, but also on its suspected support for Islamic groups and militants in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

The United States has agreed in principle to provide Israel with better "smart bombs" than those it plans to sell Saudi Arabia under a regional defense package, senior Israeli security sources said on Sunday. Keen to bolster Middle East allies against an ascendant Iran, the Bush administration last year proposed supplying Gulf Arab states with some $20 billion in new weapons, including Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb kits for the Saudis. The plan has angered Israel's backers in Washington, who say the JDAMs, which give satellite guidance for bombs, may one day be used against the Jewish state or at least blunt its power to deter potential foes. Israel has had JDAMs since 1990 and has used them extensively in a 2006 offensive in Lebanon. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government dropped its objections to the proposed Saudi deal in July after securing U.S. military aid grants worth $30 billion over the next decade. Two Israeli security sources said the United States further mollified the Olmert government with an "understanding in principle" that future JDAM sales to Israel would include advanced technologies not on offer to Saudi Arabia. "We are checking which of the top-of-the-line JDAMs will become available to us. The agreement is that Israel's qualitative edge will be preserved," one source said.

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