*** Westfront: Am Sonntag Abend wird eine palästinensische Pilgerin bei ihrer Rückkehr aus Mekka am Erez Crossing durch israelische soldaten erschossen. Vier weitere der 700 Rückkehrer werden verletzt. Auf ägyptischer Seite sind in el-Arish noch mehrere hundert Rückkehrer, die wegen eines Politstreits Hamas-Israel nicht in den Gazastreifen einreisen können. Während die Palästinenser auf eine Einreise durch den Rafah-Grenzübergang bestehen um einer Überprüfung durch israelische Truppen [oder einem Erschiessen] zu entgehen besteht die israelische Seite auf eine einreise über den Kerem shalmon-Grenzübergang. Nachdem die el-Arish-Gruppe bereits gedroht hat Fähren auf denen man die Rückkehrer schmoren ließ zu versenken, drohen sie nun damit "die Gegend" anzuzünden. *Stinksauer* +++ Nachdem Fatahisten im Gazastreifen das "Versammlungsverbot" der Hamas am Montag Abend ignorieren ... ich dachte erst "Silvester", Blödsinn, Gründungsdatum der Fatahbewegung ... kommt es bei Schießereien zum Tod von sechs Palästinensern. Bislang wird ein Hamas-Polizist, ein Fatah-Mitglied und ein Minderjähriger als identifiziert gemeldet. Weitere dreißig Personen werden verletzt. Daneben wird gemeldet das ein Ableger des recht bekannten Martyr Abu Jihad College in Gaza City gebrandschatzt wird, wobei ich bislang nicht wußte das es eins in Gaza gibt. Da es als Fatah-affiliated "Abu Jihad educational center" in den Meldungen bezeichnet wird und die gelooteten Computer der Fatah gehören sollen kanns auch mit dem eigentlichen College nichts zu tun haben. Im Vorfeld der gestrigen Ausschreitungen wurden insgesamt etwa siebzig Fatah-Angehörige durch die Hamas verhaftet. Es wird berichtet das auf Journalisten telefonisch Druck ausgeübt wurde um sie von einer Berichterstattung abzuhalten. In wie weit "passiver Widerstand", der von der Fatah-Größe Ibrahim Abu Al-Naja ins Spiel gebracht wurde [alle pro-Fatah-Häuser sollen Kerzen in die Fenster stellen] Effekt zeigte wird nicht berichtet. ++++ Seit dem letzten post werden etwa ein Dutzend Qassam-Abschüsse gemeldet. Keine israelischen Operationen mit Ausnahme einer im Raum ash-Shuka nahe des Kerem Shalmon Crossings. Bei einem Feuergefecht wird ein al-Qassam-Mitglied getötet. Von der Ostfront werden Operationen der Fatah gegen "Fugitive" [siebzehn] und gegen "Hamas" [Sechs] gemeldet. Die Israelis halten sich vornehm zurück: Vier Verhaftungen.
*** Daten: The number of Palestinians killed by the Israel Defense Forces in 2007 decreased by 43 percent since last year, to 373, but the total number of Palestinians killed this year reached a record high because of the 344 Palestinians killed in the internecine conflict, the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said in its year-end report. The report also found a significant drop in the proportion of civilians killed, which decreased from 54 percent of the 657 Palestinians killed by IDF fire in 2006 to 35 percent of the 373 Palestinians killed between January 1 and December 29 of this year. Fifty-three of the Palestinians were minors and the vast majority - 270 - were killed in the Gaza Strip. In addition, seven Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian fire in 2007 - the lowest number since the second intifada began. +++ Thirteen Israelis were killed by Palestinians in 2007, the lowest number in years, according to data released yesterday by the Shin Bet security service. The fatality figures for 2006 and 2005 were 24 and 50, respectively. ... In contrast to the sharp decline in suicide bombings, however, rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza continued apace. In total, Palestinians fired 1,263 rockets and 1,511 mortar shells at southern Israel last year, compared with 1,722 rockets and 55 mortars in 2006. Rocket attacks accounted for two of last year's fatalities, both in Sderot. ... Hamas terror operatives in the West Bank have recently increased efforts to obtain a rocket capability and to develop Kassam rockets that could be fired into central Israeli cities, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed Monday in its annual terror report for 2007. +++ Israeli Arab pupils seriously lag behind their Jewish peers in reading competency, according to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). The survey, which tested 4th graders from around the world, ranked Israeli pupils who speak Arabic at home 40th on its list. In comparison, pupils with Hebrew as their mother tongue were ranked 8th or 11th, depending on the method of data analysis. The study also showed serious gaps in results between children from different socioeconomic groups within Arab society. [Die Veröffentlichung des Berichts liegt schon etwas zurück] +++ The number of Israeli families with at least four children and the number of single-parent families both increased in recent years. The figures are from the most recent yearbook of the National Council for the Child, which was issued yesterday.
*** Cyberwar: Police arrested a 17-year-old Israeli Arab Monday overnight, Army Radio reported, who they suspected had joined with computer hackers from Arab nations in order to sabotage Israeli web sites. Police said the group was suspected of having hacked hundreds of private and commercial Israeli web sites. No governmental web sites were believed to have been breached.
*** Politik: In seiner Rede zum 43. Jahrestag der Fatah-Gründung ruft Mahmoud Abbas seltsamerweise nach Monaten des Schweigens zum Thema die Hamas auf Neuwahlen zuzustimmen. Die Hamas lehnt dankend ab, es wäre sowieso derzeit schon logistisch kaum möglich vernünftige Wahlen abzuhalten. ["I renew the option of early elections ... and I pledge that I will do my best to ensure this election will be the product of a deep and brotherly understanding," Abbas said. "I urge all, Fatah and Hamas movements and all other Palestinian factions, to study this alternative and not to rush, as usual, to reject it."] Seltsam. Ebenso seltsam da unüblich das statement von Ryad al-Maliki, der ohne nähere Angaben von einem durch palästinensische Sicherheitskräfte verhinderten Terroranschlag der Hamas berichtet. Die Hamas dementiert. ++++ In Israel bereiter man sich hingegen auf verschiedene showdowns vor: Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak's statement at a Labor faction meeting that the government was to blame for the Second Lebanon War raised expectations among Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's political opponents on Monday that Barak's days in the government could be numbered. Barak promised when he was running for the Labor leadership that he would remove the party from the coalition upon the publication of the final Winograd Committee report. But since then he had hinted repeatedly that he would use the security situation and the Annapolis process as an excuse to remain in the government. That changed with his statement on Monday. HHours after the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee issued a scathing report criticizing the army's handling of the war, Barak defended the IDF and - without mentioning them by name - diverted the criticism toward Olmert and former defense minister Amir Peretz. "In the State of Israel, the overall responsibility for a war, its results and especially how it starts and ends, lies with the diplomatic echelon," Barak told the faction. "This is clear even though the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, for its own reasons, decided not to deal with [the diplomatic level] in its report." ... [Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that the overall responsibility for the conduct of the Second Lebanon War, including the decision to become involved in it at all, rests on the shoulders of the political echelon, regardless of the fact that the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee chose not to focus on the government in its report. ] ++++ The state has been filing indictments over the past two months against right-wing activists and settlers for occupying an illegal outpost, following orders from Defense Minister Ehud Barak to security forces to file police complaints against the activists. So far some 70 complaints have been filed, which have led to about 20 indictments against young people and teenagers who moved in batches to the outpost Shvut Ami, near the Kedumim settlement in the West Bank. ++++ In an effort to bring an end to the IDF attacks that have targeted militants involved in the launching of Qassam rockets against Israel, Hamas has raised the possibility of reaching a tahdiye, a lull in the fighting, in exchange for an end to Israeli attacks. Hamas is trying to reach agreement with other radical groups in the Gaza Strip, in order to halt the rocket and mortar attacks against Israel. However, within Hamas itself, there is opposition to any form of compromise with Israel, Haaretz has learned from spokesmen of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip. In a conversation with Haaretz, Taher al-Nunu, spokesman for the administration, Hamas has wanted a tahdiye for some time which would include a stop of Israeli offensive operations, in return for an end to Palestinian attacks, including rocket barrages. Al-Nunu explained that the closing down of the crossing points by Israel following the Hamas takeover of the Strip in June, has caused great suffering to the population, but did not say that lifting the siege would be one of the conditions for a lull in the fighting. ++++ Israel needs to internalize that even its supportive friends on the international stage conceive of the country's future on the basis of the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem divided, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has declared to The Jerusalem Post. ++++ Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin on Sunday warned against relaxing criteria for releasing Palestinian prisoners in return for kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldiers. In a special meeting with cabinet ministers and security officials, Diskin lashed out against Ofer Dekel, Israel's chief negotiator for securing the release of abducted soldiers, claiming Dekel backed criteria that were too lenient. "Diskin wanted to keep the criteria as they are because when they [the Palestinian prisoners] get out of jail, he'll have to deal with them," a government source said. "On the other side, Dekel is interested in reaching a deal and believes criteria should be eased." ++++ Ze'ev Segal: Shula Zaken's return this week to the Prime Minister's Bureau - after a year's suspension from her position as bureau chief - will certainly provide another argument for those who support the proposal for a law to prohibit the publication of suspects' names. Zaken was suspended in the wake of the corruption investigation into the Tax Authority, which began with a loud trumpet blast and whose end is not yet clear. Arrests and interrogations under a spotlight, usually of public figures, with a plethora of suspicions against them provided by unidentified "police sources" are injurious to human dignity and freedom. In Britain, as Anglo-Israeli attorney Ami Feder has told me, a suspect is customarily defined as someone who "is aiding the police in their inquiries," in order to maintain his dignity. [Die Finanzbehörde hat gestern einen größeren Schlag im Anti-Korruptionskampf angekündigt.]
*** Auswärtiges: Egypt's foreign minister warned Israel that Cairo could use its diplomatic influence against Israel which he said was trying to undermine Cairo's ties to Washington, state news agency MENA said. "If they continue to push and try to affect Egypt's relationship with the U.S. and harm Egyptian interests, Egypt will certainly respond and will try to damage their interests," MENA quoted Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Monday as saying in a television interview aired a day earlier. "We have capabilities in every direction -- all in diplomatic areas but not extending beyond that -- which may inflict profound damage," he added. ++++ France has vowed to cut off contact with Syria until it shows a willingness to end the long-standing political crisis in Lebanon by facilitating the election of a new president, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said from Cairo on Sunday. "We will have no more contact with Syria ... until we have proof of Syrian willingness to let Lebanon appoint a consensus president," Sarkozy told reporters during a joint news conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak also urged Syria to facilitate the Lebanese presidential election. Sarkozy, on his first official trip to the Middle East as president, said France wants a president for Lebanon. "It's time for Syria to prove with action what it has not stopped saying in speeches. We're now waiting for acts on Syria's part and not speeches," he said. Kommentar dazu von Daniel Ben Simon: Poor Bernard Kouchner. What hasn't France's charismatic, hyperactive foreign minister done to demonstrate his country's influence over Lebanon? The moment he was appointed to his post by President Nicolas Sarkozy, Kouchner made Lebanon the touchstone of France's foreign policy. He went to Beirut seven times to improve bilateral relations and prepare the ground for the election of a successor to the pro-French president, Emile Lahoud. Kommentar von Joshua Landis + mehr Infos, "Syria Stands by Lebanese Allies: France distraught: Lebanon in Continued Crisis": France is boycotting Syria until Syria pressures its Lebanese allies to accept the agreed upon candidate for President of Lebanon, Michel Suleiman. Syria and Lebanese opposition forces demand a greater share of the cabinet the new president would construct. Some are talking about renegotiating Taif, the constitutional arrangement that is seen by many of the opposition to be unfair. ++++ Uneinheitlich: Syrian authorities released a political activist after a five-month detention, a Syrian human rights organization said Saturday. + Two visiting US Congressmen announced after talks with Syrian leaders on Sunday that they had secured a pledge that jailed dissidents would be freed and said they saw scope for progress in the peace process with Israel. The upbeat note contrasted with that of US President George W. Bush earlier this month who ruled out direct talks with Damascus, saying: "My patience ran out on President (Bashar) al-Assad a long time ago." Senator Arlen Specter, a member of Bush's Republican Party, and Congressman Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat, held talks with both Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem. + A Syrian criminal court on Monday convicted a political activist of insulting the regime and contacting "hostile parties," and sentenced him to three years in prison, a human rights group said. Faiq al-Mir's sentence, handed down by Judge Mohieddine Halaq, was then commuted to one and a half years in jail, the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, or NOHR, said in a statement.
*** Cyberwar II: Saudi Arabia's most popular blogger, Fouad al-Farhan, has been detained for questioning, an Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed Monday. It was the first known arrest of an online critic in the kingdom. Farhan, 32, who used his blog to criticize corruption and call for political reform, was detained "for violating rules not related to state security," according to the spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, responding to repeated requests for comment with a brief cellphone text message.
Webseite von al-Farhan.