Ayman Fayed, senior member of al-Quds Brigades military wing, killed along with six other people as explosion rocks his home in al-Bureij refugee camp in central Strip; at least 40 people injured. Palestinian sources report IAF aircraft fired missile at house, but Hamas police says circumstances of incident unclear; IDF denies striking in area. Among the dead were Fayed's wife, a son and a daughter aged 6 and 5 respectively and three other militants, medics and relatives said. "It was not us," the Israeli spokeswoman said. "There have been no actions in the Gaza Strip." [...] Two Qassam rockets landed in the western Negev on Thursday, causing damage to a building and hothouses. Two additional rockets hit open areas. There were no reports of injuries. Several hours earlier, five rockets were launched towards the western Negev, one of them landing in an open area in Sderot. A woman suffered from shock and fell down while fleeing. Another rocket landed outside the city and two fell near the Sapir College.
Syrian security forces have arrested several Palestinians suspects in connection with the assassination of Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh, a Lebanese security source told Reuters on Friday. [Die üblichen Verdächtigen, die übliche Quelle.]
Hamas said on Friday it has told Egyptian officials it would consider a ceasefire with Israel if it lifted its blockade of the Gaza Strip and ceased military operations in all Palestinian territories. Hamas also discussed with Egyptian officials this week the possibility of a prisoner deal that could lead to the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, seized by Hamas in a 2006 raid, in exchange for Israel freeing several hundreds of Palestinians from its jails, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said. Sources close to Hamas said Egypt, which brokered a year-long truce between the Islamist group and Israel in 2005, had wanted to explore Hamas's position before holding any possible talks with Israel. [...] Senior U.N. official John Holmes, who visited Gaza on Friday, said he found "a grim human and humanitarian situation" in the coastal enclave and called for the blockade to be lifted.
Nine Israeli families have moved to a valley deep in the West Bank, setting down six trailer homes and promising Friday to bring more to the disputed area the Palestinians want for a future state. The action - funded in part by a private U.S. group - is the latest Israeli settlement activity to anger Palestinians as peace negotiators try to reach a final agreement outlining borders. U.S. President George W. Bush hopes to get the sides to complete a deal by the end of the year.
Officials at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office are satisfied with Mossad chief Meir Dagan's performance and have recently decided to extend his tenure to 2009, Channel 2 reported Friday. This is the second time Dagan's tenure is extended. A year ago, Olmert and Dagan came to an agreement that the Mossad chief will stay in office until the end of 2008. The two agreed that the main mission of the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations would continue to be collecting information on the Iranian nuclear threat.
Raghida Dergham, "A Glance at the US Foreign Policy under the "Would-be" Presidents Hillary, Obama and McCain": The majority of Democrats are not involved in an ideological clash or vital row as they choose between two contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, former first lady, Senator Hillary Clinton and African-American Senator Barack Obama, a descendent of migrants. Almost all Democrats feel comfortable and enthusiastic regardless of the outcomes because each of the two contenders is relatively new, is making historical precedent, and reflects the main views of the Democratic Party. Although the battle over the nomination is still far from being decisively settled, there is serious talk of whichever of them will represent a serious challenger to Republican candidate John McCain, especially in light of Obama's winning streak. Interestingly, however, while Democrats and many independents feel euphoric and excited about change, the automatic assumption that the White House will no longer stay in the custody of Republicans has faded away and has been replaced by serious fears of failing to take the White House back, a fear attributed to a number of factors. [...] The US reiterated Friday that Syria was directly responsible for the 14-month-old political deadlock in Lebanon. "I would describe the situation as one of continuing blockage ... We regard Syria as directly responsible for this situation," said David Satterfield, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's representative for Iraq. [...] Madeleine K. Albrigth, "Toward a true dialog": To act wisely, we need to know as much as possible about others and also about ourselves; one path to such knowledge is dialogue. In that quest, we convene this year at a moment of great anticipation. Arab-Israeli peace talks have recommenced. In Iraq, signs of hope are visible amid ongoing strife. In Pakistan, pivotal elections are scheduled this week. And in November, the United States will choose a new president.
An economic working group of Israeli, Palestinian, and international economists met with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner, on Thursday and presented him with their latest economic research. The Steering Committee of the Aix Group, a unique group of Israeli, Palestinian and international economic experts who have been working together for the past five years, presented Kouchner with their research results on the economic aspects of a final status agreement between Israel and Palestine in his chamber in the French capital, Paris. [...] In the new economic research of the Aix Group four issues of major importance are being analyzed: (1) Economic cooperation in Jerusalem under different scenarios; (2) The economic aspects of resolving the question of the Palestinian Refugees;(3) Cooperation on Infrastructure issues; and (4)"Fast Track" issues (examination of topics of contemporary importance) including Transitional Trade Arrangements, Palestinian Labor in Israel, and the Development of the Jordan Valley. [...] To download the new book of the Aix Group please click on the link: Economic Dimensions of a Two-State Agreement between Israel and Palestine