In der Nacht zum Sonntag kommen bei einer als Recon-Operation bezeichneten israelischen Aktion gegen Qassam-Raketen in Shuka, nahe des Internationalen Flughafens bei Rafah vier Palästinenser ums Leben, darunter ein Zivilist. Dreizehn Personen werden verletzt. Zwei weitere Miltglieder der Hamas sterben im Krankenhaus an den Verletzungen die sie sich bei einer Schießerei mit Israelis am Freitag zugezogen hatten. Das Qassam-Aufkommen ist über das Wochenende eher unscheinbar: 4 Projektile, zwei davon auf israelische Militäreinrichtungen. Die al-Qassam-Brigaden der Hamas beginnen mit der Veröffentlichung konkreter Frontberichte, die allerdings nicht überprüft werden können. So werden vier israelische Soldaten als verletzt von der Hamas gemeldet, während die Israelis hier still schweigen. Unterdessen will die Olmert-Regierung die Stallschrauben der Blockade weiter anziehen: The reduction of electric and fuel supplies to Gaza will continue, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday at the beginning of a weekly cabinet meeting, adding that Israel would continue combating terrorism in southern Israel and will not cease until life returns to normal in the area. [...] A senior official in the PM's Office said it was agreed last week that 8,000 of the existing 10,500 homes that are located up to 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) from the area from which the Qassam rockets are fired from would be fortified, this due to the fact that the "Iron Dome" system, which is expected to be fully functional in two-and-a-half years' time, is capable of intercepting Qassam rockets as well as short-range ground-to-ground missiles with a range of at least 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). The cost of the project is estimated at some NIS 350 million (about $97 million), and its budget is expected to be approved during next week's cabinet meeting, Olmert said. In Jerusalem wird heute offenbart wie weit sich die französischen und deutschen Positionen bezüglich israelischer Unternehmungen unterscheiden. Während Ehud Olmert von der deutschen Kanzlerin volle Rückendeckung erhilt sieht der französische Aussenminister die Lage anders: In an interview with the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, published Saturday, Kouchner called for Gaza's borders to be reopened. "We are calling to remove the blockade on Gaza because there must be movement for goods and people," he said. "The economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza is bad and the siege is affecting the economy in general, and also the living conditions."
In der Westbank gehen die israelischen Verhaftungswellen munter weiter. Über Nacht werden vornehmlich aus Aqraba bei Nablus insgesamt 14 Palästinenser verhaftet. Politisch stellt Jibril Rajoub fest: In an interview with Al-Arabiyya satellite television, Rajoub said, "Neither the peace process, nor the sixth Fatah conference can succeed without national reconciliation between the two parts of the Palestinian homeland and the accomplishment of nationalist unity which is the cue for the establishment of a Palestinian state." As for the upcoming sixth Fatah conference, Rajoub said the meeting would seek to change Fatah's platform, while keeping "resistance" as a key plank. Rajoub also warned of the repercussions of the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah which, in his view, could result in Egypt annexing the Gaza Strip, and pushing the West Bank towards dependence on Jordan. He went on to criticize certain decisions which he says destroyed the Palestinian Authority, such as getting the security services involved in armed struggle. He said, "Utter confusion prevailed as unpatriotic weapons interfered in the Palestinian resistance, and that should be rearranged." [...] Muhammad Dahlan, the former Fatah security commander in the Gaza Strip, is working to oust Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the veteran leadership of the ruling party, an Abbas aide told The Jerusalem Post. Fatah central committee member Hakam Balawi, a former PLO ambassador to Tunis, said Dahlan was responsible for the defeat of the Fatah-controlled PA security forces in the Gaza Strip by Hamas last June. "Dahlan is an opportunist who is spreading chaos, illusions and poison," Balawi said in a statement issued on behalf of the Fatah central committee in Ramallah. "Dahlan's actions and statements have long been based on intimidation, threats and ultimatums." [...] Earlier this month another top Fatah operative, Abu Ali Shaheen, dropped a bombshell when he went on the record to condemn Abbas as a failed leader who was incapable of making the right decision at the right time. Shaheen, a former PA minister, also held Abbas and his old guard colleagues in Fatah responsible for Hamas's takeover of the entire Gaza Strip. [...] Die Hamas hingegen bezichtigt weiterhin die Fatah des Mordkomplotts gegen Ismail Haniyeh und zudem soll Khaled Meshal in Damaskus bedroht worden sein: Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal has recently survived several assassination attempts, an advisor to Ismail Haniyeh told the London-based Arab newspaper Asharq Alawsat on Sunday. Ahmad Yusuf accused "Arab intelligence organizations" of providing Israel and the U.S. with information about the whereabouts of Hamas commanders in Syria, including Meshal and his deputy Musa Abu Marzuk. [...] Jetzt die komplette Veröffentlichung: I have now uploaded the full transcript of the one-hour interview I conducted with the head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, in Damascus last month.
Im Fall des getöteten Hezbollah-Führers Mughniyeh werden höchst spekulative Berichte wie dieser der Sunday times veröffentlicht: Yet before the night was over he was dead in the twisted wreckage of his car and the inevitable assumption was that Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, had killed him with an ingeniously planted bomb. + Sunday Times quotes Israeli intelligence sources as saying top Hizbullah commander killed by Mossad agents who used booby-trapped headrest. Mugniyah was working with Syria on attacks against Israeli targets [...] Kommentar und Nachrichtenübersicht von Joshua Landis: The Bush administration believes the best way to convince Syria to compromise with March 14 and improve its record on the Iraq border is by increasing the pain imposed on Syrian officials and the regime. I think this will fail, but one can never tell. We will see. There are those who believe that the situation in Lebanon is being stabilized by the heightened rhetoric of March 14, the killing of Mughniyah, and added sanctions on Syria. [...] Wednesday's assassination of Hizbullah senior commander Imad Mughniyeh will spark a new round of violence in the region, as Hizbullah is certain to retaliate in spectacular fashion, thereby provoking further security fallout in Lebanon, a number of analysts told The Daily Star on Friday. The aftershocks of Mughniyeh's killing could even increase the chances for civil strife here, said Ahmad Moussalli, a professor of political science and Islamic studies at the American University of Beirut. "We are close to a major conflict," he said. "We are at a point of some kind of war. It's very dangerous. You will see Hizbullah hardening its [domestic] position, rather than softening." [...] The defense establishment is concerned Hezbollah may use an explosives-laden unmanned aerial vehicle to attack a civilian or military target in northern or central Israel in retaliation for last week's assassination of it terror chief. The Israel Air Force has been placed on alert for such a possibility. Syrian and Iranian officials believe there will be a serious military confrontation with Israel in the near future, according to Al-Akhbar, a Lebanese daily affiliated with Hezbollah. [...] The Lebanese newspaper A-Safir reported Saturday that the Lebanon-based guerilla group Hezbollah has deployed 50,000 "activists" along the southern border with Israel and declared a state of high alert in southern Lebanon. According to the report, the organization has also evacuated all buildings in the area designated for social or political purposes in recent days, in preparation for a confrontation with Israel in the wake of the assassination of Hezbollah terror chief Imad Mughniyah. [...] Lebanon's western-backed Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said that Lebanon has no interest in declaring an "open war" on Israel as this would harm Hezbollah in addition to the Islamic and Arab causes, Lebanese reports quoted him Saturday as saying. "I don't believe we have an interest to wage an open war worldwide because this would be harmful to Hezbollah as well as to the Islamic and Arab causes," Siniora was quoted as telling the Lebanese satellite channel Future TV.
Veröffentlichung von HRW: Israel’s Use of Cluster Bombs Shows Need for Global Ban Attacks in Lebanon Violated Laws of War: The human devastation inflicted on Lebanon by Israel’s illegal use of cluster munitions highlights the urgent need for an international treaty banning the weapon, Human Rights Watch said in releasing a report today. At a conference this week, more than 100 states will discuss a treaty to ban cluster munitions, a process prompted in part by Israel’s cluster attacks on Lebanon in 2006. In the 131-page report, “Flooding South Lebanon: Israel’s Use of Cluster Munitions in Lebanon in July and August 2006,” Human Rights Watch found that Israel violated international humanitarian law in its indiscriminate and disproportionate cluster munition attacks on Lebanon. The report provides the most comprehensive and detailed account yet of the nature and impact of Israel’s use of cluster munitions.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Tuesday as part of recently re-launched efforts to push ahead with peace talks, a Palestinian negotiator said Sunday. The meeting will take place at Olmert's Jerusalem residence, said the negotiator, Saeb Erekat. Olmert's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. [...] More than one-third of West Bank settlements were built on private Palestinian land that was temporarily seized by military order for "security purposes," according to a report by the Civil Administration that is being published here for the first time. The settlements in question, which include Ariel, Kiryat Arba and Efrat, have tens of thousands of residents, and many have existed for decades. A security source termed this a "difficult statistic" that is liable to cause trouble for Israel both in Washington and its own courts. [...] Rightists, Bit'in residents throw stones at one another, three Israelis lightly wounded before being arrested. 'IDF should deal with the aggressors, who are the Palestinians, before dealing with us,' settler says.