Während aus dem Gazastreifen durch den Islamic Jihad vier Qassamraketen auf israelische zivile Ziele abgefeuert werden und dabei eine Rakete um Haaresbreite eine gefüllte kinderkrippe verfehlt werden zwei Hamas-Milizionäre bei zwei verschiedenen Scharmützeln am Grenzzaun getötet. Bei dem ersten Vorfall schwanken die Angaben. Während die Hamas berichtet man habe beim Kissufim-Crossing israelische Truppen anttackiert wollen israelische Truppen bei einer "incursion" nahe al-Qarrara [Khan Younis] angegriffen worden sein. Ergebnis bleibt gleich: Ein toter, zwei Verletzte. Am Abend wird ein Hamasnik bei dem Versuch eine [Hand-]Granate am nördlichen Grenzzaun auf IDF-Truppen zu werfen erschossen. Unterdessen läßt Hamas und Islamic Jihad im Gazastreifen für die palästinensische Wiedervereinigung demonstrieren und Polit-Führer Khaled Meshal meldet sich bei den arabsichen Führern: Exiled Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, in a communiqué to Arab leaders, expressed willingness to seriously consider the possibility of an over-all calm with Israel, according to a report Friday in the London-based daily Al Hayat, which said that the message was timed to coincide with the Arab League summit scheduled to take place in Syria's capital over the weekend.
Aus der Westbank werden zur Abwechslung kaum Verhaftungswellen berichtet, jedoch werden in Qufur Thulth bei Qalkilla drei Palästinenser bei einem Clan-Kampf erschossen und 13 weitere verletzt darunter vier schwer. Die Israelis senden zur Trennung der noch nicht namentlich bekannten Familien etwa hundert Fatahisten in den Ort. In Bil'in kommt es bei der wöchentlcihen Anti-Walldemo zu sieben Verletzten.
Die Politik bereitet sich auf den nächsten Besuch der amerikanischen Aussenministerin Condis Riceauflauf mit Quark vor, wobei gemeldet wird das sie auch mit Oppositionführer Netanjahu zusammentreffen wird, der wieder mal für Ärger sorgt, da er die kontrovers diskutierte E1-Baustelle [Siedlungsausbau Jerusalem] plakativ besucht und dabei großisraelisches Geplapper absondert: "All of Israel has been built, not because of the approval of the Arabs and the international community, but despite their opposition," Netanyahu told reporters atop a dusty hilltop. "We need the kind of leadership that would insist on this." Derweil: Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned the United States that gestures Israel is making to the Palestinians - including approving the transfer to the Palestinian Authority of weapons and armored vehicles, and allowing the deployment of PA policemen in West Bank cities - could ultimately backfire because Hamas could come to power in the West Bank and be better equipped to turn on Israel. Barak issued the warning during a recent meeting with the US special envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Gen. James Jones. The Israeli defense establishment has drawn up a list of further gestures together with Jones that are set to include deploying 600 Jordanian-trained PA policemen in Jenin and the possible removal of dirt roadblocks. Salam Fayyad hingegen kann mit den Spaniern einen 20 Millionen €-Deal erfolgreich abschließen.
Gil Yaron, "mein" morgendlicher "Informant" veröffentlicht in der YA: Turn the page on the Holocaust - As German youths question concept of 'historical responsibility' thrust onto them, Israel will only encounter more difficulties if it continues to lean on identity as victim.
Ansonsten nur Syrien, Syrien, Syrien: Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said Friday that Israel has been making efforts to bring Syria back to the negotiating table. IRIN: A boycott by Lebanon and major Arab powers of the Arab summit in Damascus (29-30 March) has dashed hopes for a last-ditch settlement of the Lebanese presidential crisis, raising fears of a descent into violence after it passes. [...] On the eve of the Arab Lague summit in Damascus, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Friday that his government was staying away from the gathering to demonstrate the Lebanese people's refusal to accept a presidential vacuum. In a televised speech, Siniora addressed the Arab community, stressing that "Lebanon should only be represented by its Christian president, who reflects the country's diversity and is the only Christian Arab president," Siniora said. Lebanon has been without a president since Emile Lahoud stepped down at the end of his term. Parliament sessions to elect a new head of state have been postponed on 17 occasions as part of the power struggle between the government and the opposition, which Siniora and his allies accuse of obstructing the process on behalf of Syria. + Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri along with MPs Yassine Jabre and Walid Khoury visited the Greek capital on Friday for the fourth Euro-Mediterranean general parliamentary meeting. + A UN investigation commission said on Friday that a "criminal network" had carried out the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and was connected to other acts of political violence in Lebanon, but the commission's report did not name anyone involved with the network. Original report. [...] Salah Nasrawi: The no-shows by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon are an embarrassment to Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose government had hoped the summit on Saturday and Sunday — billed as "the summit of joint Arab action" — would boost its prestige. By staying away, the countries aimed to show Damascus the diplomatic cost of its hard line on Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it is likely instead to strengthen Damascus' alliance with Iran and the Hamas and Hezbollah militant groups. "There are now two axes — Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah are on one side and the rest are on the another," said Wahid Abdel-Meguid of the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. [...] Joshua Landis: The US has put a premium on the effort to isolate Syria. V.P. Cheney's visit was instrumental in shoring up flagging efforts to put the squeeze on Syria. I have heard this from sources in Washington, and now Khaled Oweis quotes diplomats in Damascus to the same effect. The media has been aggressively anti-Syria, as well. The Syrians are taking the view that what really counts in the end is not the propaganda game, but the action on the ground over the long haul. They believe that Syria and its allies will come out ahead in Lebanon, despite US and Saudi efforts to disarm and isolate Hizbullah. Syria is convinced that the Lebanese Shiites and their Christian allies are too numerous to be side-lined or marginalized in Lebanese politics indefinitely. Eventually, the March 14th coalition will have to come to terms with their demands and give them a larger voice in government, either through elections in 2009 or earlier in some sort of political deal. Cheney and his team may be able to win a few rounds in the coming months, but Syrian authorities believe that ultimately Washington will have to accommodate Syrian and Lebanese opposition interests in the region. [...] Jonathan Spyer: The Middle East is currently divided between an alliance of radical Islamist and associated states and organizations, which take support and inspiration from Iran, on the one hand, and a coalition of pro-Western states, on the other. The "Annapolis process" is based on the expectation that Fatah will play the role of the pro-Western, pro-stability element among the Palestinians. The facts indicate, however, that for both structural and ideological reasons, it is neither able nor willing to play this role.