Unter massiver psychischer Gewaltandrohung versucht der amerikanische Präsident Bush im einklang mit seiner Aussenministerin Conids Riceauflauf mit Quark die Verhandlungen in Jerusalem voran zu treiben: Die Welt meldet Bush sei zuversichtlich, „dass Präsident Abbas und Ministerpräsident Olmert noch vor dem Ende meiner Präsidentschaft ein Abkommen unterzeichnen, das einen klar umrissenen palästinensischen Staat definiert“. Dieser könne dann „sofort Gestalt annehmen“, wenn die Bedingungen der „Road-Map“ erfüllt seien. Der erste Schritt aber müsse die klare Definition des palästinensischen Staates sein: „Ich hoffe, dass das gelingt. Und ich habe das optimistische Gefühl, dass es dazu kommt.“ Der US-Präsident verknüpfte dies mit der Hoffnung, dass ihn seine letzte Auslandsreise bis Januar 2009 schließlich nach Jerusalem führen werde. Dabei hat Bush sein Ziel doch schon erreicht, denn aufgrund der vielen Termine hat das israelische Aussenamt mittlerweile kein Geld mehr für die Unabhängigkeitsfeiern: There is no funding for overseas cultural events to mark Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations. The Foreign Ministry blames the Committee for Israel's 60th Independence Day Events, which has NIS 100 million at its disposal, but has decided not to allocate any funds for overseas events. Der Besuch von Riceauflauf mit Quark verläuft hingegen mäßig produktiv, wobei sie einer alten Forderung der Fatah nachkommt einen Zeitrahmen zu setzten. Vor dem nächsten Erweckungserlebnis von Bush im Mai in Jerusalem möchte sie erneut eine "draft declaration" von den verhandelnden Personen sehen. Ansatzweise werden kosmetische Ereignisse in Gang gesetzt: Israel and the Palestinians on Sunday agreed to a series of concrete steps aimed at paving the way for a final peace agreement later this year, beginning with an Israeli pledge to remove some 50 roadblocks in the West Bank, U.S. officials traveling with Rice said prior to the secretary of state's press conference. ... The statement said the Palestinians would soon deploy additional security forces in the West Bank town of Jenin, a hotbed of militant activity, and work to prevent terror. Last week, Barak said he had agreed to let the Palestinians deploy some 600 Jordanian-trained officers in Jenin. The statement also said the two sides agreed Sunday to take new steps to promote economic development in the West Bank. International Mideast envoy Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is overseeing efforts to develop the West Bank economy to lay the groundwork for a future Palestinian state. Among the new measures are plans to build new housing for Palestinians in 25 villages, connecting Palestinian villages to the Israeli power grid and an agreement by Israel to allow larger numbers of Palestinian laborers and businessmen to work inside Israel. Ein deutschsprachiger Bericht hierzu. Die israelische Aussenministerin Lapalia Livni hingegen versucht mit staatstragenden Gedanken eine größere Peinlichkeit zu verdecken: Earlier Sunday, Foreign Minister Livni said that while Israel should begin work on plans on compensating settlers who may be evacuated from the West Bank in the future, it should not be enacted until a final peace deal has been reached with the Palestinians. "I think that someone who has settled in a certain place should be helped by the government to leave it in accordance with its priorities," she told reporters after talks in Jerusalem with Rice. "In principle, as one who went through the [2005 Gaza Strip] disengagement, I think that it is proper to work on this as early as possible." But she added that, "It appears to me that it is still too early, since no final borders have been defined in the negotiations, and it is therefore difficult to formulate this on the level of legislation," she stated. Nun schön das sie nach Monaten auch mal was zur Initiative zur Siedlerkompensation beitragen möchte. Alelrdings vermutet man bei ihr wohl richtig das sie mit Gedanken die einen künftigen Abzug im Jahr StNimmerlein diese Geschichte unter den Tisch kehren will: Four months since the Annapolis conference, the settlement freeze is dead, left-wing organization Peace Now claimed in a report released Monday.The report highlighted 101 instances of settlement construction that had taken place since December. It claimed that over 500 buildings were being built in the settlements, each of them including several housing units (east Jerusalem excluded). Peace Now said that approximately 275 of the buildings were new and 20 percent of the construction was being conducted in settlements east of the West Bank security barrier.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday slammed the defense ministry's decision to ease access and freedom of movement for West Bank Palestinians, saying there could be no substitute for Israeli control in the territory. Responding to the defense ministry's announcement, Netanyahu said: "Nobody, not even Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas], can do our job. If the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] leaves the territory, Hamas and Iran will come in." Netanyahu added that his Likud party would not agree to any agreement that would require the division of Jerusalem. "If an agreement of principles is made that includes a return to lines based on the '67 borders and the division of Jerusalem - we won't give out hands," he said. [Das jüdische Volk denkt wieder etwas ganz anderes: A total of 76 percent of Israeli Jews give some degree of support to transferring Israeli Arabs to a future Palestinian state, a poll commissioned by the Knesset Channel revealed, Monday. The poll, conducted over the Internet, included 668 adult Israeli Jews representing the entire political spectrum, cites a 3.7% margin of error. The poll asked participants whether as part of an agreement to establish a Palestinian state there would be justification to demand that Arabs with Israeli citizenship relocate to Palestinian territory. Only 24% were totally against the idea. Of the remaining 76%, 29% said all Israeli Arabs should relocate. An additional 19% said only Arabs living in close proximity to the Palestinian state should relocate, and 28% said transfer should be decided based on loyalty or disloyalty to the State of Israel. The data reflects Jewish Israelis' distrust of Arabs national priorities.]
Am Rande passiert Ehud Barak noch ein kleiner Fauxpas mit parteiinterner Breitenwirkung. Er kurtbeckt sich sozusagen: A line of dissention has sounded within the Labor Party following faction leader and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's remarks Sunday night that the party's departure from the coalition could be sooner than anticipated. Barak made the comments to parents of Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War, after one asked whether he saw the party quitting within the next year or two. Participants in the forum said the defense minister answered that the party would quit, but refused to give a time frame. In response to the remarks, Minister Ami Yalon told Army Radio Sunday evening: "Ehud Barak is indeed the chairman of the party, but he is not the party himself." Following the meeting, Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer apparently told Minister Shalom Simhon quietly: "If he [Barak] wants to get up and kill himself - then he should get up and kill himself. According to participants in Sunday's forum, Barak also said during his address that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should resign over his role in the war. [Nun so ganz ohne timeframe ist die Angelegenheit nicht, da es Äußerungen Baraks gibt die eine Neuwahl im Herbst anstreben. Falls er in dieser richtung etwas unternehmen will sollte er sich beeilen. Der Zeitpunkt nach den jüngsten Einigungen mit der Fayyad-Fatah scheint günstig. Die innerparteiliche Opposition weiß aber auch das Barak bei Neuwahlen nicht die Mehrheit zur Umsetzung der wirklich wichtigen core points mit den Palästinensern zu Stande bekommt.] Former Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz will not try to force the party to hold another leadership race to challenge Defense Minister Ehud Barak ahead of the next general election, a source close to Peretz said Monday. Peretz will host a mass rally at Labor's Tel Aviv headquarters on Tuesday to flex his political muscles. He is expected to use the event to bash Barak, as he did to his face in a four-hour meeting of the Labor faction Monday night.