Mittlerweile gilt zumindest als bestätigt das es Fortschritte in Sachen "Waffenstillstand" um den Gazastreifen gibt. Eine am Mittag durch die PFLP abgefeuerte Qassam die südlich von Ashkelon einschlägt bringt keine Gegenschläge hervor: An Egyptian-brokered truce has been reached between Israel and Hamas, a senior Israeli security official said Tuesday. The official told AFP that Hamas agreed to stop firing rockets as long as Israel ceases its military operations in the Gaza Strip. According to the unnamed official, Cairo played an active role in the deal, in an effort to reach a ceasefire which would eventually lead to the removal of the Israeli blockade imposed on the Strip. Der ägyptische Aussenminister äußert sich kritischer: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Tuesday he was hopeful that his country would be able to forge a truce between Israel and Gaza militants, thus bringing recent violence to a complete halt. "The situation is still very difficult and we are hopeful that Egypt would manage in the near future to have a kind of arrangement between the Israelis and Palestinians whereby the firing of missiles will come to an end and the intrusions of the Israeli army will be stopped," Aboul Gheit said. Hingegen nutzt Mahmoud Abbas seine deutlich verbesserte Position im Spiel weidlich aus: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Jordanian reporters in Amman Tuesday that "a top Israeli official is sabotaging the peace talks with Israel over internal matters and due to a personal hostility toward me." Technisch gesehen bringt Abbas die Stille im Gazastreifen noch nichts. In der Westbank toben weitere Verhaftungswellen [19 am Dienstag], "curfews" und keine einzige restriction wurde seither abgeschafft. Es gilt jetzt abzuwarten ob diese Angelegenheit eine Dynamik entwickeln kann. Ich persönlich glaube nicht daran und gebe dem Waffenstillstand keine 10 Tage.
Police officers on Tuesday criticized the results of the initial investigation into last week's terror attack at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, in which eight students were killed, as presented by Jerusalem District Police chief Aharon Franco to senior commanders on Monday. [...] Students from the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem, where an Israeli Arab gunman killed eight students last Thursday, planned a revenge attack against a senior Arab official affiliated with a Jerusalem mosque, Channel 1 television reported Tuesday.
Moshe Feiglin, leader of the Likud's Jewish Leadership faction, was recently notified in a letter from British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that he has been banned from entering the U.K. The letter, written by an unnamed Border and Immigration Agency official on Smith's behalf, said the agency "considered that you are seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the U.K. ... This has brought you within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviors," it was reported in the London Jewish Chronicle last week.
As temperatures rise after the winter, more people in Israel and the Gaza Strip will head for the seaside but they should beware: Gaza is being forced to dump much more raw sewage into the Mediterranean than before, environmentalists told IRIN. [...] The past winter's meager rainfalls and sharp rise in domestic water consumption have brought Israel to the most acute water crisis in the past decade. The country's main water sources are expected to drop below the safe minimum levels by the end of the summer, which threatens the water quality. The Water Authority will have to take conservation measures while drilling for water in an effort to increase the supply. The Water Authority's operating committee is to meet next week to discuss the crisis. [Aus dem Libanon werden ähnliche Probleme gemeldet.]
Amnon Meranda: "German in the Knesset? Some say no way": With a majority of 7 to 2, the Knesset House Committee voted to allow German Chancellor Angela Merkel to make a speech in Knesset next week; some MKs upset at thought of German being spoken in Israeli parliament.
Akiva Eldar, "Did anyone say freeze?": One can safely assume the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which apprises the White House of any new Israeli construction in the West Bank, relayed information about Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision earlier this week to okay a new neighborhood in the settlement of Givat Zeev, adjacent to Jerusalem. The U.S. does not need Peace Now to find out about ongoing building in "legal" settlements such as Neve Daniel and Alon Shvut or new trailers placed in Kochav Hashachar and Itzhar; nor is it unaware of the construction on Palestinian-owned land at illegal ones.
The top U.S. commander for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars said on Tuesday he would quit after a magazine reported he was pushing President George W. Bush to avoid war with Iran. Adm. William "Fox" Fallon, head of the U.S. Central Command headquarters responsible for the Middle East, insisted he did not disagree with the Bush administration over Iran but perceptions of a rift made it difficult for him to do his job. Defense Secretary Robert Gates dismissed suggestions that Fallon's departure made war with Iran more likely.
Tali Fahima, the Israeli woman who was in prison for two years for assisting the head of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin, paid a visit on Tuesday to the east-Jerusalem mourning tent erected for the gunman who killed eight students in Thursday's shooting spree at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva. [More on Fahima here]