The security establishment is expected to impose a full closure on the West Bank and Gaza on Tuesday ahead of the Purim festivities, this after the Shin Bet security service received seven warnings regarding possible attempts by terror organizations to carry out attacks over the holiday. [...] Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed halted peace talks on Monday, but the meeting was overshadowed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's announcement that Israel would not cease disputed construction in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Ahmed Qureia, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said he downgraded the meeting to unofficial as a protest against the Israeli construction plans. Olmert will nicht mehr verhandeln: "We don't intend to weasel out or avoid our commitments. However, the first commitment, which is a prerequisite for moving forward, is an end to terror. You can't compare [terror] to any of the other issues in the road map," he said. Und er will völkerrechtlich "bedenkliche" Annexionen ausbauen: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that Israel would keep expanding a neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, defying international criticism and triggering a spat with the Palestinians ahead of a new round of peace talks. The premier was speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. [Beim Israel-Besuch von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel zum 60. Jahrestag der Gründung des Staates kamen in Jerusalem erstmals Regierungsmitglieder beider Staaten zu gemeinsamen Beratungen zusammen.] [...] Jordan's largest political party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), lashed out Monday at Merkel's remarks on solidarity with Israel, warning she was creating "enmity" with the Arab and Islamic worlds.
Die Sicherheitslage: In Ramle wird eine 80-jährige Frau von zwei maskierten Tätern überfallen und zusammen geschlagen. [Wohl ex-IDF-looter, denen langweilig war.] Etwas sehr überraschend gelingt der Hamas es die Qassam-Aktivitäten des Islamic Jihad auf drei Abschüsse in zwei Tagen herunter zu schrauben. Da liegt was in der Luft. Die IDF verletzt mit Schüssen aus einem Schnellboot an der Gazaküste zwei Zivilisten. Aus der Westbank werden nur vier Verhaftungen gemeldet. ["Merkel-Ruhe"] In Huwwara, Westbank wollen drei palästinensische Milizen einen israelischen Soldaten bei einem Feuergefecht verletzt haben. Keine Bestätigung der anderen Seite.
Israel has cleared the way for its citizens to sue the Palestinian Authority over suicide bomb attacks, ruling that the Palestinian government does not represent a state that could avoid such suits. The Foreign Ministry made its ruling Sunday, allowing 55 suits pressing for damages to proceed. Since 2000, 541 people have been killed in 131 suicide bombings. [rechtlich einwandfrei, aber ... die Gegenseite hat natürlich diese Möglichkeit nicht.] [...] Uri Elitzur: "Should we see Jewish vendetta for yeshiva attack, it will be sign of State’s erosion" [...] A senior police officer on Monday criticized the police's response to clashes with right wing activists in the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber on Sunday, saying that police forces were not properly prepared for the confrontation. [...] On Monday during a tour of Mea Shearim, a haredi neighborhood bordering on Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, US Ambassador to Israel Richard H. Jones told The Jerusalem Post that the US was "concerned about where things are built in Jerusalem." [Ziehmlich scheinheilig, die kohle für die Projekte kommt aus dem "fast so heiligen Land".] [...] Yehuda Litani, "Fanatics taking over - Moderates leaving Jerusalem, while politicians fool public with tired clichés"
Israel's covert security agency, the Shin Bet, has deployed a sophisticated new weapon: the blog. On a new Web site launched Sunday, four Shin Bet employees blog about their life and work at the agency, which runs informants and agents, carries out surveillance and interrogations and serves as a key component of Israel's battle against Palestinian militants. Judging from the blogs, it's pretty boring. The workers at the highly secretive organization seem preoccupied with subjects like their salaries and whether they can get home by 6 o'clock to be with their kids. Patriotism and adventure are barely mentioned. [Can be found under www.versager.blogspot.com]
As US shares continue to fall and the American economy reverberates with fears that a subprime-mortgage-driven recession has begun, affluent Gulf states are seizing the opportunity to increase their control of financial companies and other branches of the US economy. That development is leaving some analysts concerned over the prospect of Arab financial prowess manifesting itself in a political agenda, with negative consequences for Israel. "There is concern that the purchase of strategic assets provides the owners with the ability to intervene politically," Prof. Gerald Steinberg, chairman of the Political Science Department at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
Link of the day: Landis + "Israeli Journalist" discuss: "What is Behind Israeli Offers of Peace Negotiations?" [an Syrien, versteht sich.]