IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi decided Monday that the commander of the ninth Armor Corps regiment will be dismissed from his position, due to his failure in commanding troops during the terror attack at the fuel terminal in Nahal Oz, in which two Israeli citizens - Lev Charniak and Oleg Lipson - were killed. Ashkenazi's decision was based on a recommendation he received from Southern Command chief Major-General Yoav Galant. He remarked that the regiment commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Yair Baranes, did not finalize the attack in the manner expected of a commander of his rank. [...] Am Abend werden drei Mitglieder des Islamic Jihad vor Jabailia in der Nähe der Grenze zu Israel bei einem Versuch den Erez-crossing zu attackieren getötet. Die Darstellung der IDF die Milizionäre wären auf Infiltrationskurs gewesen zeigt das die IDF einen zero-tolerance-Kurs in Grenznähe [hier 300 Meter] eingeführt hat. Zuvor war bei einem Treffer im Kibbutz Gevim ein 4-jähriger Junge durch ein Schrapnel einer Qassam-Rakete veletzt worden. Das Volumen der Angriffe bleibt einstellig [vier bis fünf], seltsamerweise bleiben aber Maßnahmen der IDF dagegen gänzlich aus. Von Ausspielen der Lufthoheit und strategischer Neuausrichtung kann keine Rede sein. Die Grenzen bleiben dicht: The Kerem Shalom crossing, which was targeted by Hamas in a double car bombing over the weekend, will likely remain closed until after Pessah, which ends on Saturday, senior defense officials said Monday. Treibstofflieferungen bleiben aus und As for the crossing at Nahal Oz, where fuel is transferred to the Strip, last Thursday Palestinians fired at a fuel truck. Security sources told Haaretz last night that Dor Alon, the company operating the terminal, has let the army know that it intends to reevaluate its role in transfering fuel to the Palestinians in light of the dangers to its staff. [Was die großmäuligen Ankündigungen die Lieferungen sämtlich über Ägypten abwickeln zu lassen angeht hört man derzeit nur Stille.] [...] Former US President Jimmy Carter on Monday said that Hamas had agreed to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders if it is accepted by Palestinians in a referendum. But Hamas say national reconciliation is necessary between Hamas and Fatah before the referendum is carried out. Carter said this means Hamas will not undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to negotiate an agreement with Israel and will accept any deal if the Palestinian public endorses it. ... "We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as a proof of recognition." [Deswegen unlogisch: Abbas verhandelt nicht auf eine 67-Grenze hin, sondern eine Wall-Grenze, falls man das was Abbas tut wirklich verhandeln nennen kann. Eigentlich verwaltet er nur den Mißstand und er wird froh sein wenn er nächstes Jahr in Rente gehen kann.] In Washington, deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey brushed aside Hamas's offer, saying the group's past rhetoric contained "all this language about truces and other kinds of issues. But the bottom line is, Hamas still believes in the destruction of the state of Israel; they don't believe Israel has a right to exist," adding it was clear "that nothing has changed" in Hamas's attitude - including that the group still refuses to explicitly recognize Israel and denounce terrorism. Die scharfe Rhetorik ist gegen Carters Einmischung gerichtet, da mit den Verhandlungen mit der Hamas die anstehende show in Washington in ihrer Bedeutung mächtig reduziert wird. Dabei stellt sich die Legitimitationsfrage immer drängender: Both Fatah and Hamas continue to lose support among the Palestinians, and the level of trust in political leaders also dropped. Support for Abbas fell from 18.3% in November to 11.7% this month. The poll also showed that fewer Palestinians are satisfied with Abbas's performance. Support for Haniyeh also went down, from 16.3% in November to 13.3% this month. The same applies to Fatah's imprisoned leader, Marwan Barghouti, whose popularity moved down from 14.3% to 12.8% during the same period. With regards to confidence in the political parties, support for Fatah decreased from 40% in November to 32.5% this month, while Hamas's popularity went down from 19.7% to 17.8%. [...] Ein Brandanschlag auf das Ad-Dira-Hotel in Gaza City, bevorzugte Lokation auch von ausländischen Journalisten sorgt für Sachschaden. Eine Streitschrift des PCHR zum Thema Macht der Hamas in Gaza: PCHR is deeply concerned over the continued ban on visits for its lawyers to their clients in the prisons administered by the dismissed government in Gaza. The Centre views this ban as a violation of International Law and relevant international standards. Specifically, this ban violates the right of detainees to lawyer visits. The Centre is concerned that this ban is motivated by the perpetration of illegal actions such as torture and other forms of cruel and inhumane treatment against prisoners. [...] Egyptian diplomatic sources denied on Monday that foreign minister Ahmad Abu Al-Ghait said that Hamas' participation in a Palestinian national unity government could impede the Palestinian Authority's (PA) political efforts to reach a compromise with Israel. [Immerhin hat die Hamas es nun geschafft das sie in aller Munde ist.]
Für die Westbank dämmert langsam die anberaumte Investitionskonferenz: Palestinian officials hope to raise $1.5 billion from foreign investors at a conference planned next month in the West Bank, the Palestinian foreign minister announced Monday. More than 300 foreign investors, including a Saudi representative and a government minister from the United Arab Emirates, are expected to attend the gathering in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki told reporters. The conference is scheduled from May 21 to 23. [Na, wenn ihm da mal niemand in die Suppe spuckt.] Ansonsten Ruhe: In Qalkilia schießen unbekannte al-Aqsa-Männer auf ein PA-Gebäude. In azzun wird ein Palästinenser bei Rangeleienen mit marodierenden IDF-Milizionären verletzt. Und aus der selben Gegend wird ein Feuerüberfall der al-Aqsa auf ein israelisches Militärfahrzeug berichtet.
Update: A handful of Syrian Jews celebrated the start of the Jewish Passover holiday Sunday with prayers at Damascus' only synagogue, saying they feel free to openly practice their religion just as Muslims and Christians do. Und Ergänzung zum letzten post: Zalman Shoval, The message I received in Washington about two weeks ago was clear and included a trace of displeasure: Why do you have people, and ministers in particular, who continue to amuse themselves with the baseless notion that conditions for peace between Israel and Syria have been created? Indeed, in holiday interviews with the prime minister, as well as the wave of previous news stories, we repeatedly heard about messages being seemingly conveyed and feelers seemingly being sent out between Jerusalem and Damascus. Before we address the matter, we should consider whether Israel should or should not be taking America’s position on this matter into consideration. [Die mal wieder für Wochen abgetauchte Condis Riceauflauf mit Quark hat angedroht sich in das Thema Libanon-Syrien am Rande einer Konferenz in Kuwait einzumischen... Das hat gerade noch gefehlt.] ... Hanin Ghaddar, "Blow by blow": Member of Parliament Michel Murr’s break with the Change and Reform bloc some weeks ago certainly ruffled Christian feathers in the opposition. As for the Shia in the opposition, there seem to be very tangible divisions emerging, too, between Amal Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who recently returned from a regional tour to renew calls for national dialogue, and Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who has recently been altogether more concerned with the Israel-Lebanese border. ... und nett zum Abschluß der aufruf des USA-Generalsekretärs Ki-Moon die Hezbollah zu entwaffnen. Wirklich orginell der Kleine.