Bei zwei separaten, kleineren Bodenoffensiven im Gazastreifen in vorgelagerten Örtchen vor Jabalia und Khan Younis werden zwei Hamas-Milizionäre und zwei Zivilisten, darunter nach palästinensischen Angaben ein 14-jähriger durch Granaten und Raketen getötet. Über 15 Personen werden teiwlweise schwer verletzt. [...] Unterdessen wird im israelischen Fernsehen von einem 4-Stufenplan berichtet, den die Ägypter diese Woche den Israelis zum ablehnen vorgelegt hätten: Stage one proposes both Hamas and Israeli halt hostilities against each other in the Gaza Strip. + In stage two, the rest of Palestinian military groups will stop launching homemade projectiles against Israeli targets, and in exchange, Israel forces will stop hostilities against these groups in the Gaza Strip. + In stage three, Israel will provide the Gaza Strip with basic needs through the border crossings after negotiations over captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit are resumed. + Stage four will be the completion of the prisoners swap, in exchange for the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. [...] Nach meiner Bauchschätzung dürften schon 25% der Gesamtbevölkerung so gehandelt haben, jetzt aber der erste medial aufgearbeitete Fall: Some 40 families from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Gaza Strip, have decided to leave the area. "We decided to leave the kibbutz until things quiet down, and unfortunately, it will be with white flags," Dudi Doron, a member of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, said Tuesday. "Neither I nor my children will be Israel's hostages. We will come back when there is a solution to life," Doron said. ... Vilnai: "I recommend that our enemies not interpret restraint as a lack of confidence. There is no solution to a Qassam barrage, but we are determined to provide quiet to the residents of Sderot and the Gaza border area, whether through gestures or through military action." [...] Ayman Taha, a spokesman for Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, said Wednesday that Egyptian mediator Omar Sulieman has invited Hamas officials to hear Israel's response to a proposed Egyptian truce deal. ... Egypt will reopen the Rafah crossing to Palestinians even if Cairo's initiative to mediate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas fails, according to assessments by Israeli defense officials. The Israel Defense Forces, meanwhile, is taking steps to be able to limit mass marches to the fence separating Gaza and Israel. Although Egypt denies it, evidence is mounting that Cairo and Hamas recently reached an understanding to open the crossing regardless of the outcome of the negotiations. + Nach Angaben des Hamas-geführten Landwirtschaftsministeriums belaufen sich die durch israelische Militäraktionen angehäuften Schäden auf 2,5 Millionen US$. [Die Schäden für die israelische Wirtschaft auf der Gegenseite sind bei weitem höher.] [...] Trying to make economics support the political process, Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, announced on 13 May a series of moves agreed upon by the Israelis and Palestinians which would allow for an improvement in the quality of life in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. ... However, Blair did announce progress on Gaza's sewage projects, which will allow certain stages of work to go ahead now that clearance has been granted for the import of basic materials, as well as goods needed by the water utilities agency in Gaza, CMWU, which provides drinking water and sanitation services. [...] Editorial, "Educating Hamas": Israel is interested in a cease-fire with Hamas and there is no point in pretending that this is not so. The disengagement from the Gaza Strip was also an attempt to achieve calm on this front, and the partial restraint in response to the firing of rockets, which are already reaching Ashkelon, can also be considered an attempt to achieve quiet. Israel is interested in quiet even more than Hamas, because Iran (which is supporting Hamas) increases its involvement in the region the more the ground is burning. A peace agreement with Hamas is not in the cards, so all that can be wished for is a cease-fire that lasts, however long it lasts. We will always be able to return to the current situation.
Mittlerweile ist Friedensesel Bush im Heiligen Land gelandet. Die Haaretz eröffnet ihre eigens zur Plumpsklo-Konferenz geschaffene Webseite. [Nachdem Condis Riceauflauf mit Quark die letzten deartigen Anlässe zu verschiedenen outings nutzte dürfen wir gespannt sein was ihr dieses Mal einfällt. Vielleicht "Als kleines Mädchen hatte ich schon den Wunsch jüdisch zu werden."?] Jeremy Ben-Ami, "Five Myths on Who's Really 'Pro-Israel'". [...] In an attempt to provide Israeli youth with an alternative way to view their compulsory military service, the activist group New Profile has sponsored an advertisement featured on Israeli websites calling on young people to "think before they enlist". Dieser Lotan Raz ist wahrlich ein auffälliger Kerl. [...] Wie man sich am allerbesten blamiert zeigen uns israelische Sicherheitsleute die einen diplomatischen Affront gegen die aktuelle EU-Präsidentschaft zelebrieren.
In der Westbank eskaliert die Situation an einem Checkpoint vor Qalandia. Die angaben sind jedoch derzeit noch nicht ausreichend um das Ausmaß zu beschreiben. Zwischen "mehreren Dutzend" [rechtsabnorme Presse] und "über 200" [Radio] hätten angeblich gegen den Bush-Besuch demonstriert. Die Rechten behaupten die Protestierer hätten die armen Unschuldsengelsoldaten und Polizisten durch Steine werfen gezwungen Tränengas in die Menge zu schießen. Tbc. Im Verlauf verschiedener Marodierungen werden in der Westbank 12 Palästinenser verhaftet. [...] Israel and the Palestinians have been discussing an almost complete transfer of security responsibility to the Palestinian Authority security forces in order to turn the area into a "model region" - where Israeli presence is almost non-existent. Sources in the Defense Ministry on Tuesday confirmed that talks on the new security arrangements were underway with American mediation and that of Quartet representative Tony Blair. ... To strengthen the PA, Israel has agreed to the construction of a new prison in Jenin to replace the one Israel destroyed in the second intifada. Israel also approved four new police stations for the area. The PA will also open a new court in Jenin. Israel has also agreed to remove roadblocks in the northern West Bank to ease the movement of Palestinian vehicles into Jenin and to Nablus and the Jordan Valley, in keeping with security considerations.
Uzi Benziman, "Tzipi the knife": In a well-orchestrated manner, the prime minister's supporters in Kadima immediately held a rally; at public events, his fans sit up front and shower him with hugs and kisses; the cabinet ministers from his party meet for a pep talk and then appear before the cameras and microphones to express their faith in the prime minister, repeating the message his advisers seem to have dictated: Nothing has happened that obliges the prime minister to resign or step aside; the investigation should be allowed to take its course. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's response was unusual: She is keeping her distance from Olmert and has not joined her colleagues. Livni, it seems, has her own opinion on Olmert's circumstances, and she is showing it in her behavior. [...] Sixty years after its establishment, the State of Israel is facing threats unlike any before, incoming Israel Air Force Chief Major General Ido Nehushtan on Tuesday said during his inauguration ceremony at Ramat David Air Force base in the Jezreel Valley. [...] Evidence uncovered in the new criminal investigation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should implicate him in a second bribery case as well, the Israel Police's former chief investigator, Cmdr. (ret.) Moshe Mizrahi, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday evening.
A high-level Arab League delegation began a mediation mission in Beirut on Wednesday to try to pull Lebanon back from the brink of civil war. [...] The army’s pledge to use force if necessary to impose law and order puts the only fully functioning national institution into the centre of Lebanon’s violent crisis. But although strained, analysts say the military remains united. “There is no civil authority in the country now, so the army is under tremendous pressure,” said Timor Goksell, a security expert and former spokesman of UN peacekeeping forces who coordinate with the military in south Lebanon. [...] Hizbullah's television station rushed to warn its viewers about the close ties between Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Israel, following a flawed interpretation of an article written by Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Nahum Barnea. [...] Ein 24 Jahre alter regierungskritischer Blogger ist in Syrien nach Angaben einer Menschenrechts organisation zu drei Jahren Haft verurteilt worden. Die Verurteilung Tarek Bayassis wegen Beschmutzung des nationalen Ansehens sei empörend und völlig inakzeptabel, erklärte die Nationale Organisation für Menschenrechte in Syrien am Mittwoch. Bayassi solle sofort wieder freigelassen werden. Der 24-Jährige war im vergangenen Mai festgenommen worden, nachdem er Internetseiten der Opposition besucht und verschiedene regierungskritische Blogeinträge verfasst hatte. Ein Gericht in Damaskus hat die Strafe am Dienstag von ursprünglich verhängten sechs Jahren auf drei Jahre begrenzt, wie die Organisation erklärte.