Die kindische Logik mancher Politiker ist schon erstaunlich: Israel has asked Egypt to incorporate a deal to free abducted soldier Gilad Shalit into Hamas truce talks being mediated by Cairo. The cease-fire talks will resume next week, Haaretz has learned. A Hamas official said that the group does not oppose including Shalit in the truce deal but would agree to such a move on its own terms, Israel Radio reported on Friday. Eigentlich wollte man ja den Gazastreifen nun zurückerobern. Nach Angaben von Ayma Taha, Hamas-Sprecher wird die Delegation erst in einer Woche nach Ägypten reisen. Über die Verlegung des Treffens, bei dem Äußerungen der Israelis an Ägyptens Geheimdienstchef Suleiman von Anfang dieser Woche disutiert werden sollen [man beachte die 12 Tage die dazwischen liegen] gibt es keine Angaben, was so viel bedeutet das Suleiman der Delegation vermittelt hat man bräuchte nicht erscheinen. Auffälliger Fehler des anzustrengenden Separat-Waffenstillstands für Mubarak ist die Tatsache das seine ursprüngliche Absicht eine Reconciliation zwischen Fatah und Hamas zu erwirken fehl geschlagen ist. Die im Link angegebene Variante "Egypt's intelligence chief, General Omar Suleiman, will meet a delegation of Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip on Sunday" halte ich für eine Falschmeldung. Nach morgendlichen Angriffen aus dem Gazastreifen beschießen israelische Kampflugzeuge bewaffnete Hamas-Einheiten. Keine Opferberichte. Hernach bricht Ruhe aus. Vor der Rosary Sister School, einer katholischen Einrichtung in Gaza City wird ein Brandanschlag verübt. [...] The recent visit by Egyptian intelligence chief Gen Omar Sulaiman to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories was supposed to help advance a ceasefire deal between the Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip, headed by Hamas, and the Jewish state. However, the likelihood of this is low, many analysts here say, with the most probable best case scenario being a reduction in the intensity of the conflict, lessening the chances of civilians on both sides of the Gaza-Israeli border getting hurt or killed.
In der Westbank ist verhältnismäßig sehr ruhig, mit Ausnahme der üblichen freitäglichen Freundschaftstreffen: Dozens of settlers from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar rioted in the village of Asira al-Kabaliya, Palestinian sources reported Friday. According to the report, several Palestinians were beaten up by settlers, who also caused extensive property damage in the village. However, according to the settlers, Palestinians from a nearby village provoked the latest clash after setting a wheat field owned by Yitzhar residents on fire. The settlers said that teams who arrived on the scene to put out the fire were stoned by Palestinians, and claimed that this was the third time in the past two weeks that villagers set fields on fire.
Die Erfolge des Bush-Besuchs und seiner Initiative zur Verbesserung der Verhandlungsgeschindigkeit von "core issues" im Austausch von Israelis und Palästinensern sind erheblich: Israel ruled out all debate on letting Palestinian refugees return in any peace deal, as U.S. President George W. Bush ended a visit on Friday that left Arabs dismayed by his outspoken support for Israel's "chosen people". As Bush flew out after three days of celebrations of Israel's 60th anniversary, an Israeli government spokesman said Palestinian insistence on the right of return for 4.5 million refugees and their descendants was "the ultimate deal breaker". Six months into negotiations sponsored by Bush in the hope of a deal before he leaves the White House, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman used some of the toughest Israeli language yet to insist that President Mahmoud Abbas abandon 60-year-old refugee claims if he wants to establish a Palestinian state. "This demand, which does not exist under international law, for right of return, is the ultimate deal breaker. You cannot have peace and this demand at the same time," Mark Regev said. [Kommentar von Naomi Bubis] Vor lauter Angst vor der Rückkehr der Flüchtlinge behandelt man die eigene muslimische Gemeinde wie folgt: Israel’s Arab minority has a lower life expectancy than that of Jewish citizens; the Arab community suffers from higher infant mortality rates; and in relative terms the number of elderly Arabs without teeth is very high. A new report says these are some of the signs of discrimination within the health care system. [Bush also told them that just as the US changed its treatment of minorities, he hoped that Israeli society could also change the way it treats its minorities.]
Shimon Peres hingegen hat wohl ein wenig zu viel hasbara geraucht: "Don't forget," continued Peres, "he is now going to Saudi Arabia, an Arab country. He knows exactly to whom his words are directed," adding, "he sent a strong and unequivocal message of peace.": President George W. Bush and King Abdullah formalized new cooperation on Friday between the kingdom and the United States on a range of topics, including the development of civilian nuclear energy in Saudi Arabia and US protection of Saudi oil fields. Immerhin entfällt bei den Saudis das Raketentesten, da die vorhandenen und bestellten Waffensysteme atomwaffentauglich sind.
Frieden breitet sich auch anderweitig aus: The United States and Israel agree on the need for "tangible action" to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman said after a visit by U.S. President George W. Bush. "We are on the same page. We both see the threat ... And we both understand that tangible action is required to prevent the Iranians from moving forward on a nuclear weapon," Olmert spokesman Mark Regev said on Friday. Regev described diplomatic efforts so far to exert pressure on Iran as "positive", but added: "It is clearly not sufficient and it's clear that additional steps will have to be taken". Asked about the option of using military force, Regev said: "Leaders of many countries have talked about many options being on the table and, of course, Israel agrees with that." Bush ratcheted up his rhetoric toward Tehran in a speech to Israel's Knesset on Thursday, saying critics' calls for talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were comparable to the "appeasement" of Adolf Hitler before World War Two. [...] Democrat Barack Obama accused President George W. Bush on Friday of "fear-mongering" for suggesting Democrats wanted to appease terrorists and vowed to meet leaders of hostile nations like Iran if elected. Obama, relishing a long-distance debate with Bush on foreign policy, said the president had contributed to Tehran's rise in the Middle East by launching the Iraq war, which he said had removed Baghdad as a counterweight to Iran. [...] McCain, meanwhile, is guilty of hypocrisy. I am a supporter of Hillary Clinton and believe that she was right to say, about McCain's statement on Hamas, "I don't think that anybody should take that seriously." Unfortunately, the Republicans know that some people will. That's why they say such things. But given his own position on Hamas, McCain is the last politician who should be attacking Obama. Two years ago, just after Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections, I interviewed McCain for the British network Sky News's "World News Tonight" program. Here is the crucial part of our exchange: I asked: "Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?" McCain answered: "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."
David Ignatius, "The squeeze on the Middle East's moderates" [...] Qatar's emir formally opened talks on Friday between rival Lebanese leaders which aim to resolve a protracted political conflict that has pushed their country to the brink of a new civil war. [...] Was wurde eigentlich aus der Jemenitischen Initiative Hamas-Fatah? [...] After 48 hours of talks, the delegation of nine Arab foreign ministers and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa on Thursday revealed a six-point plan to end the sectarian strife that left almost 70 dead and 200 injured across Lebanon in one week. [...] Ghassan Charbel, "Questions for the opposition"