An Event and Regional Trend

Palestinian presidency’s sources have announced that the Israeli-Palestinian talks did not deal with details related to the final status on the Palestinian track.
Saeb Erekat repeated yesterday the same phrase, stressing that any discussion of the final status of the Palestinian state is not included in the agenda of Abbas-Olmert meetings, while the Israeli press stressed that Olmert has informed Abbas about the list of Israeli security demands related to developing cooperation with the presidency’s organs and Salam Fayad’s government to chase the Palestinian resistance factions’ activists, who work in the West Bank, and also in the measures of the economic, humanitarian and financial siege against Gaza Strip.
Some analysts focused on Israeli comments and studies, which say that it is necessary to lower the ceiling of expectations concerning the international peace conference that Bush called for, and also regarding the practical results of cooperation with Abu Mazen’s team in the Palestinian authority. Experts in Israeli affairs confirm an Israeli frank use of the result of the US pressures on what is called as the camp of moderation in testing a new chapter of confrontation with the Palestinian resistance, and confirm also the anticipation that Israel may invade Gaza and the West Bank areas, and all what happens is a mere political and security preparation for this action, because any Palestinian side will not be able to jump over the ceiling which was drawn by the late president Yaser Arafat, and because discussions on the negotiations of the Palestinian track since Oslo agreement are still revolving on generalities, and far from the details that Arafat former adviser Basam Abu Sharif said in a talk to the NBN that Shimon Perez informed him of Israel’s rejection of accepting the establishing of a Palestinian state in accordance with them, and that the Palestinians who want an agreement with Israel should accept an administrative authority with limited authorities and without a political aspect or sovereignty.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The term division has entered, on a grand scale, the press and political discussion in Lebanon on the rhythm of the political struggle that accompanies the presidential merit, while the loyalists’ sources believe that recalling this topic is artificial and takes place within the framework of political campaigns that the opposition launches. Meanwhile the statements attributed to Patriarch Sfeir, which warn from confusion and division that may result from electing the president with a quorum that runs counter to the constitution, attracted attention in Lebanon.
Opposing leaderships stress that a division project is the serious option of the Lebanese Forces and the Progressive Party if they fail in putting their hands on the central authority in the country through seizing the presidency and the army’s leadership. The opposition sources say that the national military institution is the main material obstacle in the face of the division project that the US diplomats marketed when they talked recently, and publicly about changing Lebanon into a federation that consists of 12 cantons, and said that president Bush met some Lebanese leaderships, who expressed their readiness to adopt the federation as a constitutional and political system in Lebanon.
The opposition leaderships said that head of the National Liberal Trend General Michel Aoun’s speech about this topic took place after receiving trusted information, revealed by representative Talal Arslan, about the representative Walid Jumblatt, concerning the impossibility of reconciliation and the necessity of division, and about what leader of al- Kuwat who talked in a private meeting about a new federal map for Lebanon.
Analysts consider Nahr al-Bared camp’s battles as the station which aimed at dragging the army to division under the pressure of exhaustion and sectarian consequences that the foreign alliance and its internal forces planned for, and facilitated the movement of Fatah al-Islam fighters and supported them.
The key which became the title for the danger of confusion and division is the loyalists’ insistence on holding a parliamentary meeting without the quorum of the two thirds and naming a person from March 14 alliance as a president, while the opposition is preparing for confronting this step.

Arab and International Press

Evan Island wrote an article in Anti-War website in which he said that most of the Americans do not see that the actions of the current government are responsible for the escalation of foreign threats, pointing out that the government should be asked to stop its excessive military interventions.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the speech of the French president Nicolas Sarkozy on his foreign policy, and especially on the Middle East, is remarkable due to the tone of conditional openness to certain capitals.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that the US ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad said problems in the Middle East may lead to a world war, pointing out that his warning is real.
The Saudi paper Al-Watan said the meetings between Abbas and Olmert do not deserve following up, and the two leaders are chained.
Fahmi Hwedi said in an article published in Al-Sharq al-Awsat paper while the Islamic trends ascend in Turkey, and a similar ascension will happen in the Maghrib, Egypt prepares for a comprehensive confrontation with the Muslim Brothers movement, which is the most important Islamic trend in our modern age.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat paper said that the Muslim Brothers group in Egypt will start a campaign to market the idea of forming a political party through distributing the program of this party on some experts and politicians before announcing it to the general public.
The paper pointed out that this campaign aims at getting the support of the public opinion.

Lebanese Press

The Lebanese press focused on the statements of the Patriarch Sfeir, who said that the adoption of the half plus one quorum in the presidential elections will destroy Lebanon.
As-Safir said the mediations to the solve the problem of the presidential elections have failed while Nahr al-Bared battles continue,
The press also focused on the contests on Human Rights Watch’s intention to hold a press conference in Lebanon to defend the Israelis, who were killed in the July aggression in 2006.
Al-Akhbar said that the US insists on holding the presidential elections on time.

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

A Press Conference
Iranian president Mahmud Ajmadinajad said there is no retreat from the Iranian nuclear achievement.

Television Stations News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the conspiracy has reached to an extent that a US organization with Zionist elements will hold a press conference in Beirut to condemn the resistance retaliation on the Israeli aggression.
The NTV wondered if Al-Sadr speech on Friday will save Lebanon from its crisis.
The NBN said Siniora government continues the violation of the constitution on a daily basis.
The OTV said internal and foreign confusion concerning the presidential merit continues.
The Future said Arab League secretary general Amer Moussa said the threats against the Saudi ambassador to Beirut and the Emirate ambassador raise a deep concern.
The LBC said patriarch Sfeir announced that the adoption of the half plus one quorum will divide Lebanon.

Lebanese Television Stations’ Interviews

Program: With all the Courage
Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Hassan Derar said the Egyptian role did not stop on the Arab level, pointing out that the center of decision in the area is the Gulf states.
The journalist Jihad Az-Zin said the main challenge which will face Egypt in the coming stage is the fundamentalist forces and the Muslim brothers.

Tendencies is a daily political watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on in Arabic, English and French languages. Also worth a read is Indicators, the daily Near East economic watch newsletter, available in Arabic and English.