An Event and a Regional Trend

The circulated information in the Israeli press said that the first draft which resulted from The Olmert-Abbas Meeting included a series of concessions that the Palestinian team accepted, so the negotiations process will be divided into two stages in accordance with the declaration of principles, which will precede what can be described as the final condition negotiations. In these two stages the Israeli sides will work on designing a new map for the West Bank and Jerusalem, which will be based on laying the foundation of the segregation wall and confiscating Palestinian lands and annexing them to the big Israeli colonies, while in Jerusalem the Palestinians will be asked to announce the capital of the torn entity, whose parts are linked through crossings controlled by the Israeli army and which will also be controlled by the Israeli intelligence in the western neighborhood.
What Olmert offers Abbas in these topics will not see light in the Autumn Conference. This is the result of a long track of repeated declarations of principles and negotiation meetings, without any obliging timetable after the Israelis refused this idea in principle. The circulated press information in Israel said that the issue of giving up the right of return was settled as a result of the meetings between Abbas and Olmert.
The late president Yasser Arafat had already refused these offers, which raise the anger of the Palestinian people. Therefore, Bush’s conference will only approve this result which will politically benefit Olmert inside Israel in return for extracting new Arab recognitions of Israel and complete relations on the political and economic levels.
Some Israeli analysts said that due to these considerations, the third Palestinian intifada is on the road and that Olmert’s and Bush’s dreams will evaporate despite Ehud Barak’s threats against Gaza and the resistance activists.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Political and press circles focused today on the speech delivered by Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah on the occasion of Jerusalem’s international Day, which covered all the issues and included important stands towards the various local and regional issues in the light of the contests that the Lebanese arena witnesses. Nasrallah held the US responsible for the crisis through working to disarm resistance. He said that the US conditions for choosing a president aim at creating an explosive condition in Lebanon. Hence, Nasrallah stressed openness to the house speaker endeavors and supporting his initiative, which was accepted by the opposition that gave up some of its conditions in order to facilitate conciliation. But he said that the loyalists are still clinging to the half plus one quorum to choose a president from their ranks in accordance with the US dictations.
Nasrallah called the loyal sides to reconsider their calculations, stressing the opposition’s capabilities and strength, pointing out that the determination to facilitate reconciliation is not a sign of weakness but it aims at achieving stability in Lebanon.
Hassan Nasrallah said: the new president should be independent and committed to national unity and should refuse submission to US dictations. His reference to the habit of changing colors and stands among Lebanese politicians was considered as a hint at representatives among the loyalists, who changed their stands in the last years, and this was apparent in their stands towards resistance in the four-sided alliance and the ministerial statement.
Nasrallah added that talking about programs and promises is a waste of time and selecting the conciliatory president should depend on the person’s history, and credibility.

Arab and International Press

David Ignatius talked, in an article published in the Washington Post, about what he called as the light division of Iraq, comparing it with what was said during the Vietnam war:" It was necessary to destroy the city after saving it".
Ignatius pointed out that Senator Joseph Biden does not want to divide Iraq but to enhance the federation in it.
Hugh Nieler published an article, in the New York Times, which said that the Iranian companies have started to move quickly to Syria to benefit from Damascus’s tendency to privatize many of its companies, pointing out that the Syrian officials are liberalizing the economy to avoid a comprehensive economic collapse.
The Washington Post said that the Iraqi government asked for buying military equipment from China with 100 million dollars, because the US can not meet Baghdad’s needs.
Former assistant of the UN secretary general Ramish Shakur said, in an article published in Boston Globe, that the meeting between Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and head of Columbia university has pleased the US audience but harmed the image of the US worldwide.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that Jerusalem sums up the essence of the Arab-Israeli conflict since the setback of 1948, pointing out that Israel works on the judaizing Jerusalem to obliterate its Arab identity.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej published a report on the October war saying the Israelis are still interested in this war, which happened 30 years ago, because the Syrian and Egyptian armies were able to surprise Israel and destroy the myth of the invincible Israeli army.
The Israeli paper Ha’aertz said what saved Israel during the October War was the air bridge with the US, whose hero was the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, pointing out that Portugal also saved Israel through allowing the US air bridge to land for fuel. It added that Spain has also helped in this respect.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said the Secretary General of Hezbollah proposed conciliation, but the prime minister set a pre-condition of first ending the opposition’s set-in.
As-Safir quoted Nasrallah as accusing Israel of standing behind the assassinations in Lebanon.
Al-Akhbar said that the Christians refuse Sa’ad al-Hariri’s nomination of Robert Ghanem for presidency.
Ad-Diyar quoted Hassan Nasrallah as saying that Israel is behind the assassination of March 14 symbols.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

The NBN said the political front is quiet, while the LBC said nothing in the horizon shows that the coming parliamentary session will solve the crisis.
The Future said Prime Minister Siniora has concluded a quick visit to Qatar while al-Hariri continues his visit to the US.
Al-Manar wondered if the assessments of the French and Saudi efforts to find a solution were excessive.
The NTV said the US steam that infiltrated into the Lebanese brains in Washington may result in selecting a president for a battle.
The OTV (which is close to the National Liberal Trend) said that the location of the National Liberal Trend’s arrested members is still unknown.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech delivered on the occasion of Jerusalem’s international Day that Israel is a racial entity, which is responsible for the conspiracies and schisms that aim at dividing the area through cooperation with the US president George Bush, pointing out that he does not rule out a US-Israeli plan to launch a war.
He added that the Arabs are talking about peace while Israel is beating the drums of war.
As for Lebanon, the secretary general said we want a president that does not submit to ambassadors and embassies.

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.