An Event and a Regional Trend

The political division in Ehud Olmert’s government reflects a political debate on the level of the Israeli public opinion between those who call for a compromise on the Palestinian track, and who are a minority, and those who call for the priority of security work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and abstain from entering any compromise in the near future. Olmert’s supporters, who limit negotiations to Mahmud Abbas’s group through announcing a declaration of principles that does not include any commitments, bring to mind the benefit of avoiding time commitments. Oslo provided that the Palestinian state’s declaration should be in 1999, and later the roadmap said it should be in 2005, but now we are in 2007 and Israel has succeeded in enhancing the protection of the settlement blocs and its measures to tear off the West Bank and besiege Gaza.
Supporters of this option link the benefit of participation in the Autumn Conference with the number of the Arab states which will recognize Israel in return for nothing on the Palestinian track, and they especially look forward to the Saudi recognition. But those who call for a compromise, agree with all the military analysts and commentators in the Israeli press, who stress the impossibility of betting on Abbas’s team in getting rid of the resistance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Therefore, they consider the negotiations with Hamas more useful. It is to be noted that those who talked about Israel’s military dilemma and the danger of missile deterrence of Al-Nagab colonies, which recorded a new development in its preciseness in hitting the targets, call for a compromise with Abbas and invading Gaza.
Experts in Israeli affairs believe that all the Israeli sides are governed by the complex of defeat in Lebanon, and concentrate on the necessity of permanent understanding with the US in formulating the political steps amid serious discussions about the military options against Syria, Lebanon, and the West Bank. Meanwhile, scandals and divisions change into a suffocating collar around the neck of Olmert and Kadima party, and if the Likud joins the government, it may not succeed in breaking it.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The optimism touch that the house speaker tried to attribute to the phone call that Saad Hariri made with him to Geneva was not enough to dissipate the anxiety and fears resulted from the escalating statements of the loyal representatives in the shadow of the representative Walid Jumblatt’s expected visit to the US in mid-October, while many circles believe that the session, scheduled for October 23, will be delayed under the title of giving a new chance for the conciliation.
The question which should be posed is: will the loyalists name a president with the half plus one quorum if the US decides to obstruct the compromise? Or, will the US keep the current status quo in Lebanon to wait for developments in the area, leaving al-Siniora in office so that the opposition and president Lahoud decide the constitutional formula and the opposite policy? Some circles said that the US administration has generalized messages like these in Beirut that called for accepting the formula of leaving Al-Siniora and Lahoud in office until the US clock in the area decides the solution.
The Lebanese public opinion and economic activities are anxious, because the destiny of the country seems linked to a series of US interventions, while the European and Saudi movements do not work to prevent Washington from pushing its allies to confrontations through insisting on naming a president form the loyal alliance, which should be committed to enmity to Hezbollah and putting Lebanon in the US axis and its extensions in the area.

Arab and International Press

Agence France Presse said that the sharpness of tension in Iranian–French relations has escalated after Tehran’s description of France as unreal and accusing Paris of conspiring with the dictator Saddam Hussein.
Persia press Agency said that Iranian students demonstrated yesterday at a university in Tehran and uttered statements against president Ahmadinejad.
Reuters said that the United Arab Emirates froze 17 bank accounts suspected of financing terror and transferred them to a UN specialized committee.
Arab and International Press Agencies focused on the Palestinian and Israeli preparations for the coming peace conference and their attempts to formulate a joint document to be submitted to the conference, pointing out that Olmert declared that peace with Palestinians is very far.
Arab and International Press Agencies said the Turkish foreign minister Ali Babajan concludes today his tour in the Middle East, stressing that the Turkish government will continue its activities in the shadow of Erdogan’s government.
Fahmi Hwedi said in an article published in the Emirate paper Al-Khaleej that Egypt’s national security is vulnerable in a fearful way and that the government should pay attention to this dangerous issue.
Israeli sources said that the final report of Winograd’s commission will be announced before the end of the year.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the security companies dominate Iraq as if security has changed into business, but these companies work without regulations.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said Bkerki restores the presidential file after advises from the Vatican, pointing out that the UNIFIL forces’ leader said that he seriously deals with threats against his forces.
An-Nahar said Bkerki launches an initiative to prove the Christian presence and prevent marginalization, referring to the meeting between the Christians of the loyal forces and the opposition.
Al-Akhbar cited the group 13 story about the details of Al-Hariri’s assassination.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar focused on the phone call between Saad Hariri and the house speaker saying that Berri belittled the importance of the resolution 1559 and calmed down the Lebanese.
The NTV: the Lebanese scene witnesses relief after Bkerki’s call for the Maronite meeting.
The NBN said that despite the rumors and the negatives atmospheres, the Lebanese return to their pure Lebanese identity in difficult times.
The OTV said the representative Walid Jumblatt plays an escalating role in Lebanon.
The LBC said the first meeting in Bkerki will be for the leaders of the national liberal trend, the Lebanese forces, al-Marada, the Phalangists party and other sides in Kurnet Shahwan meeting, but later it was proposed to hold a meeting for the representatives of the leaders. This was followed by proposing a meeting in two stages.
The Future said Bkerki called Maronite personalities and parties for a meeting to agree on a president.

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.