An Event and a Regional Event

The seventh visit of the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to the area in an attempt to prepare a suitable climate for Annapolis conference changed, like the previous ones, into public relations and press propaganda about supposed beginnings for understanding between the Palestinian side and the Israeli one. But reality was manifested in what was declared by the Israeli foreign minister Tzibi Levni not in Rice’s enthusiastic speech and president Abbas’s talk about a progress in the negotiations.
Experts and analysts agree that Levni said the truth when she summed up the principle of the Israeli cooperation with the idea of the Palestinian state and all the issues of the final status, which were suspended since Oslo agreement, announcing that the Israeli security is more important than the Palestinian demands, and it is the top priority.
Informed Palestinian sources confirmed that the security theory accompanied all the stages of negotiations on the Palestinian track and the Israelis always impose their conditions to protect the occupation on the Palestinian side. This pushed the late president Yasser Arafat to draw the minimum political line that he rejected to give up. This motivated the Americans and the Israelis to put a plan for getting rid of him and they killed him as a practical result of this plan.
The same sources say that the Palestinian political factions opened the way for the Palestinian presidency and Fateh leadership to review their calculations and move on the track of national understanding on Arafat’s invariables and through dialogue. Delaying the Palestinian national conference was an expression of this deadline, but Abbas’s statements after his meeting with Rice do not indicate that he grasped it despite the delegates he sent to ask for delaying holding the national conference after his statements which called the Arabs to abstain from normalization as a retaliation against the Israeli rejection of Palestinian rights. The sources add that leaderships of the national factions follow up closely the behavior of the authority and its president to identify the nature of the practical steps of the national conference which will coincide with Annapolis conference whatever the possibilities will be.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The press and political circles look forward to the results of the French–American summit which will be held today after the available information indicated that president Sarkozy is ready to settle the Lebanese presidential topic in this summit. The indicators that can be recorded from the presidential scene are the following:
- 1. Representative Ghassan Tueni’s talk form Ain Attineh about delaying the parliamentary session scheduled for November 12 and his confirmation that the loyalists and the opposition will agree on naming a president.
- 2. The confirmation of the French foreign minister Bernard Koucher that he agreed with his Syrian counterpart Waleed Al-Moualem on the six points. He chose another name for the agreement on the six points saying they are axiomatic, while he proposed a Lebanese mechanism for the solution that starts off from a short list issued by Bkerki that the house speaker and Sa’ad al-Harri will discuss to agree on the president,
- 3. The information that came from Paris confirmed that the two French envoys (Claude Guéant and Jean-David Lévitte) discussed with president Bashar al-Assad all the files of the area and the results will be with the French president during his meeting with Bush.
- 4. The talk of the US representative to the UN Khalilzad about electing a Lebanese president with the half plus one supports the logic of confrontation which was announced by Rice in Istanbul, despite the reality that the US side was interested in focusing on her meeting with al-Moualem through David Satterfield statements, but Damascus belittled the importance of this meeting.
- 5. Leaks from the sources of the Future Trend about al-Sanyurah’s government’s rejection of assuming the presidential authorities and insisting on electing the president and giving priority to agreement through resuming consultations between Berri and al-Hariri without closing the door of electing the president with the half plus one quorum.

Arab and International Press

David Ignatius said in an article published in the Washington Post that he thinks that Annapolis conference will fail due to the deterioration of the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s popularity which resulted from his failure in July aggression on Lebanon last year.
The Times said in an article that the real reason behind the US diplomats’ abstaining form working in Iraq is their fear from physical harm and isolation in addition to their feeling that the US mission there is futile.
Boston Globe warned in its editorial from the dangers of massing 100 thousand Turkish soldiers on the borders with Iraq and threats to attack the mountain hideouts of the Kurdistan Workers Party (the PKK) pointing out that the invasion will not solve the problem but it will inflame the national feelings of the Kurds.
The New York Times quoted in its editorial the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice as saying that the absence of legal accountability allows the mercenaries to kill Iraqis without the fearing the results.
The Israeli paper Ha’aretz quoted the Israeli president Shimon Perez as saying that the Saudi king Abadallah finances and helps terrorism and that the oil of Saudi Arabia and Iran finances international terror.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

The ANB
Evening News
Head of the political office of Hamas Khaleed Mechal said that Annapolis conference is an old US game to deepen the Palestinian division and cover a coming war in the area.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said that Hezbollah confirmed carrying out the military maneuvers saying they are huge and important and took place after the Israeli maneuver in which 50 thousand soldiers participated.
As-Safir said Damascus rejects discussing the names of Lebanese presidential candidates and that French foreign minister admitted dispute with Washington.
An-Nahar said the elections are delayed for the third time.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the beginning of the week did not witness anything new on the level of the local communications concerning the presidential file.
The NTV said the level of the internal communications does not ascend to the level of the imminent danger.
The NBN said that the presidential topic tops the agenda of successive conferences and forums.
The OTV said the calendar is known: the Saudi king will be in Rome on Tuesday, then in Sharm el-Sheikh, the French president will be in Washington and Bkerki’s statement will be declared tomorrow, while the Arab delegate will arrive in Beirut soon.
The LBC said the scene is ambiguous between the Hezbollah’a military maneuvers and the presidential merit’s maneuvers.
The Future said the Arab league envoy will visit Beirut tomorrow to prepare for the visit of the Arab League secretary general to Lebanon.

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