An Event and a Regional Trend

The decision made by the Zionist Knesset on considering Israel a state for the Jews terminated the Zionist ceiling for negotiations with the Palestinian side chaired by Mahmud Abbas. It became clear in the eve of Annapolis conference that Israel rejects to discuss the issue of Jerusalem, the right to return and the destiny of the settlement blocs and the Palestinian side should submit to the condition that the occupation imposes as a status quo.
This will change the West Bank into isolated cantons submitted to the Israeli domination.
A leading Palestinian source said that this is the statelet that the Americans are bargaining to trade it with head of the Palestinian authority in return of the political cover and the security participation in the campaign to destroy the resistance factions and their activists in the West Bank.
The leading source highlighted the conciliation endeavors of the Islamic Jihad in cooperation with the popular and democratic fronts for the liberation of Palestine to face a very dangerous stage which is characterized by a rising Israeli campaign to confiscate Palestinian lands and carry out assassination operations and collective punishments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The press information in Beirut about the list of the Patriarch are still contradictory while anticipations talk about 3 candidates or 12 candidates amid assurances that the real consultations about the names started and everything will become clear in the light of the expected resumption of the meetings between the house speaker Nabih Berry and representative Saad Hariri.
The main aspects of the Lebanese press and political scene are the following:
- 1. The continuity of al-Hariri attacks against Hezbollah and Michel Aoun which ignited a fierce retaliation from the two teams who produced the approved understanding among the Lebanese active sides.
- 2. Representative Walid Jumblatt hinted at a change in his stand through his phone call with the house speaker Berry and announcing his support to the endeavors that aim at reaching conciliation. Some opponents described this stand as a political maneuver that aims at affecting the conciliation negotiations to choose candidates who are close to the loyalists.
- 3. Minister Suleiman Frangie announced that the opposition is unified in its stand concerning choosing Michel Aoun as a candidate and that the president should protect resistance, oppose marginalizing Christians and open channels of communications with Syria.
- 4. The Lebanese circles anticipate the results of the US assistant secretary of state David Welch’s visit to Beirut today to know if the US wants the success of the French endeavor or confrontation.
- 5. The Lebanese militias were put in a state of alertness while Arab officers, trainers and experts participate in these militias.
- 6. The opposition sides discuss a plan to face the vacuum if the understanding fails.

Arab and International Press

The Latin American novelist Carlos Fuentes published an article in the Spanish paper El Pais saying that the UN was not established to take us to paradise but to save us from hell, but the US interventions in the UN allowed the White House to behave in the name of humanity considering the US as the only example of human progress. This sacrificed the international community’s interests and this was clear in the process of voting on the war on Iraq.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that Arab sates do not deal seriously with Annapolis conference which is very dangerous and serves the Israeli and American goals.
Ezz Addin al-Darwish said in an article published in the Syrian paper Tichrin that Israel will go to Annapolis conference without an agenda and without even promising Palestinians with anything.
Some Arab papers said Saudi Arabia formed a force that consists of 35 thousand soldiers to protect the energy installations from possible attacks by extremist militants.
Al-Bayan said Israel works to empty Annapolis conference of its contents in order to prevent achieving any real progress in the peace process pointing out that Israel wants to extract more concessions through this conference.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said representative Walid Jumblatt made a phone call with the house speaker Berry and told him that national unity is above all the considerations pointing out that the list of the patriarch created a trace of optimism among the Lebanese sides.
The paper also talked about the limited clash that erupted in Burj al-Barajneh between two Palestinian organizations.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered about the reasons of representative Saad Hariri’s attack on the alliance between Hezbollah and the Liberal National Trend, pointing out that he wants he implementation of the resolution 1559 which is required by America.
The NBN said the ball is now in the house speaker’s playground after receiving the list of candidates from the patriarch Sfeir.
The LBC wondered about the stand of March 14 alliance from the list of candidates, while the Future quoted al-Hariri as saying that the sides may achieve a breakthrough on the level of conciliation.
The OTV said the international sides announced their support for the French initiative and this was stressed by the foreign delegations’ visits to Lebanon.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Al-Manar
Program: The Hour’s talk
Former minister Suleiman Franjiyeh said the president should be trusted by all the Lebanese sides and should not be an enemy to Syria, pointing out that if loyalists resort to the half plus one quorum, the opposition has all the options and will prevent changing the country’s laws.

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.