An Event and a Regional Trend

It is clear that the Israeli stand does not allow achieving progress on the Palestinian track at Annapolis conference, while the Israeli analysts say the conference is planned to be a festival that the US administration will use politically while Olmert’s government will have a chance to take photos with Arab officials.
But the dangerous thing in the ground is the Israeli bloody escalation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip under the cover of Annapolis as many Arab analysts described the condition. Palestinian communications and discussions started to find ways to confront the conference and its results after announcing the content of an Israeli-Palestinian document that the Palestinians fear it may give up the refugees’ right to return in a response to the Israeli pressures, which concentrate on translating the idea of the two states in accordance with Bush’s promise, which includes recognizing Israel as a state for Jews. If the Palestinian side accepts this condition this means accepting omitting the refugees’ right to return and transferring the 1948 Arabs. This will also give the green light to Jewish extremists to start ethnic cleansing under the title of the state’s religious purity.
It is certain that a new stage in the Palestinian struggle will emerge and it will be fiercer through the Palestinian authority’s involvement in chasing the resistance men in cooperation with Israel. Israel has failed to do this since Oslo agreement due to the rejection of the late leader Yasser Araat, who was assassinated by the Israeli intelligence due to his rejection of the US-Israeli dictations as the Palestinians believe.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The decision made by al-Siniora government to participate in Annapolis conference has raised contest on the Lebanese arena, because this happened in the shadow of a presidential vacuum and expressed an attempt to put hands on the president’s authorities. The opposition considered this decision as a response to the US instructions within the context of normalization with Israel thorough Annapolis conference in order to keep Olmert’s government afloat. But the loyalists said that the government is constitutionally responsible for administering the public affairs, while some speakers called for commitment to the regulations of the Lebanese stand, which rejects normalization and adopts the concept of comprehensive peace.
Meanwhile, the consultations that General Aoun called for appeared as an introduction to launching a popular movement through demonstrations and sit-ins and pressurizing the ministers to submit their resignations. Some analysts did not rule out the opposition’s resort to civil disobedience that starts off from considering the existent government as illegal.
Some informed political sources said that al-Siniora seriously studies the possibility of appointing ministers instead of the resigned ones to complete the quorum of his government on the sectarian level. The opposition said such steps will escalate campaigns against the ruling team and will be considered as a US message which calls for engineering a prolonged presidential vacuum.
In this tense atmosphere, there are no signs that Friday electoral session will be held, while the opposition announced clinging to the nomination of General Aoun and held the loyalists and the US responsible for the vacuum and what may result from it on the level of threatening national sovereignty and stability.

Arab and International Press

Baron London said in an article published in some Israeli papers that the US president George Bush hinted that the Syrians came to Annapolis, because bombing the installation in north Syria pushed them to recognize their weakness.
He pointed out that this does not prevent war as the experience dictates.
The Emirate paper Al-Khalij said in its editorial that when Bush stresses his personal commitment to establishing a Palestinian state that coexists with Israel, the question which should be posed is why he did not do this before.
The paper added that Arab states will attend the conference because they can not say no to the White House which wants to improve its image.
The Syrian paper Tichrin said Syria has no illusions concerning Annapolis conference, but wishes success for it on the level of achieving a real peace.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that intransigence is the characteristic of the Israeli stand and Israel uses the language of dictations in all the peace talks.
The Saudi paper (Al-Watan said in its editorial that a cautious pessimism dominates the corridors of Annapolis conference and the real test will be Israel’s seriousness, the neutrality of the mediators and the scope of their influence on the Jewish state in order to achieve a breakthrough.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said there is a Maronite alertness on all the axes and General Aoun’s consultations attracted the attention of political sources, while efforts continue to end the organized prolonged vacuum.
As-Safir quoted al-Siniora as saying that his participation in Annapolis takes place within the framewok of Arab movement and that the Lebanese issue does not need bilateral negotiations.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the two sides who will benefit from Annapolis conference are George Bush, who is drowned in Iraq’s quagmire, and Ehud Olmert, who was defeated in Lebanon’s second war.
The NTV said the army’s leader stressed that the security measures aim at securing the constitutional merit.
The NBN said the vacuum entered its third day and al-Siniora has decided to go to Annapolis without a national consensus.
The OTV said efforts continue to end the vacuum and the opposition preserved its integration.
The LBC said the country moved from the constitutional deadline to the deadline which is open to all the possibilities.
The Future said some link the presidential merit with Annapolis’s results, while the tripartite committee moved to confront General Aoun’s considering of himself as the political [patriarch of the Maronites

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: Between Two Brackets
Minister Jean Ogasbian said the government is still the productive institution and the presidential merit should be achieved as quickly as possible.
The resigned minister Mohamed Fnish said the government is illegal and conciliation can not be achieved without general Aoun.

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.