An Event and a Regional Trend

A series of political signs on the resumption of the Arab, regional and Palestinian endeavors to activate dialogue between Palestinian factions and the Palestinian authority appeared recently. A number of sources said this movement takes place in the aftermath of the failure of Annapolis conference and the uselessness of betting on any serious US work that forces Israel to respond to some Palestinian humble demands. The siege arrangements and the division of the West Bank increased after Olmert’s return from Washington while the Israeli pressures on the authority team ace;erated to force it to commit to a security cooperation to strangle Gaza and cover the Israeli war on the resistance activists and their families in the West Bank and its villages and camps. It became clear in the shadow of the Israeli daily aggressions that the Palestinian authority which pinned hopes on Annapolis is in a critical stage before the Palestinian people.
Palestinian leading sources said the return to Mecca agreement and to the unity government seems today more available in the shadow of the resistance groups’ awareness of the danger of the continuity of political division and the bankruptcy of the authority’s bet on achieving progress at Annapolis. The leading sources anticipated the resumption of internal dialogue in the near future. This means a new condition and a new quality if the national unity is achieved and joint work is activated among the various Palestinian trends.

An event and a Lebanese Trend

The new date set by the house speaker Nabih Berry to hold the session for electing the president will be preceded by new rounds of communications and consultations which will focus on two axes according to the press:
The first axis is related to the political basket which lays the foundation of the required national conciliation to complete the understanding on electing Michel Suleiman for presidency. The main obstacle which should be overcome is related to the position of the prime minister after settling all the other points as a number of sides stressed despite the denial of Saad al-Hariri, which was confirmed by Samir Geagea. The communications on this axis take place on the internal and external levels. Some press sides suggested that there are disputes inside the opposition on the accepted ceiling for compromise while a prominent leader in the opposition stressed that these suggestions reflect the loyalists’ desire to export their crisis since the beginning of divisions among the loyalists but the opposition is still united behind its presidential candidate general Aoun who is authorized to reach the compromise. The house speaker Nabih Berry was also genuine in directing the understanding negotiations and represented the unity and integrity of the opposition during each round of negotiations. This helped him to return the mediators and delegates to the reference of general Aoun which is authorized to give the final decision on what the opposition accepts or refuses. General Aoun was also careful about each detail and the coming days will reveal this fact despite the psychological war.
The second axis is related to the constitutional mechanism for modification. The discussion that took place yesterday at the Parliament revealed the continuity of the complex of the stand towards al-Siniora government and its previous decisions. It is also anticipated that the house speaker and a workshop of lawyers will lead the efforts to find a compromise that respects the opposition’s principles and allow reaching a final formula for the project of constitutional modification which will not be settled in a session until achieving the required political understanding. Press sources talked about the return of the Saudi ambassador who is authorized to facilitate the approval through responding to the requirement of the compromise from the opposition’s perspective and its political candidate Aoun and the next step is demanded from al-Hariri in accordance with the statements of the French foreign minister Kouchner.

Arab and International Press

John Witbeck said in an article that immediately after Annapolis conference hope came from an unexpected source. The Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert said to the Israeli paper Ha’aretz that if the two-state solution collapses and we face a struggle on the South African style the Israeli state will end.
The Associated press said Iran suddenly decided not to participate in al-Manamah meeting on the Gulf security.
The American journalist Seymour Hersch said in a talk to al-Jazeera that an American source told him that inviting Syria to Annapolis was part of a plan that aims at isolating Iran and activating negotiations between Syria and Israel on the Golan.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that delaying the 7th session for electing the Lebanese president reveals the size of complications and foreign interventions in this country.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that Annapolis conference failed and revealed that some Arabs and Palestinians believe the enemies.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Dubai Satellite Television Channel
Program: A Pencil
Editor-in-chief of the Lebanese paper Ad-Diyar said that delaying Tuesday session is an invitation for electing the president in Lebanon and it is impossible to elect him on Tuesday session without an invitation to modify the constitution.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said the signs reveal that the next parliamentary session will be crucial and the seriousness will appear when the parliament starts to modify the constitution.
As-Safir said the regional and international climate pressurizes to accelerate the arrival of the approved general to the presidential palace before Christmas and the New Year’s Day.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner left Beirut without a achieving essential results.
The NTV said the parliamentary session was delayed and a new date was set and the discussions went too far.
The NBN said the possibilities of overcoming the obstacle that hinders the presidential elections seem probable.
The OTV said that after delaying the 7th parliamentary session the French foreign minister concluded his 7th visit to Lebanon and what is clear is that the loyalists reject understanding on the stage which will follow the presidential elections.
The LBC said that that ten representatives: 5 from the opposition and 5 from the loyalists will submit the proposal for modifying the constitution.
The Future wondered if delaying the parliamentary session will lead to any hopes.

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.