An Event and a Regional Trend

Palestinians Resist the Massacre and the Collective Punishment

Massacres in Gaza continue and the Israeli decision imposes a collective punishment on the inhabitants of Gaza Strip that leads to more tragedies and economic and health disasters. The circulated information in Israel said that the siege on Gaza will be tightened and this will coincide with operations for assassinating Palestinian leaders and cadres.
- 1. The question is related on the Israeli level to the usefulness of these operations and it seems that those who bet on the emergence of a Palestinian trend that they describe as real under the pressures of massacres and collective punishment impose their opinions among Israeli leaders.
- 2. A minority of Israelis think that the collective punishment will double radical extremism and reduce the chances of the continuity of the victory of the Palestinian president’s supporters. This minority calls for encouraging an internal dialogue to protect Abbas group and to negotiate later with a unity government.
- 3. The public Arab stands are still the same and it is expected that the call of Hassan Nasrallah for solidarity with the Palestinian people will interact on the popular and political level and create a snow ball that may grow and help in facing the US pressures on Sharm el-Sheikh group which aim at involving it in supporting Olmert’s massacres.
- 4. The emergence of a Saudi stand which is remarkable in its timing saying that Saudi Arabia is ready to recognize Israel.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Arab Initiative and the Dilemma of Internationalization

Dark atmospheres appeared before the Arab league secretary general departure from Beirut, but he may return again later. But no one knows what he will take with him to the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo on January 27. Meanwhile, after delaying the electoral session which was scheduled for today, developments revolved around the following issues:
- 1. There is a sharp escalation on the front of the struggle with Israel after the qualitative event represented in the presence of Hassan Nasrallah in the celebrations of Ashura and his appearance in the big popular demonstration. The speech of Hassan Nasrallah also included messages that raise Israel’s concern like his declaration that resistance has remains of Israeli soldiers. This resulted inside Israel in admitting the truth of what the leader of the resistance said. We can add to this Hasan Nasrullah’s warning against any Israeli aggressions.
- 2. There is an ambiguity concerning the destiny of the Arab initiative which failed due to Musa’s adoption of a certain interpretation for the paragraph of the unity government and the equation of forming the partnership between the loyalists and the opposition. He adopted the interpretation of the loyalists but the opposition refused this. For his part, the house speaker announced from the beginning his interpretation of the Arab decision which calls for the three thirds among the opposition, the loyalists and the president.
- 3. Contradictory Arab information about attempts to hold a minimized Arab summit on Lebanon in the presence of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Amman, and Qatar to activate the Arab initiative and reach understandings which are marketable among the Lebanese sides.
- 4. The emergence of more internationalization indicators despite the US ambassador’s denial of this. What comes from Paris revolves around two possibilities: The return of the French endeavors from the gate of partnership with the Arab League or transferring the file to the Security Council. The retaliation of president Sarkozy against the house speaker’s decision to delay the electoral session is a negative indicator that analysts put in the category of the evidence on hidden French intentions. This runs counter to the atmospheres of the relationship between Berry and the French.
- 5. The stand announced by Hassan Nasrallah which calls for not wasting time and starting a rescue work if the initiatives fail. He also warned those who work for internationalization. This formed a political ceiling that entered the foreign and local calculations.

Arab and International Press

The Syrian daily Tichrin said the tragic condition in the occupied Palestinian lands is expected before the US president tour in the area. This proves that Israel does not want peace.
Yidiot Aharonot said that Hassan Nasrallah does not lie when he says the resistance has remains of Israeli soldiers who were killed in Lebanon’s war. He knows the sensitivity of the Israeli society and expects getting a high price. The political correspondent of Maariv said that they know in Israel that Hassan Nasrallah does not lie when he says he has parts of Israeli soldiers’ bodies.
He added that Nasrullah thinks that Israel reached a deduction that the two captivated soldiers Eldad Regev and Udi Goldsaver are not alive.
The Washington Post said that the CIA’s deduction that a Pakistani tribal man assassinated Benazir Bhutto is wrong and does not answer many questions, pointing out that president Mushrraf gained many benefits from the current anarchy. — Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the call of the UN official for human rights affairs in the Palestinian lands to put the Israeli officials to trial for committing a war crime in Gaza is very important although it is late.
The Emirate paper al-Khalij said in its editorial the Israeli crimes against Gaza continue and the only thing the Arabs can do is calling the international community to interfere and stop Israel’s aggressions.
Al-Watan said in its editorial that the Israeli attacks on Gaza do not aim at weakening resistance only; they also aim at achieving a set of goals related to condition in Gaza and the plans to deal with post-Annapolis stage.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said that president Bashar al-Assad officially launched the celebrations of Damascus; the capital of Arabic culture stressing Damascus has a big meaning for all the Arabs.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said the second step for completing what was achieved will be the most difficult and it seems that the opposition and the loyalists do not trust each other.
Ad-Diyar said Amr Musa failed to abridge the gap in the two sides’ interpretation of the Arab initiative.

Television Stations; News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said Hassan Nasrallah speech on the occasion of Ashura anniversary caused hysteria in the Israeli circles.
The NTV said the stick of Moses broke and Amr Musa leaves without reaching a solution.
The NBN said the electoral session is delayed again and the new date is February 11.
The OTV said Musa left Lebanon leaving behind him a delayed flood.
The LBC said Amr Musa failed another time and the Arab initiative waits for the next foreign ministers’ meeting, while internationalization seems possible.
The Future quoted a ministerial source as saying that the opposition opposes the interpretation of the second item of the Arab initiative while it did not agree yet on the first item concerning electing the president.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

The NTV
Program: The Week in an Hour
Representative Hadi Hbeish said that the opposition refuses the Arab solution and should frankly announce this.
Leader in the National Liberal Trend Simon Abi Ramya said Amr Musa is the side which proposed the guarantees in the four-sided meeting and we gave all our answers to Hisham Yusef.
The journalist George Alam said Saudi Arabia wants to separate the relations between Syria and Iran but these relations are strategic.

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, French, German, and Spanish languages. Also worth a read is Indicators, the daily Near East economic watch newsletter, available in Arabic, English and Spanish.