An event and a Regional Trend

Gaza’s events have jumped to the forefront of the Arab scene while the interactions of the Israeli collective punishment and the continuous massacre against Palestinians led to distinguished press and political factors:
- 1. The Israeli authorities’ measures to reduce the sanctions aimed at limiting the embarrassment of the Arab forces, which are allied to the US and which participated in forming Bush’s Palestinian agenda and the joints of his tour. Egyptian president Mubarak and Palestinian president Abbas interfered to convince Israel to allow the entrance of fuel, but Olmert said these measures are partial and will not end the siege.
- 2. The angry popular reactions in the West Bank imposed a climate of closeness between Fateh and all the other factions which adopted a political and press discourse that stressed national unity and resistance. This besieged the group which was involved with the Americans in field preparations for chasing the resistance activists in the West Bank.
- 3. The emergence of the features of popular movements in Jordan, Egypt and some Gulf states while the Palestinian national conference which will be held in Damascus is expected to be an important station to put a popular agenda for Arab solidarity with Palestinians.
- 4. The emergence of an Arab stand against the collective punishment that the Israeli occupation imposes on Gaza and the beginning of a movement within the framework of the Islamic conference organization launched by Iran and the Russian and Chinese support of this movement.
- 5. The Arab official stand is distributed in two trends: One led by Syria and calls for comprehensive Arab measures that translate solidarity with the Palestinian people into a clear political choice against Bush and the Israeli massacre through working to urge the Palestinians to restore their unity and cling to resistance. The other trend limits the stand to a press statement that may result from the Arab league and its movement at the Security Council.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

While Lebanon is waiting for holding the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers and the report of the secretary general Amr Musa on his mission in Beirut, press and political attention is focused on the following:
- 1. The big turmoil inside Israel in the aftermath of the speech delivered by leader of the resistance Hassan Nasrallah and the Israeli frank admission of the correctness of his information in addition to the Israeli army’s military movements in Shiba Farms and the violations which were confronted by the Lebanese army.
- 2. The appearance of stands and comments on the speech of Hassan Nasrallah by local sides which were known before for their relations with Israel. Amine Gemayel and Samir Geagea and other loyal speakers attacked the speech of Hasan Nasrullah and especially the paragraph which said the resistance has remains of the bodies of Israeli soldiers who participated in the aggression on Lebanon. This caused popular condemnation in all the parts of Lebanon.
- 3. Angry protests against the electricity crisis and the strike that the general workers union called for. The loyalist said that the opposition stands behind this phenomenon which is described by the opponents as spontaneous. The press reports said the opposition cooperated in dealing with the situation and the angry youths do not belong to a specific party.
Thus, a number of elements suggest that the street will move against the existent reality and the bad economic conditions.

Arab and Foreign press

Robert Malley said in an article published in al-Qabas that Gaza Strip may become the first spark in the next Arab-Israeli war due to the continuity of the Israeli siege and military operations.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said President Bush gave Israel the green light to attack Gaza.
The Qatari paper Al-Rayah said it is certain that the decision made by Qatar and other Arab states to send urgent aids to Gaza is a brave decision.
The Emirate paper al-Khalij said in its editorial children of Palestine cries for help are a protest against the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial the Israeli siege on Gaza will lead to a humanitarian and environmental disasters.
Nahoum Brenya’ said in an article published in al-Qabas that Hassan Nasrallah is on the Israeli assassination list since a long time and his successor Abbas al-Musawi is a more qualified speaker and more extreme and evil than Nasrullah.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Syrian Satellite Station
Program: The Circle of the Event
Member of Fatah Shura council Mohamed Hourani said the Israeli aggression on Gaza aims at exhausting the Palestinian people.
Assistant secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Talal Naji said President Bush’s visit gave Israel the green light to attack Gaza.
Member of the Palestinian Legislature Jamal Nassar said that 3700 from 4000 factories are closed in Gaza.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said it seems that Lebanon entered a dangerous stage because the escalating statements were very sharp and indicate that Lebanon moves towards division.
As-Safir quoted a high ranking French diplomatic source as saying that Paris gave up the idea of internationalizing the presidential file rejecting the idea of the UN intervention to oblige Lebanese institutions to elect a president or keep Fouad al-Siniora government in office.
An-Nahar said the protests against the electricity crisis may lead to dangerous developments.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the suffering of Gaza continues amid an international silence.
The NTV said the Lebanese state did not think one day to defend the cause of the Lebanese captives in the Israeli prisons.
The NBN said the house speaker will continue his efforts to activate dialogue among Lebanese sides.
The OTV said the presidential vacuum changed into a heavy vacuum open to unpredictable possibilities.
The LBC said the condition in Gaza may lead to humanitarian dangers.
The Future said the Lebanese wasted the chance of the Arab initiative to solve their crisis.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: The Event
Member of the change and reform bloc Abbas Hashem said the majority team obstructed Amr Musa’s mission pointing out that Musa’s offers to general Aoun were very seductive but Aoun does not search for a private interest.

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