An Event and a Regional Trend

The Crossings Poses the Problems of the Palestinian Dialogue

The issue of the crossings to Gaza became a priority for Israel in the field of the relation between Tel Aviv and Cairo. It seems clear that Olmert’s government exercises direct pressures and asks the US administration to escalate its pressures to force Egypt to tighten the control over the crossings between the Egyptian lands and Gaza. It is clear that these American-Israeli condensed pressures cast their shadows on the Egyptian –Palestinian talks on the crossing.
The idea of giving Egypt control over Gaza was strongly proposed in Israel after the Palestinians’ breaking of the wall between Gaza and Egypt. A number of analysts and politicians expressed aggressive stands towards Cairo’s acceptance of the Palestinian step and its behavior on the basis of limiting the damage through the gradual returning of the barriers and clinging to the European monitoring over the crossing and expressing remarkable care about observing the Israeli stand.
Informed Palestinian sources said the topic of the crossing in Rafah posed again the problem of the Palestinian – Palestinian relations strongly. Abbas-Fayad government insists on being the responsible side for crossing. This means the issue directly depends on dialogue between Ismael Hanniyeh’s government and the Palestinian presidency in accordance with what was announced by Hamas in its initiative at Damascus conference through the statements of its political office.
These Palestinian sources say that the return to before 6-15 which was proposed by Abu Mazen should cover the authority’s institutions and the field reality in Gaza, so Fayyad government should be dissolved and the unity government that Abbas ousted should be activated. This should coincide with rearranging the field reality in Gaza and restoring the headquarters that Abbas demand.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Will the Investigation Surpass the field Ceiling to Political Responsibility

Political and press circles focused on the preliminary results of the military and judiciary investigation into Mar Mkhael’s event which formed a starting point for other predictions on the final scope of the investigation:
- 1. The opposition considered what happened until now a preliminary positive step which should be completed. The arrested officers are responsible in the field for ordering the army’s force in the massacre spot according to the judiciary report. Therefore, identifying the higher military responsibility either on the level of issuing the orders or ignoring them or connivance form the natural goal for a transparent institutional investigation while the press poses repeated questions on the political responsibility of the Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora and the interior minister Hasan al-Saba and the defense minister Elias al-Murr.
- 2. The opposition succeeded in Mar Mkhael’s mass that the national liberal trend called for through clarifying the fact that understanding among the opposition’s sides forms the basis of the national unity and the attempt of some of the loyalists’ followers, especially the Lebanese Forces, to ignite a conflict between Ain Al-Rummaneh and al-Shayyah failed. Al-Maten coast appeared in the mass integrated in all its activities, organizations and political personalities.
- 3. The loyalists attack on Hezbullah continues in the light of the internal condition while Winograd’s report’s consequences formed a starting point to activate the climate of the political, press and cultural prestige of Hezbullah and his secretary general on the Lebanese and Arab levels. Opponents think that the statements of the loyalists’ leaders reflect a real fear from the fact that the report proved the truth of what secretary general of Hezbullah previous stands.
- 4. The return of the Arab league secretary general to Beirut will be delayed for some days according to the press, while the leaks say that the February 11 session for electing the president will be delayed.

Arab and International Press

Al-Bayan said in its editorial that in the aftermath of the bloody confrontation in Beirut’s southern suburb the condition in Lebanon moves quickly to the circle of danger.
The Syrian paper Tichrin said that there are Arab-Arab disputes on a number of issues and the citizens know this.
The Emirate paper al-Khalij said that the US prefers to spend money on armament which leads only to destruction.
The Washington Post said that Winograd’s report revealed that the war on Lebanon was a big lost opportunity for Israel.
The Saudi paper al-Watan said that many sides fear the repetition of the Somali scenario in Chad.
The French paper Le Figaro said France will establish the first naval base in the Arab Gulf in Abu Dhabi, which will be opposite to the Iranian coasts.
The Spanish paper El Pais said that Zapatero’s government decided to pay compensations for the families of the ten soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said Syria condemns the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: Open Dialogue
Former Lebanese minister Suleiman Franjiyeh said the opposition wants to put to trial the person who is responsible for Mar Mkhael’s massacre whatever his position is.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said Israel violated Lebanon’s stability in the south and killed a Lebanese citizen and wounded two others. The occupation forces also arrested a third citizen and moved him to the occupied Palestinian lands.
As-Safir said the return of the Arab league secretary general to Lebanon represents a return for the Arab initiative.
Al-Akhbar said the return of Amer Musa to Beirut will not affect the current political stagnation, pointing out that the results of the investigation into the massacre of Mar Mkhael will be publicly announced.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said that indicting the military officials who are involved in Mar Mkhael massacre does not mean indicting the institution.
The NTV said the results of the investigations relieved the opposition.
The NBN said that Mar Mkhael mass confirmed that there is no return to the days of war.
The OTV said the Lebanese sides are resting. It is like the warriors’ rest.
The LBC said the quick military investigation absorbed the popular interactions of Mar Mkhael’s events.
The Future quoted the director of the Arab league secretary general’s office as saying that Amr Musa’s visit to Beirut depends on the results of his consultations with the Lebanese sides.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: People’s Talk
Representative of the UN secretary general in Lebanon Ger Pederson said that the issue of the presidency should be tackled among all the Lebanese sides, and that the UN supports the Arab initiative.

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.