An Event and a Regional Trend

Israel violated the Truce and Resistance Confronts the Massacres

Israel resumed the air bombing and the organized assassinations while it tightened the measures of collective punishment on Gaza and its one and a half million inhabitants. This pushed the resistance factions to bombard the colonies.
On the other hand, the Israeli discussion continues on the available options to deal with the situation. Some analysts noticed that the current condition witnesses a real escalation in the battles and confrontations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip while Abbas’s government seems more confused.
- 1. The Egyptian endeavors stopped after the current Israeli escalation, which ended what is called as the undeclared truce. Palestinian leading sources considered this as a maneuver because the attempt to achieve ceasefire in Gaza and organize the assassinations and chasings in the West Bank is unacceptable. The sources stressed the content of the stand of the leaders of the Palestinian resistance, which stressed reaching understandings that cover the West Bank and Gaza together through the equation of stopping suicide operations inside Palestine in return for stopping all the Israeli aggressions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- 2. The Yemeni initiative for dialogue between Fateh and Hamas started and the capital Sana witnesses the movement of delegations from the two Palestinian sides in order to return to a common formula for joint Palestinian work.
- 3. Jordanian press confirmed that the operations for training the Palestinian security force is stumbling due to the US abstain from paying the agreed on budget to rehabilitate a special force that belongs to the president’s guards and includes 700 fighters in Jordan. The press added that the Israeli interventions obstructed financing this operation.
- 4. Anticipating the interactions of the tour of the US vice-president Dick Cheney who will focus his talks on the Palestinian topic as expected. Some expect that Cheney prepare for a new wave of massacres and pressure on Arab states to prevent reaching a unified Arab stand at Damascus summit that opposes Bush’s vision concerning the Palestinian file.
- 5. Islamic Jihad announced developing a missile whose range is 22 kilometers. This means threatening colonies in the Israeli depth.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Between the Boycott and Waiting for the Saudi Stand

The political and press scene witnessed a set of developments that revolved around the topic of participation in the Arab summit, which will be held in Damascus in addition to some communications and foreign stands related to the Lebanese condition:
- 1. Walid Junblat and Sameer Gagea called for boycotting the summit, contrary to Gemayel, who stressed the necessity of attending it. Al-Siniora said: he will make the decision in the cabinet meeting while the press sources said that the government will decide not to attend due to the stands of Junblat and Gagea, and because the decision requires the two thirds of the ministery, which is the real number of al-Siniora’s team.
- 2. Press information confirmed that Al-Siniora and al-Hariri are waiting for the Saudi decision concerning the participation and the level of representation. The Arab league secretary general said al-Siniora’s government received the invitation to Damascus’s summit as it received the invitation to the Islamic summit in Dakar.
- 3. Terry Roed Larsen’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his meeting with the Saudi king coincided with press information on Larsen’s movement to hold an international meeting in Paris within the framework of a campaign of pressures against Syria that Javier Solana called fore escalating it. The press information added that Dick Cheney’s tour in the area serves also this trend.
- 4. Press sources close to the opposition said the opposition discusses taking steps to activate its presence in the Lebanese reality and to confront the coming stage in the shadow of the continuity of discussions on March 14 alliance’s document.
- 5. The opposition said the stand of the loyalists serves the American project.
- 6. The press focused on the national liberal trend’s festival on the occasion of March 14 anniversary and general Oun’s strong speech.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said in its editorial that the Israelis continue seizing Palestinian lands to build colonies on them.
The Syrian paper Tichrin said the US administration, which failed in all the political fields and wars, is in a race with time thinking it can achieve in 9 months what it failed to achieve in seven years and three months.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial the Iraqi government’s declaration to hold a national reconciliation conference was a pleasant surprise.
The Israeli press published warnings from the retaliation of Hezbollah against the assassination of Emad Mughniyeh in the 40th ceremony marking the death of Mughniyeh and Barak held security consultations in this respect.
The Saudi paper al-Watan said the failure of Israel in Gaza dictates accelerating Moscow’s meeting.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian Satellite Station said president Basahr al-Assad issued the law no. 3 concerning companies and all their kinds.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhabar said the March 14 forces do not want Al-Siniora to attend he Arab summit in Damascus pointing out that Terry Roed Larsen works to exert pressure on Syria before the summit and after it.
As-Safir said the Arab stands concerning Damascus’s summit are ambiguous while the US calls for boycotting it, pointing out that higher representative of the EU’s foreign policy Javier Solana adopted an extremist stand against Syria.
Ad-Diyar said Lebanon’s participation in the Arab summit in Damascus is still the central point of internal debate.
An-Nahar said next week will be the last chance for the Arab efforts that aim at solving the Lebanese crisis.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said when the moment of compromise approached, partnership in the government was considered a betrayal and when a new opportunity came, participation in Damascus summit became a stupidity and betrayal for the loyalists.
The NTV said Head of the Arab parliament arrived in Beirut to discuss the crisis.
The NBN said two weeks before the Arab summit an important Syrian stand appeared when the Syria foreign minister Walid Al-Moallem announced that the one that Lebanon chooses for participation in the summit will be welcomed by Damascus.
The OTV said the loyalists made their decision and announced that al-Siniora will not participate in Damascus’s summit.
The LBC said Damascus threw the ball in the Lebanese playground and the majority team pressurizes the government and the Arab states to boycott the summit.
The Future quoted the prime minister al-Siniora as saying that there is enough time to discuss the topic of the Arab summit.

Television stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

The Future
Head of the Democratic Meeting Walid Junblat said our stand is rejecting the participation in the summit and the Syrian regime paid a bill to Israel by assassinating Emad Mughniyeh.

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.