An Event and a Regional Trend

Gaza Confronts Aggression and Siege

Arab press focused on the Palestinian event in the shadow of the meetings and communications which prepare for the visit of the US president to Israel and the for Sharm esh-Sheik’s meeting which he will chair on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Israel:
- 1.The issue of Gaza’s siege interacts while Hamas started a popular set-in and stressed in a statement its determination to take steps to break the Israeli siege. The Egyptian authorities retaliated against this by warning Hamas from any new breaking of the Egyptian barriers on the borders.
- 2.The Israeli discussion continues on the benefit of thinking of invading Gaza after Bush’s visit. The Israeli analysts belittled the importance of the declaration of principles that Abbas and Olmert will sign.
- 3.The Israeli occupation forces assassinated in the last 24 hours leaders and activists in the resistance and the Israeli storming operations continued and _ battles erupted in al-Shujaiah square. Military analysts said Ehud Barak approved a new plan for exhausting resistance despite the Palestinian president’ assurances concerning calming down.
- 4.The Arab press attacked the Israeli foreign minister Tzibi Levni’s call to the Arabs at the Doha conference to cooperate with Israel against Syria and Iran. The Gulf press said her presence in Doha angered the Arab public opinion.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The House Speaker continues his efforts Despite the US and Local Obstructions

The available reports on the Lebanese condition reveal that the current political crisis will continue and there is no decision to activate the a serious opportunity for the compromise. The statements of the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice enhanced this impression. The impression was alos enhanced by the Arab-Arab relations’ condition, which will not witness in the near future any solution of the disputes especially after Saudi Arabia linked the Lebanese condition to the campaign of pressures on Syria to urge it to interfere in Lebanon and limit the Arab initiative to the item of electing the president. Some analysts think that the meeting of Iraq’s neighboring states in Damascus represents a sign that requires studying its final statement that hails the Syrian role:
- 1. The house speaker Nabih Berri returned from Qatar but no new data appeared concerning the success of his call for dialogue. He will continue his tour which will cover Saudi Arabia. Some press sources said the house speaker will not stop his endeavors despite the obstructions.
- 2. The discussion of the Security Council on the statement concerning the resolution 1701 revealed serious difficulties that hinder the French draft which was modified after noisy discussions among the representatives of China, Libya, South Africa and the US and French representatives. This cleaned the text from the Israeli allegations against Syria and Hezbollah. The loyal Lebanese press expressed bitterness concerning this issue.
- 3. President Bashar al-Assad stressed Syria’s readiness to offer all kinds of support to Lebanon.
- 4. The debate raised by the collective graveyard did not stop despite stopping the excavations yesterday. Press sources said that the government’s behavior reflects clear suspicion and that the leader of the Lebanese forces tries to defend his forces against the accusations although these forces controlled the area for years.
- 5. The issue of the four officers interacted while the government’s statements and declarations did not succeed in justifying the continuity of their arrest. On the other hand the Lebanese followed up the interaction of the disappearance of Zuher al-Siddiq especially after the French paper Le Figaro said that France tried to get rid of him and that he admitted to the French intelligence that he fabricated his information about the assassination of al-Hariri in return for money paid by Lebanese sides.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said in its editorial said that Tzibi Levni provoked the Arab at the Doha symposium through her lecture that tried to clean Israel’s racist sheet.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said the US bias to Israel allows us to say that the US is greater Israel.
Al-Bayan said the visit of the former US president Jimmy Carter to the area and his determination to meet Palestinian officials and leaders raised a big noise that does not suit the visit’s weight.
Al-Riyadh wondered if creating security complications on the borders with Egypt serves Hamas’s interests.
A Russian weapons factory announced yesterday that a Syrian technical delegation visited the factory to see the air defense systems that Russia agreed to sell to Syria.

Satellite Stations Interviews

The Syrian satellite station said that 75 persons were killed and more than 150 others were wounded today in Baghdad.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said Lebanon and its file were put on the shelf of the US presidential elections.
Ad-Diyar said the house speaker Nabih Berri told the Lebanese community in Qatar that president Bashar al-Assad did not set any condition for the Lebanese-Lebanese understanding.
An-Nahar said the house speaker returned without completing his tour by visiting Saudi Arabia but diplomatic sources said Berri will visit Riyadh in the near future but this delay reveals that there is a Saudi-Egyptian understanding that stresses the priority of electing general Suleiman as a president.
Al-Akhbar said the witnesses of the collective cemetery changed into suspects because they uttered false testimonies.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the Berri concluded his visit to Qatar and returned to Beirut to wait for a date for visiting Riyadh to complete his mission that aims at activating the Arab initiative.
The NTV said the issue of the collective cemetery is surrounded with secrets.
The NBN said despite al-Siniora’s attempts to obstruct the Arab initiative, the house speaker continues his efforts to activate dialogue.
The OTV said that the regime suddenly opened its eyes to the issue of the collective cemeteries which are possibly remnants of the civil war.
The LBC said May will witness the US president Bush’s visit to Israel and a summit that joins Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian authority in addition to the conference of Iraq’s neighboring states in Kuwait.
The Future said president Bashar al-Assad said during his meeting with former premier Saleem al-Hoss that Syria is ready to offer all the possible help to Lebanon.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: With all the Courage
Head of the national bloc Carlos Eddah said the individual constituency is the solution and the opposition is ready to study it.
The lawyer Yusef Saadah from Al-Marada trend said the former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri supported the 1960 law.
Mohamed Obeied, former general director of the ministry of information said a new law should be considered after the withdrawal of the Syrian army and the Israeli army.
D. Mohamed Mahmasani said we should not return to an old law.

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.