An Event and a Regional Trend

Carter’s Tour Succeeds while Bush’s Tour Stumbles

Regional and international circles focused on the Palestinian topic in the light of the US former president Carter’s visit to the area and the continuity of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza and the West Bank whose failure raised heated debates inside Israel:
- 1. Former president Carter’s visit to Syria and his meeting with president Bashar al-Assad was an occasion to explain the Syrian stand and to enhance Carter’s conviction that Syria is an important power in the area that no one can cancel or ignore its role.
- 2. Carter’s meeting with head of Hamas’s political office Khalid Mishal completed the talks of the former US president with Hamas’s delegation in Cairo. The press said that he proposed a set of ideas related to ceasefire, ending the siege and exchanging captives between Hamas and Israel. Hamas’s leaders responded to these ideas while Carter stressed that Hamas is a national liberation movement and not a terrorist organization.
- 3. The Israeli forces that kill Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are in a state of confusion due to the new style of the resistance factions in fighting the battles. The resistance also achieved a qualitative progress in its use of the missiles as a deterring weapon. Hitting the electrical station in Sderot pushed the the Israeli experts to say that the resistance has new generations of weapons and new skills.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Welch’s Visit and the Debate among the Loyalists

The visit of the US assistant secretary of state for the near east affaires to Lebanon led to political interactions that attracted the attention of the press which also focused on the case of the four arrested officers:
- 1. The statement of the representative Saad al-Hariri concerning the case of the four arrested officers was violent and used cruel expressions against heir families and the political forces that support them.
- 2. In this climate, Hezbollah stressed in a statement his official stand that considered the arrested officers as captives and that their arrest took place within the framework of a coup.
- 3. The opposition sources said that the opposition will not give up this issue and the four officers should be released pointing out that the statement of Saad al-Hariri ignored the disappearance of al-Siddiq and the Lebanese crisis.
- 4. David Welch continued his visit to Beirut and attacked the opposition, Iran and Syria using the same expressions uttered by Bush and Rice in Washington. He also concentrated his attack on General Michel Oun accusing him of dividing the Christians. A source in the opposition said this attack aims at raising the spirits of the loyalists.
- 5. Differences in the stands of the loyalists appeared and some analysts who are close to Junblat deduced that the US official came to get support for the US and its deteriorated asset, but those who are close to Tripoli bloc and the representative Botros Harb criticized the memorandum submitted to Welch saying they did not see it and do not agree on it. It turned out that Welch did not offer any commitments except political and press support.
- 6. The loyal press focused on the municipalities meetings which call for electing the president immediately and stressed their neutrality concerning the existent political struggle.

Arab and International Press

The Qatari paper al-Rayah said the US former president Jimmy Carter’s efforts to join Hamas to the peace process are positive and confirm his deep vision.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said that Carter said the truth when he announced that the American attempts to destroy Hamas led to contrary results.
The Emirate paper al-Khalij said the anniversary of Qana’s massacre brings to mind the continuous Israeli massacres against the Arabs.
Al-Bayan said that despite the Iraqi government’s assurances concerning the security condition the sectarian violence continues.
Yidiot Aharonot said that Egypt intends to play a practical role in the fabric of life in Gaza and agreed on providing it with electricity.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said the US assistant secretary of state David Welch stressed electing General Michel Suleiman in the coming session saying the US supports the Christians and their position should not stay vacant.
As-Safir quoted the house speaker Nabih Berri as saying that a declaration of intentions concerning the government and the constituency is enough to hold the presidential elections and lift the set-in.
Al-Akhbar said the Tuesday session will be delayed while the loyalists pin hopes on the Lebanese meeting in Kuwait.
An-Nahar wondered if the equations will change due the popular pressure.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said David Welch’s visit aimed at obstructing the solution in Lebanon.
The NTV said Welch gave patriarch Sfeir the name of popular leader and Gagea the name of national leader but these names raise doubts.
The NBN said it seems that it is the destiny of the Lebanese to change their days into painful memories.
The OTV said the municipal meetings and the press campaigns concerning electing the president work to reach the following formula: a president without any conditions.
The LBC said in a time when the Americans were celebrating the anniversary of the fall of the Marines Jimmy Carter meets Hamas leader. Khalid Mishal.
The Future said the case of the four arrested officers interacted after the opposition’s movements which aim at releasing them.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: Corruption
Former president Emile Lahoud said corruption prevents the building of the state in Lebanon and the press is politicized pointing out that the war on his person started when he worked to cancel the militias and support resistance.

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