An Event and a Regional Trend

The Qualitative Operations Confuse Barak’s Plans

The Israeli raids on Gaza continued today killing and wounding more Palestinians while the resistance factions stressed their determination to deter the aggression with more qualitative operations which were inaugurated by a series of field surprises and missiles attacks that confused the Israeli military leaders through the preciseness of the techniques and the methods of fighting and the size of the Israeli losses which reflect the development of the Palestinian resistance.
- 1. The press information about the meeting between former US president Jimmy Carter and the leaders of Hamas said the two sides discussed a complete work paper under the title of ceasefire. Palestinian press talked about a number of items attributed to head of Hamas’s political office Khalid Mishal:
a) The ceasefire should cover the West Bank and Gaza and that Israel should stop all the aggressions and operations.
b) Lifting the siege completely, opening the crossings and the checkpoints.
c) Completing the exchange of captives by releasing the captivated Israeli soldier Jilad Shalitt in return for releasing 1400 Palestinian captives.
- 2. The Israeli occupation army took tightened measures in the West Bank and Gaza on the eve of the Easter celebrations and continued its operations against Palestinians.
- 3. Israel plans for a comprehensive attack on Gaza according to the press leaks while warnings against this step increase despite the Israeli right wing pressures to accelerate it.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

A Delayed Session and No Dialogue

The tomorrow session for electing the president will be delayed after the visit of the US assistant secretary of state David Welch to Lebanon and his call for not responding to the house speaker’s initiative and for leaving the issues until next Autumn.
A source from the opposition said the new US plan for Lebanon aims at reaching the spring of 2009 without a compromise or an elections law. This will push the country to face a constitutional reality that dictates either extending the current parliament or holding the parliamentary elections on the basis of the current law of 2000.
The press covered the following developments on the Lebanese track:
- 1. Clashes broke out between supporters of the loyalists and the supporters of the opposition in Zahleh and killed two persons while communications started to contain the consequences between Representative Elle Skaf and President Amin Gemayel. This incident took place amid a state of tension in Zahleh caused by the appearance of movements by the loyalists under the title of pressurizing to elect Michel Suleiman as a president without any conditions.
- 2. The house speaker Nabih Berri said dialogue became a condition for achieving conciliation and he will not allow any attempts to impose the elections and the elections law. The representative Ali Hasan Khalil asked the loyalists to publicly propose the draft law of the elections which they find suitable and stop doing this in the corridors.
- 3. Lebanon anticipates the meeting that the French foreign minister coordinates on the margin of Iraq’ neighboring states’ meeting in Kuwait. The press said the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner asked for an appointment to meet the Syrian foreign minister Walid Al-Muallem.
- 4. Sources in the opposition stressed holding condensed consultations among its sides to discuss the suitable ways to deal with the policy that obstructs the initiatives under the title of limiting the Arab initiative to the item of electing the president. There is a plan to change the consensus candidate into a confrontational title which deprives him of the consensus aspect through the movement of the Lebanese Forces and some sides of the loyalists under the cloak of the representative Michle al-Murr’s call for popular and municipal movements. The opposition sources wondered about the reality of these movements’ goals saying they aim at leaving al-Siniora in office and targeting the new development in the stand of the opposition as expressed lately by the statements of the house speaker and former minister Suleiman Franjiyeh.

Arab and International Press

Al-Bayan said in its editorial that every time the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice comes to the area she brings with her a set of demands to the Arabs.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said Bush’s administration lied and misled the international public opinion concerning the condition in Iraq and admitted this later.
Al-Khalij ppaer said the only thing that Bush’s administration said about the meeting of the former president Carter with the leaders of Hamas is that Hamas is responsible for killing a large number of Israeli civilians.
The Saudi paper al-Watan said the Lebanese house speaker’s call for dialogue is ambiguous.

Satellite Stations Interviews

The Syrian Satellite Station
Program: It happens there
Editor-in -chief of Al-Hadaf Magazine said there is no dispute on the settlement policy among the Israelis.
The political analyst Ali Badran said the battle of interests unifies the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with Barak against the fox of politics Benjamin Netanyahu.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite Station is said that president Bashar al-Assad called in the meeting of the Ba’ath Arab socialist party’s central committee for paying attention to the citizen’s standards of living.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said it is the parliamentary session’s 18th delay and the Lebanese wait for a solution that will not come in the near future. Al-Akhbar said delaying tomorrow session until next month will be announced by the house speaker in the coming few hours pointing out that Saudi Arabia refused to receive the house speaker. As-Safir said the call of the house speaker did not receive the required answers and the vacuum became the destiny of all the sides. An-Nahar focused on the bloody event in Zahleh saying this posed challenges on the stat, the security organs and the political leaderships.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the Americans said the current condition in Lebanon is acceptable and that is what led to delaying the parliamentary session.
The NTV wondered if the loyalists prepare for the status quo of the vacuum that the Americans put the last touches on through Welch’s recent visit to Lebanon.
The OTV said it seems neither the West nor the Arabs are able to solve the Lebanese problem.
The LBC said there are no serious meetings or practical steps to solve the Lebanese crisis.
The Future said the opposition is still practicing its hobby under the title of dialogue far from the constitutional merit.

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.