An Event and a Regional Trend

Olmert Talks about Understandings with Abbas

The Israeli aggressions continued on the besieged Gaza through the raids of the war planes and helicopters and land attacks while the resistance factions fight fierce battles against the continuous Israeli military operations.
- 1. The siege of Gaza and the occupation’s tightened measures increase the difficulties that the Palestinian people face while the Arab governments’ silence and indifference continue in order to satisfy the American guest who visits the area to participate in the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Israel.
- 2. Ehud Olmert who faces scandals that affect his political position and may lead to his resignation announced that he achieved progress in the negotiations with the Palestinians but the Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat denied this. Olmert’s statements express a US tendency to reach any possible formula for signing on the occasion of Bush’s visit apart from its fragility because Bush wants a signed formula at any cost.
- 3. The political movement in Israel refers to the collapse of Olmert according to the Israeli press and the preparations of the other political forces and parliamentary blocs at the Knesset for the post-Olmert’s stage. Meanwhile, the Israeli police’s investigations with Olmert escalated and led to the confiscation of documents related to data revealed by investigators.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Canceling the two Decisions or a New Escalation?

The intensive Lebanese situation is waiting for the arrival of the Arab ministerial committee to start the mission of mediation between the loyalists and the opposition in a climate of congestion and tension, which followed the events that resulted from the two decisions of al-Siniora’s government which the opposition considered as a declaration of war.
- 1. The available information said that Al-Siniora’s government will implement the frank pledge of the representative Walid Jumblatt and the dubious commitment of the representative Saad Hariri and cancel the two decisions which exploded the crisis. Some political and press sources talked about a US-Saudi instigation of the government not to revoke the two decisions. This was clear in the statements of Saud al-Faisal in his press conference and in the stands of Paris and Washington, who work to issue an international resolution based on the contacts of Fouad al-Siniora and Marwan Hamadeh with the UN secretary general which were accompanied with the government’s two decisions on Hezbollah’s communications network.
- 2. The statements of Saad al-Hariri showed a tendency to political escalation but some analyses belittled their importance and limited them to the attempt to spiritually restore the reins of the initiative after shocking the Lebanese street with the massacre that his militias committed.
- 3. The opposition stressed its positive stand towards the Arab movement. The house speaker Berri said revoking the two decisions requires commitment to the demand of the army’s leader which is the doorstep of dialogue.
- 4. The army’s field measures have achieved success according to the available reports in different Lebanese areas.
- 5. There was an attempt to target the internal condition of the army according to press information. The reports said that al-Sinora’s and al-Hariri’s accusations of the army coincided with submitting resignations by some officers, who belong to the loyalists. The army’s leader summoned all of them and explained to them the mechanisms of the army’s work in the face of the civil war danger.
- 6. The Israeli reactions revealed disappointment at the quick collapse of the loyalists’ militias. This was described as a blow to the efforts of three years of intelligence work in cooperation with some Arab states.
- 7. The US messages about supporting the loyalists are limited to stressing the power of Bush’s statements and what he will announce in Israel and in his meetings in Sharm el-Sheik. Questions revolve around the supposed date of Bush’s meeting with al-Siniora, while American sources said that al-Siniora may not be able to return to Lebanon if he goes to Sharm esh-sheik.

Arab and International Press

The Syrian daily Tichrin said the same states that divide the Arab orient will participate in the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Israel’s birth.
The Emirate paper al-Khalij said there will be no compromise in Lebanon without dialogue and without sacrifice and concentrating on the homeland’s interests.
James Zogby said in an article that the stands of the Arab citizens towards the US are very negative in the year 2008 and warn of danger.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that condition in the Middle East is unacceptable.
The Egyptian paper al-Ahram said in its editorial that the Middle East is on the edge of a big fire that may cover Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Iran and that the more dangerous mistakes in the game are the ones committed by Bush’s administration.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite Station said the armed men disappeared from Lebanon due to the army’s role in preserving stability.

Lebanese press

Al-Akhbar said the delay of the Arab delegation’s arrival to Beirut has no political significance and its justifications remained technical, but it delayed holding the meeting of the Lebanese cabinet to revoke the two decisions against Hezbollah.
The paper added that Walid Jumblatt informed the house speaker that the decision to revoke the government’s two decisions is final.
As-Safir said a series of consultations opened the way for a draft compromise on the papers which consists of two stages: The government’s revoking of the two decisions and the opposition announcing of returning the condition to pre- May 7.

Television Stations’ news in Lebanon

Al-Manar called Saad al-Hariri to respect the minds of the Lebanese people and stop threatening them with Bush and the Destroyer Cole.
The NTV said that relatively the political rhythm dominated the field rhythm and that Lebanon anticipates the arrival of the Arab ministerial committee.
The OTV retaliated against Saad al-Hariri saying that Michel Aoun was crushed by the Syrian tanks under the sponsorship of the US and did not sign on handing Lebanon.
The LBC said the military progress of Hezbollah and his allies did not lead to a political retreat by the government and its supporters.

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.