An Event and a Regional Trend

Bush the First, the Second Balfour

Israel celebrated the 60th anniversary of its foundation while the Palestinian people commemorated the 60th anniversary of the catastrophe in the occupied lands and in the Diaspora. The Arab capitals, Damascus and Amman and Cairo witnessed big demonstrations on this occasion yesterday:
- 1. Bush delivered an enthusiastic speech at the Knesset that stressed supporting Israel threatening to crush Hezbollah, Hamas and other Palestinian factions. He also threatened Syria and Iran. Some commentators called Bush’s speech the second Belfor which guaranteed for Israel celebrations after another 60 years. Bush also condemned all the UN resolutions against Israel saying they are shameful.
- 2. The Israeli new measures in Gaza angered Palestinians and encouraged them to cling to the option of resistance. Meanwhile, ambiguity surrounds the meetings that Bush prepared between Olmert and Abbas.
- 3. The Israeli military intelligence’s new reports do not refer to the possibility of a new war in the area.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

A Serious Compromise or a Truce?

The statement which the head of the Arab ministerial committee read, announced holding the conference of the national dialogue in Doha (Qatar), which may start on Saturday. The press talked about the following developments:
- 1. The US department of State’s spokesperson expressed reserve about the Arab initiative. This indicated that the US may obstruct the solution.
- 2. The opposition immediately responded and opened the roads, ended the civil disobedience, while the army deployed its units to preserve security in the aftermath of the government’s revoking of the two decisions.
- 3. Samir Geagea gave up his reservations concerning the consensus presidential candidate Michel Suleiman and withdrew the demand of al-Gemayel, al-Hariri, and al-Siniora to include the weapons of resistance in the agenda, which was limited to the two items of the government and the elections law in accordance with the house speaker’s initiative.
- 4. The phone call that the army’s leader made with General Michel Aoun created a new climate on the level of the relations between the two. This will positively affect the dialogue.
- 5. Opposition sources said that the agenda of the dialogue stresses that the use of the weapons will be limited to confront the Israeli coup, which was represented in the government’s two decisions.
- 6. The assessments contradicted concerning the Arab initiative. Some said the mediation result is a long term truce, while others said there is a real opportunity for solving the crisis that may end in electing Michel Suleiman and forming a new government.

Arab and International Press

The Syrian daily Tichrin said the US president’s visit provoked the Arabs and the Muslims through his participation in the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Israel.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the Lebanese government’s revoking of the two decisions ended the crisis on the ground.
The Israeli military intelligence said Hezbollah does not want to seize power in Lebanon completely ruling out signing a peace agreement between Syria and Israel in the year 2008 or the eruption of war in the area.
The New York Times side Lebanon needs a compromise now and the only side that can achieve it is the Lebanese army, but Iran and Syria should guarantee it.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Lebanese minister of communications Marwan Hamadeh said that the Syrians do not want Doha meeting or dialogue among the Lebanese sides.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said that president Bashar al-Assad discussed with the commission of the African Union the Arab-African cooperation.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said ad-Doha conference represents a truce and an opportunity for solution but this happens amid a popular concern, a US reservation and a Syrian and French support and bewilderment concerning the Saudi stand.
As-Safir said an emergency Arab agreement brought 14 Lebanese ministers to Doha pointing out that on the 60th anniversary of the catastrophe Lebanon heads for restoring its unity.
The paper added that the officials who will head for Doha take with them a big national responsibility amid regional and international atmospheres that suggest the solution is possible.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said after 60 years of occupation Palestine will remain the land of steadfastness, resistance and dream.
The NTV said Al-Taif’s sides will head tomorrow for Doha and when the agreement was announced the bulldozers moved to open the roads.
The NBN said the white smoke appeared above Venetia hotel when the government revoked its two decisions.
The OTV said what happened resulted from the collapse of the Future Trends’ militias and US-Saudi advice for al-Hariri to accept the compromise.
The LBC said Washington does not know well the form of the international movement to pressurize Syria and Iran concerning their support for Hezbollah according to the department of state’s spokesperson.

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.