Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Middle East in Focus - 8-9-07

This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE:

"All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal." (Psalm 119:160)

1. Olmert: Immediate goal is Palestinian state - Ynet News

The Israeli and Palestinian leadership will meet regularly to prepare for a Middle East peace summit in the United States scheduled for this fall, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud agreed during a meeting Monday. The two leaders met in the West Bank city of Jericho, marking the first time an Israeli prime minister visited the Palestinian Authority since the outbreak of the intifada seven years ago.

After a private one-and-a-half hour meeting between the two men, Olmert and Abbas convened with their Israeli and Palestinian delegations for a wider scale conference. "We don't want conferences for the sake of photo-ops, but to reach a comprehensive peace agreement," chief Palestinian negotiator Dr Saeb Erekat told a press conference after the meeting. Former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas), however, was not thrilled by the meeting, and called it "a gimmick that will lead to nothing."

2. Barak: Missile defense is precondition for W. Bank pullout - Ha'aretz

Defense Minister Ehud Barak attributes great importance to speeding up the development of technological defenses against rocket fire on the home front, as he considers this a precondition for any significant withdrawal from the West Bank. Such a withdrawal would put Israel's main population centers in Qassam rocket range of the Palestinian Authority. Therefore, Barak believes, Israel must first develop and deploy an effective anti-missile system - a process that is expected to take three to five years.

3. Religious troops refuse to evacuate Hebron families; Will receive jail time - Ynet News
Hesder soldiers who refused to follow military orders to evacuate settlers in Hebron will receive a 28-day jail sentence, the IDF decided Monday evening. Their battalion commander, Col. Etai Virov, who tried the soldiers, further ruled that they will be dismissed from their posts and barred from future combat duty.

4. Olmert: War with Syria not in the cards - Ynet News

A war with Syria is not expected to break out, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday morning during a special cabinet meeting which dealt with the home front's preparedness for another war.

5. 'US won't tolerate Fatah-Hamas truce' - Jerusalem Post

US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has warned Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas not to talk to an unreformed Hamas about reentering a unity government ahead of a visit to Israel and the West Bank next week.

6. Hamas establishes naval defense force in Gaza - Ynet News

Hamas has established a new naval defense force, headed by one of the group's senior commanders Jamil al-Dahashan, that will be entrusted with guarding the Gaza Strip coast, Ynet has recently learned.