Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Middle East in Focus

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

"O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure." (Psalm 7:9)

1. Rice will meet Abbas in Jericho to urge peace talks - ICEJ News

Local and foreign media reported Wednesday that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to meet Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday in the West Bank city of Jericho. The meeting was announced a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians an opportunity to return to the negotiation table and work out a "real peace". Rice's meeting with Abbas will be their second in the last two months and the US official is expected to use the current ceasefire agreement as an opportunity to urge renewed Israeli- Palestinian peace talks.

2. Rice to tell Abbas: Don't miss opportunity, impose order - Ha'aretz

American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to tell Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at their meeting Thursday that he must increase his efforts to impose order in the Palestinian Authority, in order not to miss the opportunity to resume negotiations offered by the Gaza cease-fire and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech in Sde Boker on Monday, sources in Washington said Tuesday.

3. Israel, Arabs upbeat about ME peace after EU meeting - Jerusalem Post

Israeli, Arab and European Union foreign ministers were unanimously upbeat about Middle East peace prospects Tuesday after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reached out to Palestinians and a Gaza cease- fire took hold.

4. Peretz: Egyptian presence contributes to regional stability - Ynet News

Defense Minister Amir Peretz met Wednesday afternoon with Egyptian Intelligence Chief General Omar Suleiman, and the two discussed the deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit and Palestinian prisoners, combined with a diplomatic move.

5. Israel set to purchase anti-Kassam system - ICEJ News

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Israeli defense establishment will make its official decision in the coming days on a $300 million investment in an anti- Kassam and anti-Katyusha defense system being developed by Rafael - Israel's Armament Development Authority.

6. UN Human Rights Council blasts Israel . . . again - ICEJ News

The Associated Press reports that the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) passed two resolutions criticizing Israel on Monday, but kept intact its record of singling out no other country in the world for human rights abuses. Even though the Human Rights Council replaced the overtly anti-Israel UN Human Rights Commission last June, the same symptoms of corruption and bias seen in its predecessor seem to have already taken deep root.

7. Pope soothes Muslim anger in Turkey - Reuters

Turks praised Pope Benedict on Wednesday for taking steps to bridge the divide between Christians and Muslims during his four-day visit to Turkey. Benedict's trip was originally meant just as a visit to Istanbul to try and bring the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches closer, but because of a misquoted and misunderstood speech in September, the trip became crucial for the future of Vatican relations with Islam. Benedict's comments on his first official visit to a Muslim country went a long way towards making up for that speech in Germany, which ignited Muslim fury and led to several attacks on churches and the murder of an Italian nun in Somalia. Much of the talk surrounding the Pope's visit, however, focused on his surprising new support for Ankara's bid to join the European Union.