Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Middle East in Focus - 2-20-07

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

"Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth." (Psalm 96:9)

1. Trilateral summit makes little progress - Jerusalem Post

Talks between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, initially billed as a new US push to restart peace efforts, ended Monday with little progress other than a commitment to meet again.

  • Editorial: A contradictory summit
  • Analysis: A summit overcome by events
  • Palestinians: Rice-Abbas talks 'difficult'

  • 2. Palestinians: Rice-Abbas talks 'difficult' - Jerusalem Post

    Palestinian Authority officials described Sunday's three-hour meeting between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah as "difficult." They said Rice reiterated Washington's position that the proposed unity government meet the conditions of the Quartet for ending financial sanctions imposed on the Palestinians in the aftermath of Hamas's rise to power: recognizing Israel's right to exist, renouncing violence and abiding by previous agreements signed with Israel.

    The officials said Rice voiced opposition to the Mecca agreement because of its "vague" wording. "Rice made it clear that the US and the rest of the international community would boycott any government that does not meet these conditions," a senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post. "She also said the US administration was not happy with the national unity agreement that was reached between Fatah and Hamas in Mecca."

    3. Analysis: The summit: Overcome by events - Jerusalem Post

    The idea for Monday's trilateral meeting was hatched during US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's last visit to Israel in mid-January, and was a direct outgrowth of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's idea from December to provide the Palestinians with a "political horizon." The idea was simple: To make a clear distinction between Fatah and Hamas, between the moderates and the extremists, between the Mahmoud Abbases and the Khaled Mashaals. The idea was to show the Palestinians all they could gain by distancing themselves from the extremists, and hugging the moderates.

    But that was then, a full five weeks ago. In the interim the lines between the extremists and the moderates were blurred in Mecca. At Mecca, Abbas showed a willingness to form a partnership with Hamas. Abbas went to Mecca trying to Fatahize Hamas, but ended up becoming more Hamasized himself. So, in one fell swoop, the trilateral meeting's raison d'etre melted away.

    4. Rice, Abbas meet with Jordanian leaders- ICEJ News

    King Abdullah would like continued US mediation for Israel-PA

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah met separately with Jordanian leaders today, with many of those Arab allies having been alarmed by Abbas's recent unity pact with the Hamas terror group.

    5. Burns: US, Israel agree on Iran policy - ICEJ News

    US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told The Jerusalem Post recently that America and Israel are on the same page when it comes to Iran. Burns said that the US administration was having "very good discussions" with Israel right now over a confluence of interests regarding Iran. . .

    6. Israel denies report of Muslim prayer room at Mughrabi site - ICEJ News

    The Israel Antiquities Authority denied a report yesterday that archaeologists working at the Mughrabi Gate near Jerusalem's Temple Mount found a Muslim prayer room. An IAA spokesman said: "We did in fact find a room three years ago but we didn't have permission to dig at the site. Now that we have permission, we are going to try and identify what this room is." The spokesman said further research was needed before authorities could say exactly what the room was used for.