22 Nov 2007: Daily News Summary

23 novembre 2007
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23:28 Lebanon: Hezbollah officially announced Thursday evening that they would boycott the Presidential elections. This means that Parliament will not meet the quorum of two-thirds of Parliamentary members which is needed to elect a successor for President Emile Lahoud, a pro – Syrian, whose current mandate ends Friday at midnight. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

22:29 Lebanon is at a standstill and a resurgence of violence is feared. On the eve of the expiration of President Emile Lahoud’s mandate tomorrow, Friday at midnight, no solution seems in sight. (Guysen.International.News) Both European mediators, the French minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner, and his Italian counterpart Massimo d’Alema, are still trying to find a compromise but they are not very optimistic. (Guysen.International.News)

21:44 Pakistan: The Supreme Court Thursday upheld the re-election of President Pervez Musharraf. The opposition is now trying to focus on the legislative elections on January 8th, but is divided on the question of whether to boycott the ballot if the state of emergency is not lifted between then and now. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

21:17 Syria is likely to participate in the Annapolis conference. She will make the decision during the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Arab League in Cairo tomorrow, Friday, which will be devoted to the strategy to be adopted at this conference. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

21:06 Lebanon: The leader of the opposition Christian Michel Aoun proposed on Thursday to withdraw his candidacy for the Presidential election in favor of an independent candidate whose election would allow for an end to the political crisis. (Guysen.International.News) Mr. Aoun proposed that this election should be accompanied by the formation of a new government that would include representatives of the pro-Syrian Hezbollah and that would be led by an independent Prime minister. (Guysen.International.News)

20:46 In response to appeals filed with the Supreme Court, the legal adviser to the government, Meni Mazouz, said that the power cuts in the Gaza Strip (in response to the firing of Qassam rockets and mortar shells) are supposed to begin on December 2nd. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

20:18 The three EU countries charged with responsibility to negotiate with Tehran on the Iranian nuclear issue (Britain, France and Germany) said Thursday that Iran had not done enough to dispel their suspicions and that the UN had to now consider a tightening of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. (Guysen.International.News) ”A sit and wait approach is not an option,” said the three countries to the leaders of the International Agency of Atomic Energy. (Guysen.International.News)

20:09 Four additional mortar shells, fired from the northern Gaza Strip landed on Moshav Netiv Haassara, in the western Negev. No injuries have been reported. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

19:36 Two mortar shells fell in the western Negev without causing any injuries. The first fell near Netiv Haassara and the second near the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip. (Guysen.International.News) Since this morning, fifteen mortar shells fell on Israel. (Guysen.International.News)

18:59 According to the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, the Annapolis conference will be of no use to the Palestinians. (Guysen.International.News) ”This summit will not allow Palestinians to achieve any of their goals,” said Mr. Haniya. He called on the President of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas, not to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. (Guysen.International.News)

18:08 The decision of the Lebanese Parliament on the identity of the next President could be postponed again. (Guysen.International.News) The Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs said: ”If we do not we can agree on the identity of the next President, I do not think that the elections can take place tomorrow.” (Guysen.International.News)

16:47 One of the targets in Syria attacked by the Israeli air force September 6th included a radar station near the Turkish-Syrian border. This was indicated by an American weekly paper on aeronautics. (Guysen.International.News) According to the article this week, the radar station was bombed to create an air corridor allowing Israeli fighter planes to fly through Syrian airspace without being detected. The article also states that the Syrian defense systems collapsed during the attack. (Guysen.International.News)

16:13 The Egyptian security forces discovered a ton of explosives near the town of Rafah. These explosive substances were found in an underground hideout, in the courtyard of a school. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

15:47 A Palestinian was killed last night by IDF forces, while he approached the security fence in the center of the Gaza Strip. (Guysen.International.News) According to Palestinian sources the Palestinian was Salam Abu Saada, 21 years old, resident of Gaza. (Guysen.International.News)

15:04 On the eve of the Annapolis peace conference, Defense Minister Ehud Barak denied rumors that his relations with Prime Minister Olmert would be strained. Mr. Barak also said: ”We must try to reach an agreement, no matter the situation, no matter how hard it is”. (Guysen.International.News) Regarding the Annapolis conference, Mr. Barak said: ”Its significance is that it will allow us to move the process of negotiations with the Palestinians forward.” (Guysen.International.News)

14:36 Two military vehicles collided near the security fence north of Karni. One of the cars caught fire, and two soldiers were slightly injured. (Guysen.International.News) A few minutes later Palestinians opened fire on reinforcement soldiers. Two mortar shells were fired towards IDF forces. No injuries were reported. (Guysen.International.News)

13:55 Nicolas Sarkozy invited Binyamin Netanyahu to the Elysée. The President will meet with the leader of the Likud party on December 10th, to discuss diplomatic issues and the Iranian nuclear issue. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

13:28 The United States provided Israel with information on Syrian defense before the IDF carried out its air raid in Syria in early September. This is what the American weekly ‘Aviation Week’, claims in Wednesday’s edition. (Guysen.International.News) Thus, Washington might have told Jerusalem the Achilles heel of the Syrian defense which allowed Israel to electronically cripple the Syrian radar via computer hacking. This is a new fighting technique at the forefront of development in Israel. (Guysen.International.News)

13:06 Shimon Peres believes it is impossible to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before the end of George Bush’s term. Interviewed by a Japanese newspaper, the President of the State indicated that the Annapolis conference would mark the resumption of the peace process (Guysen.International.News) He added that the fundamental aspects of the conflict would not be addressed until after the Maryland conference. (Guysen.International.News)

12:58 Threats made against Iran may affect the stability of the Middle East. ”Playing with Iran ‘s security is similar to the game of dominoes” said the chief negotiator of Iran’s nuclear issue, Saiid Jalili, at a conference in Tehran. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

12:22 In the Iranian press, some voices criticize Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having committed an error. The persistent refusal of the Iranian President to make concessions to the West on its nuclear program is wrong in and the President is adopting too much of a warrior attitude according to daily newspaper Joumhorya al-Islamiya. (Guysen.International.News)

10:55 France: ninth day of transport strikes. The employees are protesting against the new pension system. Discussions commenced on Wednesday, but the tension is increased by acts of vandalism on the railways. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

10:09 Iran will test in the next few days a new ballistic missile from its arsenal of unconventional weaponry, according to the daily Yediot Aharonot. Sources at the Pentagon have indicated that this missile has a range of 2000 to 2500 km, can be equipped with a nuclear warhead and is capable of reaching Europe. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

09:32 The security services are always on guard, as Annapolis approaches. They believe that the attack with automatic weapons on Monday in Samaria is a reminder and that the moment chosen by Ehud Olmert to announce the transfer of 25 armored vehicles and 2 million to the PA is problematic. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

08:29 Seismologists estimate that the weak earthquake Tuesday in Israel is a precursor of a much more serious earthquake in the coming decades. ”We can not yet predict earthquakes, but we know that a large earthquake is always preceded by small or medium-sized shaker”, said a professor in geology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Guysen.International.News) While it is unpredictable, a major destructive earthquake is expected to hit the country within 10 to 50 years. He called for caution in setting furniture on the walls, a simple measure that could save many lives. (Guysen.International.News)

07:48 Knesset Member Guilad Erdan (Likud) Wednesday presented to the Knesset a bill urging the government to appoint a minister responsible for organizing activities for the release of Jonathan Pollard. A former Pentagon analyst who has spent the past 22 years in the United States sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage on behalf of Israel. (Guysen.International.News) Mr. Erdan found the opportune moment before the Annapolis conference. It is hoped that in the last year of the mandate of President Bush, information campaigns in Israel and in the United States will intensify in order to create an atmosphere conducive to the release of Mr. Pollard. (Guysen.International.News)

07:22 Pakistan will attend the conference in Annapolis next week. The spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, however, did not specify who will be sent to Maryland. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

06:04 On November 21st, Le Parisien devoted an article to the anti-Semitic tensions in the 10th quarter of Paris, Rue de la Grange-aux-Belles to rue Louis. ”The insults that we endure are just one aspect of violence, says a Jewish mother. The youth threaten to burn our buildings, they shout: ”Here, is Palestine, go home.” On a daily basis, it’s hellish”(Le Parisien, November 21, 2007). (Guysen.International.News)

03:58 Germany: Customs police discovered during an investigation that approximately fifty German companies sold equipment to Iran, allowing the Islamic Republic to complete the construction of its nuclear reactor at Bushehr. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

03:14 Iraq: 3,872 American soldiers have died in the country since the beginning of the intervention of coalition forces in March 2003, according to the United States Department of Defense. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

02:58 Iran: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Wednesday in an Iranian daily, that his country would not make any concessions on its nuclear program. (Guysen.International.News) (Guysen.International.News)

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