November 6/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 14,12-14. Then he said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Releases. Reports & Opinions
Lebanon's ruling coalition remains on the sidelines of its own crisis.The Daily Star. November 5/07
Is the crisis in Turkey only about the PKK? By Khaled Salih. November 5/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for November 5/07
Lebanon and the U.N. Deny Hizbullah Maneuvers Report-Naharnet
Hizbullah Plays No-Shots War in U.N.-Policed South!-Naharnet
Palestine Embroidered in Lebanon-Naharnet

Nasrallah Conducts Biggest Hizbullah Military Maneuver in History-Naharnet
Report: Hizbullah conducted mass military drill in southern Lebanon.Ynetnews
DEBKAfile: Hizballah commando units slip back into South Lebanon ...DEBKA file
Army All Set to Prevent Disorder-Naharnet
Presidential Election Session Could be Held at Beiteddin Palace-Naharnet
Cousseran in Damascus for Lebanon Talks-Naharnet
Assad Meets French Envoys on Lebanon.The Associated Press
Dichter: Syria is mentally prepared for a peace process with Isreal.Jerusalem Post
Is Israel About to Attack Hizballah?TIME
Security officials say Syria, Iran rearming Hezbollah terror group.WorldNetDaily
Report: Hezbollah Stages Maneuvers.The Associated Press
Rice, Olmert agree to involve Syria into peace summit conditionally.Xinhua
All Still Quiet on the Syria Bombing.Washington Post
Sarkozy Envoys Discuss Lebanon with Assad.Naharnet
Lebanon vote could be held outside parliament: candidate.AFP

France and US increase pressure on Syria to leave Lebanon alone-Daily Star
Fadlallah slams US for 'insane' attempt to thwart consensus on presidency-Daily Star
Sfeir warns against 'monopolizing' election-Daily Star
Palestinians criticize UNRWA over Nahr al-Bared-Daily Star
Hariri files lawsuit against Ad-Diyar editor-Daily Star
The sun as savior Stopping climate change in the Middle East:ways out of an unfolding catastrophe-Daily Star
Lebanon's hotel industry takes a dive-Daily Star
Israeli cluster bomb wounds 3 civilians in South-Daily Star
Political paralysis helps keep Lebanon's power sector without mandated regulator-Daily Star
'Green Wars' links conflict with environmental issues-Daily Star
Despite revival, old-timers say Hamra isn't what it used to be-Daily Star
UN releases report into extent of damage, complications of 2006 Jiyyeh oil spill-Daily Star
Wanted in Lebanon: Angelina's lips and Haifa's breasts

Nasrallah Conducts Biggest Hizbullah Military Maneuver in History
Under the supervision of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah launched the biggest military maneuver in south Lebanon in Hizbullah history. The report, carried by the Lebanese dailies As Safir and Al Akhbar, said the maneuver was conducted under the eyes of the Israeli army and U.N. peacekeepers serving in south Lebanon. Al Akhbar said Hizbullah's entire military and security units as well as its logistics elements took part in the maneuver which took place in the past three days. The maneuver south of the Litani River was personally supervised by Nasrallah after a warning recently launched by the Hizbullah chief about a "big surprise apparently failed to rein in the enemy," Al Akhbar reported. "The resistance leadership was forced to take a different decision, unprecedented in Hizbullah history," wrote Al Akhbar. As Safir said the Hizbullah move came following Israeli maneuvers in the Galilee and intensified overflights over the south and Beirut, particularly the southern suburbs where jets flew low for the first time since the end of the 2006 summer war between Hizbullah and Israel. It quoted witnesses in the Bekaa Valley as saying they saw an "unusual movement by the resistance." As Safir said the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, held contacts with various Lebanese political and military officials to inquire about Hizbullah's maneuvers. The daily said UNIFIL "clearly" cautioned the Lebanese authority "against being surprised to see all Europeans (troops) withdrawing from UNIFIL in less than four months."Al Akhbar said that at the end of the maneuver Nasrallah congratulated the thousands of Hizbullah elements that took part in the exercise, telling them "I hope that the enemy and the friend will realize that the resistance is totally ready to confront all kinds of Israeli threats." Beirut, 05 Nov 07, 08:32

Army All Set to Prevent Disorder
The Lebanese army was all set to step up precautionary measures in an around Beirut prior to the November 12 parliamentary session to elect a new President for Lebanon. A senior ministerial source said the measure was part of the army's desire to "preserve stability and order" in view of fears among the various political sides that the prevailing peace could be threatened ahead of next Monday's vote. The source said army units in Greater Beirut were getting ready to reinforce their presence and spread out troops as a safety measure in the event that quorum to elect to a successor to Syrian-backed President Emile Lahoud was not secured.
The source said army units in Greater Beirut were getting ready to reinforce their presence and spread out troops as a safety measure in the event that quorum to elect to a successor to Syrian-backed President Emile Lahoud was not secured. He said the army deployment, together with Internal Security Forces, comes in line with a demand by the majority parties who are stressing the need to avoid resorting to the streets if a new president was not elected. Hizbullah is one of the main forces warning against drifting toward chaos, according to the source, saying the Shiite group has no excuse to resort to the streets since all Lebanese factions promised that the resistance arms' issue will be discussed at a national dialogue and after assurances that there is no intention to implement U.N. Resolution 1559 by force.
The source said any street action or a hint that Hizbullah could use its weapons would provoke reactions by the ruling majority such as insisting on the implementation of 1559 which calls for the disarmament of all militias in Lebanon. Beirut, 05 Nov 07, 09:40

Cousseran in Damascus for Lebanon Talks
France's Middle East envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran held talks with top Syrian officials on Lebanon, where deadlock between pro- and anti-Syrian factions has led to a political crisis. Cousseran had talks on Sunday with Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, the official Syrian News Agency, SANA, said. Cousseran and Sharaa "reviewed bilateral relations and the recent developments in the region including the situation in Lebanon," the news agency said.  Sharaa emphasized "Syria's attachment to the stability of Lebanon and to its security," according to SANA. He insisted on the necessity of "the Lebanese agreeing on the election of a future president without outside interference," it said. Muallem told journalists after his discussions with the French official that Damascus and Paris agreed on the need for the Lebanese to elect "a consensus president". "Neither Syria nor France are pushing a particular candidate," he added. Fears are running high in Lebanon that deadlock over the election of a new president could lead to two rival governments and a return to the final years of the 1975-1990 civil war when two competing administrations battled for control.(AFP) Beirut, 05 Nov 07, 11:38

Hizbullah Plays No-Shots War in U.N.-Policed South!
A Hizbullah-affiliated newspaper claimed Monday that thousands of the party's guerrillas have staged secret military maneuvers without weapons or uniforms near Israel's border in southern Lebanon, but the Lebanese government downplayed the report as probably just a simulation. Al-Akhbar newspaper, said Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah personally supervised the maneuvers, which it said were carried out in the last three days and were the biggest ever staged on Israel's border by the Shiite Muslim militant group. Monday's report marked the first time Hizbullah, with its highly secretive military wing, revealed such exercises through a close newspaper. The maneuvers, if confirmed, could pose a major challenge to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire that ended last year's war with the Jewish state.
Hizbullah officials declined to comment. However, a Hizbullah legislator, Hassan Fadlallah, said it was only "natural" that the group be fully ready to confront any possible Israeli attack. "Clearly, we will not let Israel carry out aggression against Lebanon and we sit still," he told Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. television, referring to the increased Israeli military flights over southern Lebanon in recent days.
Prime Minister Fouad Saniora, speaking to Associated Press Television News at government headquarters, said authorities checked with military and police units as well as U.N. peacekeepers and "they confirmed nothing on the ground really happened." "It was, let's say, a simulation probably, in an operation room, on the desk, probably they did such a thing," he said. "This has been confirmed by all the sources." He noted there was no statement issued by Hizbullah confirming the reported maneuvers. The alleged maneuvers came a few days after Israel held major military exercises in the north of the country near the Lebanese border. The Israeli action was interpreted by some Lebanese media as preparation by the Jewish state for a possible new war with Hizbullah.
Al-Akhbar said the Hizbullah maneuvers were carried out south of the Litani River in southern Lebanon and aimed at "deterring the enemy from carrying out any adventure in Lebanon." The zone has been controlled by a U.N. peacekeeping force and the Lebanese army since last year's war.
"A state of Israeli alertness is countered by extraordinary movement by the resistance (Hizbullah)," read a front-page headline Monday in As-Safir, another newspaper close to Hizbullah. It quoted witnesses in southern Lebanon as saying they observed "unusual movement" by Hizbullah for the first time since last year's war, but gave no further details. There was no immediate comment from officials of the U.N. peacekeeping force, which has 13,500 soldiers who patrol a buffer zone near the border with Israel with the help of 15,000 Lebanese troops.
But As-Safir quoted Maj. Gen. Claudio Graziano, the commander of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon as warning Lebanese leaders he met in Beirut last week that the tension in the south and a deepening political crisis in the country might prompt European countries "to withdraw from UNIFIL within less than four months."
Italy, France, Spain and Germany form the bulk of the reinforced U.N. force that deployed in southern Lebanon after last year's war.
Commenting on the reported Hizbullah maneuvers, a Lebanese security official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, said Lebanese forces in south Lebanon "did not register any armed presence south of the Litani."The official said troops are under orders to prevent any armed presence in accordance with a U.N. Security Council resolution that ended last year's fighting, but pointed out that "civilians have the right to freely move in their villages" and if they do not carry weapons, they are not breaking the law. Al-Akhbar said Hizbullah's maneuvers were carried out all along the border with Israel "in extreme secrecy without any show of arms."
The newspaper quoted Nasrallah as telling the participants that the maneuvers were intended "for foe and friend to make them understand that the resistance (Hizbullah) is fully ready to confront any kind of Israeli threats."Nasrallah said last week his guerrilla group has grown stronger since last summer's war as Israel has weakened. He said his guerrillas did not want war but "will not allow anyone to attack our villages, people and country."
The Lebanese army command has in the last few days issued statements noting increased Israeli over flights in southern Lebanon in violation of the cease-fire resolution.
Since the fighting with Israel ended, Nasrallah has boasted that his guerrillas have replenished their rocket arsenal and were ready to fight Israel if attacked. The Hizbullah leader has said his group possesses more than 33,000 rockets. Last week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a new report that said Israel claims that Hizbullah has rearmed with new long-range rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv. Ban's report said Israel claims Hizbullah has tripled its shore-to-sea C-802 missiles and has established an air defense unit armed with ground-to-air missiles.(AP-Naharnet) Beirut, 05 Nov 07, 08:32

Lebanon and the U.N. Deny Hizbullah Maneuvers Report
The Lebanese government and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Monday denied press reports that the militant group Hizbullah had staged military-style exercises in south Lebanon. Prime Minister Fouad Saniora told a press conference that a report in Al-Akhbar newspaper concerning the alleged exercises was unfounded. Lebanese security forces as well as the UNIFIL had informed his government that there were "no maneuvers or unusual movements by civilian or military elements on the ground", he said. "From what we gathered, there was a simulation on paper, indoors," Saniora told reporters. "What happened was just an indoors simulation which was not implemented on the ground." UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane told Agence France Presse: "The position of the Lebanese authorities is corroborated by reports of the UNIFIL units on the ground." Hizbullah officials questioned by AFP declined to comment on the reports.
Al-Akhbar, a paper affiliated with Hizbullah said the exercises on Saturday and Sunday were the "largest scale maneuvers in the history of Hizbullah".
The group's leader Hassan Nasrallah had personally supervised them, it said.(AFP)
Beirut, 05 Nov 07, 19:24

Palestine Embroidered in Lebanon
At a refugee camp in south Lebanon, a group of Palestinian women are bent over intricate works of embroidery, recreating motifs from a lost homeland.
Wafa Taha weaves cross stitches in red on the black fabric of a "thawb" -- a traditional gown embroidered in distinctive local styles and worn by generations of Palestinians. "Each Palestinian town has its own motifs and colors," from the vivid colored fabrics of the clothes of Nablus to the brilliant white thawbs of Ramalla, the 47-year-old refugee said. Red dresses are reserved for married women while blue and green ones are worn by single women.
Born in the Ain al-Helweh camp, which means Eye of Beauty, near the coastal town of Sidon, Wafa learned the art of embroidery aged seven from her mother, who had been taught by Roman Catholic nuns in her hometown of Nazareth. "After the exodus my mother embroidered to make a living," she said, referring to the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. There are hundreds of Palestinian patterns, with names such as "foreign moon," "cow's eye" and "old man's teeth," she explained. "It is this richness and this art that we must preserve," said her friend Jamila al-Ashkar. "From childhood we embroider for our dowry and the new generation is doing the same."
The camp, the largest of Lebanon's 12 official refugee camps, has 80,000 people crammed into a small space with shops bearing nostalgic names such as Al-Awda (The Return), Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Yaffa (Jaffa) lining dusty streets. "I have taught the art to my three daughters and even to my son who pulls the threads out of the canvas," Wafa said. She and Jamila work for the Palestinian Perpetual Folklore Exhibition, a project created in 1985 to promote traditional Palestinian costumes and to provide jobs to female refugees. Twenty-five women are employed currently by the project.
"We seek to preserve Palestinian heritage because a people without a heritage is a people that doesn't exist," project director Aleya al-Abdullah said.
She said that although the traditional Palestinian costumes are rarely worn nowadays, the dresses are a hit with foreign tourists as well as with Palestinians.
"On a humanitarian level the project also helps needy families," she added. Wafa said she is paid per piece and earns 100 dollars a month.
"A thawb takes three months of work and is sold for a minimum of 200 dollars," said Jamila. "The price varies according to the quality of the fabric and threads and the finesse or sophistication of the embroidery."
Silk gowns are the most sought after and expensive. But the camp's access to visitors and potential buyers from the West and the Gulf countries has been severely restricted because of security measures adopted since the bloody 15-week battle between Islamist militants and the Lebanese army at a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the country. The fighting ended on September 2 and left about 400 people dead, including 168 troops.
"Sales have since hit rock-bottom," project director Abdullah said. "And to make matters worse, we sell in dollars but purchase our materials in euros and end up losing with the exchange rate. "Still, we stick to it to preserve the tradition." Wafa frees the needlework on a gown she has been working on by meticulously pulling individual threads out of a white canvas. The painstaking process is necessary in order not to ruin a week's worth of work. "This work needs patience, but we Palestinians have plenty of it," she said. "We have been waiting to return home for 60 years."(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 05 Nov 07, 18:59

Sfeir warns against 'monopolizing' election
Patriarch urges leaders to abide by constitution

By Maroun Khoury
Daily Star correspondent
Monday, November 05, 2007
BKIRKI: Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir urged leaders to abide by the Constitution in the upcoming presidential election in a sermon Sunday. Sfeir's call came eight days before legislators are set to meet to elect a successor to President Emile Lahoud, who is due to step down on November 24.
The Constitution stipulates that a two-thirds quorum is needed to elect a president in the first parliamentary session. A simple majority suffices in the following sessions.
Two sessions have already been postponed because of opposition MPs' refusal to attend, in an effort to prevent the ruling majority from electing one of their own by simple majority. The opposition is calling for a compromise candidate.
"The good of the society requires abiding by the Constitution, especially in relation to the presidential election," Sfeir said. "Monopolizing the election - like boycotting them - will leave very negative consequences on the country."
Last week Sfeir urged Lebanese politicians to work together in order to ensure the country's best interests.
Several efforts are under way to reach a compromise over the presidency. The last was a meeting between the head of Future Movement MP Saad Hariri and opposition leader MP Michel Aoun in Paris. The meeting was viewed by many as a positive development toward ending the crisis.
In addition to his weekly appeals, Sfeir has been leading rounds of meetings with politicians from the March 14 majority and the March 8 opposition.
A four-member committee, with two representatives from each bloc, was created to follow up on these meetings. The committee ended its mission last week and filed a report to Sfeir in which it urged all MPs to participate in the November 12 election session, according to media reports.
After the sermon Sfeir met with a delegation from European CommunistsParty headed by Karin Yamtin. He also met with a delegation from the Lebanese Forces and former Minister Farid Khazen to discuss political developments.

France and US increase pressure on Syria to leave Lebanon alone
Harb says next president could be elected outside parliamen
By Rym Ghazal
Daily Star staff
Monday, November 05, 2007
BEIRUT: Two senior envoys dispatched by French President Nicolas Sarkozy held talks Sunday with Syrian President Bashar Assad on the political crisis in Lebanon, the French presidency said. Just a day after the US and France chastised Syria over Lebanon, warning it against interfering in the Lebanese presidential election, Sarkozy's top aide Claude Gueant, the secretary general of the presidency, and National Security Adviser Jean-David Levitte meet with Assad in Damascus.
"These talks took place as part of efforts led by France over the past several months to advance the search for a solution to Lebanon's current crisis," said presidential spokesman David Martinon. "The Lebanese people must have the possibility of choosing their next president freely, without pressure or outside meddling, in a peaceful manner and by strictly respecting the Lebanese constitution," he added.
In the midst of the international efforts, Ambassador Hisham Youssif, Arab League chief Amr Moussa's right-hand man, is expected to arrive in Beirut on Tuesday for a "survey" trip of the latest developments in Lebanon. At the same time, presidential candidate MP Butros Harb declared that a new president could be elected outside Parliament if a session set for November 12 fails to produce a result in Lebanon's hotly disputed vote. "All options are being studied, including the possibility [of holding the poll] outside Parliament, if MPs [of the majority] are prevented from electing a president or cannot get there for security reasons," Harb told reporters on Sunday.
"Among the possibilities raised is that of holding the election in Beiteddin Palace," said the deputy member of the March 14 camp, referring to the president's summer residence. "I hope all the international interest over the Lebanese presidential election leads the Lebanese to agree on what is the best for them internally."
Over the past few months, there has been great support expressed for Lebanon, and at the same time Syria has been repeatedly warned against interfering with the election."I made very clear that everybody was watching, that it was expected that Syria was going to adhere to its international obligations not to interfere, to allow Lebanon to continue to have a constitutional process for the selection of a president," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters after leaving a conference on Iraq in Istanbul.
Rice had a rare meeting Saturday with her Syrian counterpart, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, on the sidelines of the two-day conference. "It was also the expectation of everyone that there would be no intimidation and interference," said Rice. The Istanbul conference was taken as an opportunity for the attending officials to deliver their message to Syria about Lebanon, with both the US and Syria exchanging warnings over interference in the election. In response, Moallem said Syria supported Lebanese attempts to elect a new president without foreign interference. "Any attempt to tailor-make the new president will be considered interference in Lebanon's domestic affairs," the official Syrian Arab News Agency quoted Moallem as saying, in apparent reference to Rice's earlier comments.
In comments carried by pan-Arab Al-Hayat daily Saturday, Moallem said, "The problem is not in Damascus, but in Washington, which opposes any compromise candidate and any dialogue between the Lebanese." A day earlier, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner met with Moallem, and delivered a similar warning.
"I warned Syria of the imperative need to allow the presidential election process to go ahead according to the constitution ... without any external interference," Kouchner said.
In a statement released by the Istanbul ministerial meeting on Saturday, it voiced its strong support for Lebanon, and said: "Terrorizing or interference in Lebanese presiden-tial elections is not acceptable."Meanwhile, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun said last week's meetings in Paris between himself and majority leader MP Saad Hariri took place "not due to foreign initiative" but rather to calls for dialogue initiated by him.
"However, we came back and heard US statements that were not very encouraging," said Aoun, adding: "But I repeat and say that the solution is with us, the Lebanese." - With Naharnet, agencies

Dichter: Syria is mentally prepared for a peace process with Israel
"We have information indicating that Syria is mentally prepared for a peace process with Israel. The question is whether we or the US are prepared for it," Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said during a debate at the Saban Forum in Jerusalem on Monday. The discussion focusing on intelligence was attended by OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, former CIA Director George Tenet and former Mossad chief Efraim Halevi.

New missiles threaten Tel Aviv airport
Security officials say Syria, Iran rearming Hezbollah terror group

Posted: November 5, 2007
By Aaron Klein
© 2007
TEL AVIV – The Lebanese Hezbollah militia, aided by Iran and Syria, has acquired a small number of missiles capable of targeting Tel Aviv's international airport, according to security sources. The sources said recent speeches in which Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah repeatedly warned Israel of a "colossal surprise" were references to his group's purported new capability of striking Israel's main airport. "If you the Zionists are thinking of attacking Lebanon ... I promise great surprises that could alter the fate of the war and the region, G-d willing," said Nasrallah in a September speech.
In a speech two months prior, Nasrallah claimed his group would release a "colossal surprise" that would target Israel by land similar to a surprise attack his group launched during confrontations in the summer of 2006 when Hezbollah successfully used Chinese-made C-802 missiles to strike Israel's navy. The Jewish state had failed to calibrate its sea vessels' anti-missile systems, reportedly unaware Hezbollah possessed the Chinese missiles.
Security officials, who spoke to WND on condition of anonymity, didn't specify the exact missile they said Hezbollah acquired that can target Tel Aviv's airport. They said the missiles were passed to Hezbollah by Iran through the Syria-Lebanese border.
The Lebanese Army and a contingent of several thousand international troops were deployed in South Lebanon to specifically ensure against Hezbollah's rearming, but Israel says neither the international forces nor the Lebanese army are taking concrete measures to stop Hezbollah from rearming. Additionally, no troops have deployed along the Syria-Lebanese border, where most of Hezbollah's rearming reportedly takes place.
A United Nations cease-fire imposed after the 34-days of confrontations in July and August of 2006 banned weapons transfers and called on Hezbollah to disarm.
Israel is not alone in pointing out Hezbollah's rearmament. Last week, the U.N. released a report quoting Israeli officials stating Hezbollah acquired new long-range rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv and tripled their arsenal of land-to-sea missiles since last summer's war.
The U.N. report did not state Hezbollah acquired missiles that can target Tel Aviv's airport, only rockets, which cannot be calibrated to target a specific area.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called Hezbollah's purported rearming a cause for great concern.
"Israel has stated that the nature and number of weapons in Hezbollah's control constitutes a strategic threat to its security and the safety of its citizens," he said.
The U.N. report said Hezbollah's long-range rocket force is stationed in areas north of the Litani River, above the area at which international forces are deployed, and that most of the new rockets, including hundreds of Zilzal and Fajr rockets, have a range of 155 miles, "enabling them to reach Tel Aviv and points further south," the report said. "Israel also claims that Hezbollah has tripled its shore-to-sea C-802 missiles and have established an air-defense unit armed with ground-to-air missiles," Ban said. While Israel did not provided the U.N. with specific intelligence due to the sensitivity of the sources, Ban said last week several speeches by Nasrallah the past few months "seem to confirm these Israeli claims."

Rice, Olmert agree to involve Syria into peace summit conditionally 2007-11-05 02:53:39
JERUSALEM, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice agreed on Sunday that Syria could attend the upcoming U.S.-sponsored international Mideast peace conference on certain conditions, local daily Haaretz reported on its website.
During a lunch meeting, the two sides agreed that Syria could be allowed to attend the peace summit if it accepted the fact that the conference would deal only with Israeli-Palestinian relations but without the fate of the Golan Heights, a 1,200 square km plateau captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War.
The statements were made in response to the Syrian foreign minister's request to Rice on Saturday that the summit should deal with Israel-Syria issues as well.
Rice is on her eighth visit to Israel this year in an effort to close gaps between Israel and the Palestinians prior to the peace conference due to be held in the United States later this year. Earlier in the day, Rice also met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who assured her that Israel's economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip would not cause a humanitarian crisis.
"The sanctions Israel has imposed on civilians and the state will not cause a humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] strip," Barak was quoted as saying to Rice.
On Sunday morning, Rice also held talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who told her that any diplomatic agreement will only be implemented after the Palestinians fight terror, according to a statement released by Israel Government Press Office.

All Still Quiet on the Syria Bombing
By Jackson Diehl
Monday, November 5, 2007; Page A19
It was two months ago tomorrow that Israeli warplanes bombed what Israel and the United States believed was a nascent Syrian nuclear complex along the shore of the Euphrates River. But the political shock waves that should have accompanied that remarkable event -- which was both an audacious act of preemption and a revelation of an apparent Syrian bomb program-- have been bottled up by the decisions of the Israeli government and the Bush administration not to speak publicly about the strike.
Now Israeli and U.S. officials are quietly debating whether to go on the record and allow those shock waves to explode across the Middle East and beyond. At stake are not only Israel's tense relations with Syria, which so far has chosen not to retaliate, but a host of other pressure points: Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; the integrity of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Western leverage over Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad; and -- not least -- the fragile U.S. nuclear bargain with North Korea, which is believed to have aided the secret construction.
For the Israeli government of Ehud Olmert, the decision to suppress news of the strike in September -- including the military censorship of Israel's aggressively free press -- was pretty straightforward. Trumpeting the successful attack not only would have prompted global denunciations of Israel but might have pushed Assad into launching an attack on the Golan Heights or a missile at Tel Aviv. The architect of the attack, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, is a former head of Israel's most elite clandestine commando squad, and he remains convinced that military special operations are best kept secret.
Two months later that calculus hasn't much changed. Barak and Olmert are still worried enough about a Syrian military response to have moved an upcoming military exercise off the Golan; Olmert and other senior officials have been dropping hints about opening political negotiations with Damascus. Olmert knows that full disclosure of the operation would probably blow up the Israeli-Palestinian peace meeting in Annapolis that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hopes to convene this month. Among other problems, Arab states that Olmert and Rice hope will attend would surely cancel if they were obliged to react to an event that they have so far pointedly ignored.
Outside Jerusalem and the State Department, however, pressure for an official account of the raid -- or more important, for the intelligence that prompted it -- is growing. The International Atomic Energy Agency and its freelancing director, Mohamed ElBaradei, want to investigate the alleged reactor site. The agency's experts have been studying aerial photographs and asking U.S. officials for information. In theory, at least, an IAEA probe could compound the blow suffered by Assad by forcing him to explain -- on pain of possible sanctions by the U.N. Security Council -- whether and how Syria violated its commitments under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
So far the Bush administration has refused to cooperate with ElBaradei, who has all but openly sided with Iran in its attempt to deflect U.N. orders to freeze its uranium enrichment. Having debunked U.S. claims about a reborn Iraqi nuclear program in early 2003, ElBaradei would be certain to seize on any ambiguities in the Israeli and U.S. evidence about the Syrian reactor. If he raised doubts that the project was intended to produce plutonium, both Olmert and the Bush administration would be damaged.
There is, however, a petitioner much tougher to resist than the IAEA director: Republican representatives who are demanding that "every member of Congress be briefed on this incident, and as soon as possible," as Reps. Peter Hoekstra and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen put it in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. The two House members were already briefed because of their positions as ranking minority members on the intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees; what they heard evidently convinced them that possible covert collaboration between Syria and North Korea needs to be fully aired and debated before the United States proceeds with negotiations to end North Korea's bomb program.
Here some Bush administration officials are sympathetic. They have been frustrated by what they describe as the stubborn resistance of Rice to connect what was discovered in Syria to the North Korean disarmament talks. Rice's North Korean point man, Assistant Secretary Christopher Hill, told Congress last month that Pyongyang had been asked to disclose any cooperation with Syria as part of a promised full report on its weapons programs.
If it answers the question, North Korea may end up blowing the whistle on Damascus. And if it chooses to lie? Then the pressure on the Bush administration to disclose what it knows about the Israeli raid may become irresistible.

From The Times
November 3, 2007
By: Nicholas Blanford
The dimly lit basement reeks of hashish. Piled high along a wall are dozens of large white sacks filled with the leaves and seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. In one corner lies a sprawling 8ft-high haystack of dried marijuana plants awaiting threshing and sieving into powder and compressing into blocks of hashish.
With his armed bodyguards looking on, Abu Rida grasps a thick fluffy bunch of dried leaves and sniffs them appreciatively. “I believe that the hashish grown here is a blessed and holy plant,” he said.
Abu Rida has good reason to thank his blessings. The biggest cannabis farmer in Lebanon, he has just taken in the largest harvest of the lucrative crop since the late 1980s, when the sun-baked plains of the northern Bekaa Valley were awash with cannabis and opium poppies.
Usually, Lebanese police backed by soldiers and armoured vehicles destroy the cannabis crops just before harvesting in late summer. This year the overstretched Lebanese Army was unable to support the police raids because of security commitments elsewhere in the crisis-plagued country, including a three-month battle against Islamist militants in the north.
Also, the farmers were determined to protect their crops. Local tractor owners normally hired by the drug police to plough up the fields were warned by the farmers to stay away this year or their houses would be burnt down. When the police began tearing out cannabis plants by hand, the farmers shot at them from nearby buildings and woods with machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
One of those firing the rocket-propelled grenades was Abu Rida.
At 36, he has built a multi-million-dollar fortune from hashish. Sentenced to death in absentia by the Lebanese State for past drug-related murders, he lives in a fortified compound protected by gun-toting militiamen drawn from his home village.
The northern Bekaa is a lawless district where the Government carries little weight against the powerful tribal clans. In its dusty villages stolen cars and weapons are traded, opium resin from Turkey and Afghanistan is refined into heroin and coca paste from South America is turned into cocaine.
The pony-tailed Abu Rida, more than 6ft (1.8m) tall and powerfully built, keeps a 9mm automatic pistol in a shoulder holster slung beneath his jacket. “I run this village. Everybody works for me. We are a big clan and they all belong to me,” he said.
He agreed to talk freely but asked that his real name and the village where he lived should not be printed.
The fertile Bekaa Valley has a long history of growing the cannabis plant. It was not until the lawless years of the 1980s, midway through the 16-year Lebanese civil war, that cultivation soared, turning peasant farmers into multimillionaire drug lords and generating an annual economy of $500 million in one of the most impoverished areas of Lebanon.
The biggest dealer in the Bekaa was Jamil Hamieh, a farmer from Taraya village, who built a fortune from cannabis and heroin. At his height in the late 1980s, he hosted Colombian drug barons and Italian Mafia dons eager to buy his drugs. He is the only Lebanese cited on the US Government’s list of international drug kingpins.
Now retired, Hamieh lives in an air-conditioned tent, Bedouin style, erected beside the mansion he built for his family. “It wasn’t the Government that made me stop. I was tired of being ripped off by all the foreigners I was dealing with,” he said.
With the end of the war in 1990, the Lebanese Government, with the help of the United Nations Development Programme, ushered in a drug eradication programme to encourage farmers to grow alternative crops. The scheme met with success initially and by 1994 the Bekaa was declared drug-free. But the promised international funds to finance the programme did not materialise. By 2001 only $17 million of the pledged $300 million had arrived and the programme fizzled out a year later. Since then the disgruntled farmers have begun returning to cannabis cultivation in ever-growing numbers.
The northern Bekaa Valley is dominated by the militant Shia Hezbollah party of Lebanon. Officially, Hezbollah disapproves of drug production but it has chosen to turn a blind eye to the practice rather than confront the clans that dominate the area.
Abu Rida owes his continued freedom and survival to cash payouts to police, politicians, army officers and even clerics. He can afford to be generous. He cultivated more than 568 acres of cannabis this year. That was processed into 20 tonnes of resin – worth about $13 million (£6 million).