Syndicated News from Lebanon
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 06:44:34 GMT
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 09:25:33 GMT
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:25:36 GMT
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Bundle up Against StormABC NewsA blustery storm dropped torrential rain and snow on Lebanon and Jordan on Wednesday, forcing aid agencies to scramble to distribute desperately needed winter supplies like blankets and plastic tarps to Syrian refugees who have sought safe haven in the ...
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 15:54:19 GMT
Israel's baiting game in LebanonHaaretzIsrael's baiting game in Lebanon. It would only take one provocation too many, either by Israel or Hezbollah, and the deceptive quiet on Israel's northern border will turn into brutal conflict. By Aaron Magid | Dec. 11, 2013 | 5:36 PM ...and more »
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 15:46:36 GMT
Fierce Lebanon storm highlights plight of Syria refugeesUSA TODAYBEIRUT? Heavy rain set in Tuesday as Lebanon braced itself for the full brunt of a winter storm that threatens thousands of Syrian refugees living in makeshift homes across the country. The full fury of the storm, named Alexa, is expected to hit early ...
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 13:53:18 GMT
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 16:28:18 GMT
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 17:43:19 GMT
Lebanon warming center well used during cold snapAlbany Democrat HeraldLEBANON ? A temporary warming center at the First Christian Church at 170 East Grant has hosted about 18 persons per night during the recent cold snap, volunteer Kim Ullfers told City Council members Wednesday evening. The center has been open ...
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 13:13:56 GMT
Lebanon News Snow covers Lebanon at low altitudesThe Daily StarBEIRUT: Lebanon witnessed Wednesday heavy snowfall in the northern and eastern regions at low altitudes as the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute warns ?Alexa? has not yet reached its peak. Despite growing fears of tragic costs as a result of ...
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 08:26:54 GMT
Lankan dead in LebanonDaily MirrorThe storm, which mainly affected the north and the east of Lebanon, has blocked many roads from Akkar to Hermel, from the Cedars to Ainata, and from Hadath al-Jibbe to Tannourine, due to snowfall. Sunny spells but bitterly cold wind engulfed the ...
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Results 1 - 10 of Headlines for Lebanon
Saturday, April 12th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
Tough Nuts to Crack -- The following article was written three hours before the assassination of the Iraqi Shiite cleric, Abd Al-Majid Khoei, whose father, the Grand Ayatollah Khoei, was persecuted by Saddam Hussein as the spiritual leader of "Iraq's 12 million Shiites."
Abd Al-Majid returned to Iraq from exile under coalition protection to take up a key role in the future federal government in Baghdad. He died on Thursday, April 10, when a melee that broke out in the Imam Ali Mosque of the holy town of Najaf was exploited by Baath agents in the crowd to commit the murder. A second Shiite cleric died with him.
Chirac Challenges Bush through Iraq's Shiites
Directly after the assassination, the Shiite community of Iraq was pulled in another unexpected direction “this time the outcome of a challenge France had decided to mount against the United States through a Shiite group."
Thursday night, April 10, a small Paris-based Shiite opposition faction published a call to Iraqi Shiites to rise up against the American occupation of Iraq with all their strength, including force of arms. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Paris sources have found that this group, which is headed by Dr. Abd Rikabi, is sponsored directly by the French intelligence DGSE service. It has a sparse following in most of Iraq's Shiite centers. This group would never have taken so extreme an initiative without DGSE sanction, which would have required approval from the President, Jacques Chirac. The inference here is that Chirac, using the Shiites as proxies, has embarked on a course of military confrontation against the American presence in Iraq. This course was predicted by the Russian president Vladimir Putin in a warning to President George W. Bush - as revealed on March 14 by DEBKA-Net-Weekly Issue No. 101.
Here Come the Warlords
Reporting on the battle for Basra, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military experts judge it to have been much more than a fight for control of the southern city. It was all about securing the coalition's fragile eastern front, where Iran's influence is prevalent in a predominantly Shiite area likely to be fertile ground for the coming guerrilla war against the Americans in Iraq. Already, Iranian agents are pouring into the Faw Peninsula, Umm Qassar, Basra and al-Amara, bringing in weapons, money and fighters.
Local tribal leaders watched from the sidelines as US armor rumbled towards Baghdad, leaving them free to take the opportunity of setting themselves up as warlords after American military might had gone by. Already, they are staking claims to patches of territory and establishing militias with Iranian largesse and encouragement. Lawlessness reminiscent of the Pakistani-Afghan border is swiftly taking over and could soon threaten Iraq's southern oil fields.
The old British colonial power that once ruled Iraq is back but failed to take hold of the Faw Peninsula where Iraqi deserters are congregating and rearming for the next round of hostilities.
Neither have the British 7th armored division (Desert Rats) and 16th assault brigade, deployed along a line east of the Shatt al-Arab, been able to prevent Iran from asserting control over the strategic waterway and threatening to turn it into the lawless militias' main logistical supply and communication channel. Like coalition forces elsewhere in Iraq, the British were only partially successful because they simply did not have enough forces on the ground to do any more.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources report that, along with the looting, militias are sprouting in all Iraq's main cities. The first turf wars are erupting over the control of urban districts.
The militias are set up on religious and tribal lines, a contributing factor to the American nightmare of wholesale slaughter in the cities. Isolated "pockets of resistance" could turn in an instant to a volatile brew of Shiite and Sunni Muslim militias at each other's throats, a constant thorn in the side of US forces as they battle Saddam's "jihad" guerrilla bands.
Over the past week, the United States has gone to great lengths to win over the largely secular Shiite population of the big cities. Six out of 10 Iraqis are Shiite, according to US estimates. Iran puts the figure at 75 percent of Iraq's population of 22 million.
The Americans are racing Iran and Saddam for Shiite hearts and minds. The United States made intense efforts this week to persuade Grand Ayatollah Sistani, the senior Shiite authority in Iraq, to publish a fatwa, or religious edict, calling on Shiite believers to cooperate with coalition forces. US sources insisted that Sistani agreed in a secret meeting in Najaf with Colonel Chris Hughes of the US 101st Airborne Division and Shiite agents of the CIA to call on his people not to resist American troops.
Two days later, Sistani's office in London disavowed this call.
Adding to US dismay, the next day Iraqi television broadcast what it said was the voice of a senior Shiite clergyman reading a fatwa issued by five religious leaders calling on the Shiites to fight US and British forces to the death.
But the United States has another card up its sleeve “Abd Al-Majid Khoei, its main Shiite ally and leader of some 3,000 Shiite fighters funded by Washington and based in Kuwait. Khoei was in Basra at the beginning of the war some three weeks ago and informed US General Tommy Franks, the supreme coalition commander, the city had fallen. That was premature and the Americans hustled him out of Basra. He is now in Najaf where he has been trying unsuccessfully to be received by Sistani or the ayatollah's associates and request a favorable fatwa.
Undeterred by Sistani's snub, Khoei made the rounds of Shiite adherents living in Najaf and Karbala, lobbying them for greater cooperation with the US military. He has met with only partial success, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources in the area, but in Najaf managed to reopen Shiite shrines shut down by Saddam Hussein, including the Imam Ali central mosque. The Republican Guards had taken possession of the shrine and was preparing to use it as a firing position, when the local populace forced them to drop their plan.
American officers in Najaf and Karbala have found the local populace deeply concerned with the situation of their fellow believers in Baghdad. They offered assurances that the Shiites in the capital should have no fear of being harmed any more than their coreligionists in Najaf and Karbala.
Besides Khoei, the Americans are attempting to influence the population through two other prominent Shiite clerics Sayyad Bahar el-Olum and Ayatollah Hussein Sadr. They are also courting the Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammed Bshaq Bayat.
A secular Shiite, Ahmed Chalabi, the London-based leader of the opposition Iraqi National Congress, was also asked by Washington to help out. The United States flew him along with some 300 to 400 fighters and 250 people whom he believes will be part of a new Iraqi government from the northern city of Dohuk to Talil, the main US base of air operations in Iraq. From there, he moved to Nasiriyah in the south to spread word of the prominent role the United States is promising the Shiites in post-war central government, if they show their support for the American action in Iraq.
A Destabilizing Wind from Lebanon
The Lebanese Hizballah's terrorist-ideologue, Sheikh Hassan Fadlallah, member of the Lebanese group's Politburo and the Ayatollah Sistani's foremost rival as religious authority in the Shiite world, has already thrown himself into the creation of Saddam's "jihad" guerrilla underground. Sistani by refraining from throwing his support behind the United States implicitly adds his weight to Saddam's schemes.
Tehran is continuing to push its candidate, Mohamad Baqr Al Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, for a senior government position in post-war Baghdad against the candidacy of Majid Khoei. The Iranians threaten to stir up Iraqi Shiites against the Americans if they do not get their way. Before launching the war, the Americans welcomed Al Hakim but have discovered since that his influence in the Shiite community of Iraq is marginal, and are brushing off Iran's threats.
Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
Firefights broke out Sept. 5 when Lebanese troops besieged a Palestinian refugee camp near Baalbek in Syrian-controlled eastern Lebanon. Lebanese Interior Minister Elias Murr said the troops were looking for arms caches.
A day later, however, after meeting with camp leaders and Syrian military intelligence, the troops deployed armor around the Jalil refugee camp and set up roadblocks and checkpoints, searching vehicles and checking motorists’ identification. These are all clear indications that the soldiers are seeking people, not weapons. Lebanon’s actions -- backed by Syria -- may help answer U.S. calls to crack down on terrorism.
The measures likely are intended to pacify a bellicose Washington by actually purging militant groups, but they could have the unintended effect of strengthening the Hezbollah and Fatah organizations in Lebanon by removing smaller competitors from the scene. Both of the larger groups participate in Lebanese politics and engage in militant activity. With the legitimacy of a government and the tools and determination to fight a war, these groups will pose a long-term dilemma for the Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli governments.
Saturday, August 31st, 2002
: RCN Administrator
As the fight for liberty, democracy, and our Judeo-Christian values continues in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians, there is yet another poignant and untold story right across the border. Christian Coalition of America President Roberta Combs said, “Lebanon is the only other biblical land on which our Lord Jesus Christ set foot during His Ministry. The Psalms contain numerous references to the snow-capped mountains of Lebanon and to the cedar forests that dot its peaks.”
Lebanon and its Christian people continue today to endure persecution by the rising Islamic tide of fundamentalism, but also abandonment by the West. Lebanon, its people, and its Western friends - including among many others, our 241 US Marines slaughtered in October 1983 by a Hezbollah homicide bomber - were indeed the first victims of radical Islamic terrorism from the late sixties through today.
Since its establishment as a State after World War I, and its full independence as the Republic of Lebanon in 1943, Lebanon remained a staunch friend of the West and a parliamentary democracy in an otherwise unstable and pro-Soviet Arab world. The Christians of Lebanon struggled very hard to maintain this tolerant and open character to their country, and managed for decades to secure the partnership of their fellow Lebanese Muslims.
Unfortunately, with the founding of the PLO in 1965 and its dedication to the destruction of Israel, and the anti-Western campaign in the Arab World at the time, Lebanon gradually fell into the hands of Syria - a country on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism - and a number of terrorist organizations (the PLO, Hezbollah) and other countries such as Iran. As the Lebanese Christians tried to fight off the Islamization and radicalization of their country, they appealed to the West for help, but were shrugged off as hardliners and right wing fanatics by a West more interested in securing the flow of oil than in helping a free country against the Arab-Islamic onslaught. The rest is history.
Even under the duress of the current Syrian occupation, the Lebanese people remain staunch friends of the US and must be helped to return to the Free World. That can only happen with the end of the Syrian occupation and the withdrawal of the Syrian troops and their proxy terrorist groups.
A bipartisan bill entitled "The Syria Accountability Act" (H.R. 4483 authored by Majority Leader Dick Armey and Representative Eliot L. Engel in the House; 150+ co-sponsors); and (S. 2215 authored by Senator Rick Santorum and Senator Barbara Boxer in the Senate; 35 co-sponsors) was introduced last April. Hearings are scheduled to begin on September 12. This legislation calls for an end of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, the cessation by Syria of all terrorist activities, the end of an oil-smuggling scheme by Syria to help Iraq, and the cessation by Syria of its development of weapons of mass destruction. Like Iraq, Syria is guilty of all these activities, but unlike Iraq, Syria has escaped sanctions and remains the only country branded as a terrorist state with whom the US has diplomatic relations.
"The Syria Accountability Act" calls for imposing economic sanctions on Syria if it does not comply with the requirements of the bill. The legislation intends to clear up this ambiguity in our relations with the terrorist dictatorship that is in Syria. As President Bush said "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists". Syria must make a decision, and the H.R.4483/S.2215 prompts it to do so now after 30 years of mayhem and duplicity.
Combs said, “The bill is good for Lebanon, but more importantly, it is good for America. How can we live with our conscience if we do not support our friends who have suffered for 3 decades what we have suffered for only a year? Perhaps if we can multiply our own pain by 30 years, we can begin to imagine their pain.”
Please call your Representatives and Senators if they are not listed on the list of cosponsors below and urge them to co-sponsor “The Syria Accountability Act” which has been introduced as H.R.4483 (in the House of Representatives) and S.2215 (in the Senate). Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or go to: http://la-cd.org/saa/ to write or email your elected official.
Cosponsors of “The Syria Accountability Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives:
AL Sonny Callahan, R-1st; Terry Everett, R-2nd; Bob Riley, R-3rd; Robert Aderholt, R-4th; Robert Cramer, D-5th; Spencer Bachus, R-6th. | AR Marion Berry, D-1st; Michael Ross, D-4th. | AZ John Shadegg, R-4th; J. D. Hayworth, R-6th. | CA Robert Matsui, D-5th; Lynn Woolsey, D-6th; Tom Lantos, D-12th; Sam Farr, D-17th; Brad Sherman, D-24th; Howard Berman, D-26th; Adam Schiff, D-27th; Henry Waxman, D-29th; Ken Calvert, R-43th; Mary Bono, R-44th; Loretta Sanchez, D-46th; Susan Davis, D-49th. | CO Diana DeGette, D-1st; Scott McInnis, R-3rd; Bob Schaffer, R-4th; Joel Hefley, R-5th; Thomas Tancredo, R-6th. | CT Robert Simmons, R-2nd; Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd; Christopher Shays, R-4th; James Maloney, D-5th. | FL Ric Keller, R-8th; Dave Weldon, R-15th; Mark Foley, R-16th; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-18th; Robert Wexler, D-19th; Peter Deutsch, D-20th; Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-21st; E. Clay Shaw, R-22nd; Alcee Hastings, D-23rd. | GA Jack Kingston, R-1st; Mac Collins, R-3rd; Saxby Chambliss, R-8th; Charlie Norwood, R-10th; John Linder, R-11th. | ID C. L. Otter, R-1st. | IL William Lipinski, D-3rd; Luis Gutierrez, D-4th; Rod Blagojevich, D-5th; Janice Schakowsky, D-9th; Jerry Weller, R-11th; Jerry Costello, D-12th; Lane Evans, D-17th; David Phelps, D-19th; John Shimkus, R-20th. | IN Mike Pence, R-2nd; Mark Souder, R-4th; Dan Burton, R-6th. | KS Dennis Moore, D-3rd. | KY Anne Northup, R-3rd; Kenneth Lucas, D-4th. | LA David Vitter, R-1st. | MA James McGovern, D-3rd; Barney Frank, D-4th; Edward Markey, D-7th. | MD Albert Wynn, D-4th; Roscoe Bartlett, R-6th; Constance Morella, R-8th. | MI Bart Stupak, D-1st; Fred Upton, R-6th; Joe Knollenberg, R-11th; Sander Levin, D-12th; Lynn Rivers, D-13th. | MN Mark Kennedy, R-2nd; Jim Ramstad, R-3rd; Betty McCollum, D-4th. | MO Samuel Graves, R-6th. | MS Charles Pickering, R-3rd; Ronnie Shows, D-4th. | NC Bob Etheridge, D-2nd; Howard Coble, R-6th; Robert Hayes, R-8th. | NE Lee Terry, R-2nd. | NJ Robert Andrews, D-1st; Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd; Jim Saxton, R-3rd; Christopher Smith, R-4th; Frank Pallone, D-6th; Michael Ferguson, R-7th; Steven Rothman, D-9th; Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-11th; Rush Holt, D-12th. | NV Shelley Berkley, D-1st; Jim Gibbons, R-2nd. | NY Felix Grucci, R-1st; Steve Israel, D-2nd; Peter King, R-3rd; Carolyn McCarthy, D-4th; Joseph Crowley, D-7th; Jerrold Nadler, D-8th; Anthony Weiner, D-9th; Edolphus Towns, D-10th; Major Owens, D-11th; Carolyn Maloney, D-14th; Eliot Engel, D-17th; Nita Lowey, D-18th; Sue Kelly, R-19th; Benjamin Gilman, R-20th; Michael McNulty, D-21st; John Sweeney, R-22nd. | OH Ted Strickland, D-6th; Patrick Tiberi, R-12th; Deborah Pryce, R-15th; Steven LaTourette, R-19th. | OK John Sullivan, R-1st; Brad Carson, D-2nd. | PA Robert Brady, D-1st; Melissa Hart, R-4th; Tim Holden, D-6th; Curt Weldon, R-7th; Joseph Hoeffel, D-13th; Joseph Pitts, R-16th; George Gekas, R-17th; Todd Platts, R-19th; Phil English, R-21st. | SC Henry Brown, R-1st; Joe Wilson, R-2nd. | TN Zach Wamp, R-3rd; Bob Clement, D-5th; Bart Gordon, D-6th; Ed Bryant, R-7th; Harold Ford, D-9th. | TX Sam Johnson, R-3rd; Pete Sessions, R-5th; Nick Lampson, D-9th; Chet Edwards, D-11th; Kay Granger, R-12th; Henry Bonilla, R-23rd; Martin Frost, D-24th; Richard Armey, R-26th; Ciro Rodriguez, D-28th. | VA Jo Ann Davis, R-1st; Edward Schrock, R-2nd; J. Randy Forbes, R-4th; Eric Cantor, R-7th. | WA Jay Inslee, D-1st; | WI Thomas Petri, R-6th; Mark Green, R-8th.
Cosponsors of “The Syria Accountability Act” in the U.S. Senate:
AL Jeff Sessions, R; | AR Tim Hutchinson, R; | AZ Jon Kyl, R; | CA Dianne Feinstein, D; Barbara Boxer, D; | CO Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R; Wayne Allard, R; | GA Joseph Cleland, D; Zell Miller, D; | IA Tom Harkin, D; | ID Michael Crapo, R; | IL Richard Durbin, D; | IN Evan Bayh, D; | KY Jim Bunning, R; | LA Mary Landrieu, D; | MD Barbara Mikulski, D; | ME Olympia Snowe, R; Susan Collins, R; | MI Carl Levin, D; Debbie Stabenow, D; | MO Jean Carnahan, D; | MT Max Baucus, D; Conrad Burns, R; | NC John Edwards, D; | ND Kent Conrad, D; | NH Bob Smith, R; | NJ Robert Torricelli, D; Jon Corzine, D; | NV John Ensign, R; | NY Charles Schumer, D; Hillary Clinton, D; | OK James Inhofe, R; | PA Rick Santorum, R; | SD Tim Johnson, D; | WI Russell Feingold, D; |
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Wednesday, July 24th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
A California-based Christian Lebanese organization known as The International Maronite Congress put Maronite political leaders in Lebanon in a difficult position after recently calling for U.S. assistance to oust Syria from Lebanon. A group of Maronite parliament members in Lebanon are putting together a new political grouping in opposition to such an overture toward Washington, the Lebanese Daily Star reported July 24.
This group includes several senior Maronite politicians such as Defense Minister Khalil Hrawi and the son of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. Its creation -- and efforts to distance itself from the expatriate Maronite community in the United States -- may translate into a potential fracturing of the local Maronite leadership in Lebanon, which would be an important victory for Damascus over the anti-Syrian movement in the country.
It also could limit U.S. options in the region at a time when Washington may be calling on Syria to cooperate in a war against Iraq and possibly looking to regional groups like the Lebanese Christians for support.
The Maronite community in Lebanon is the single-largest Christian group in the country, and it has been at the forefront of the movement against Syria’s presence in Lebanon. Syria has an estimated 35,000 soldiers deployed in the country and wields considerable political influence over Lebanese affairs. The anti-Syrian movement in the country mainly emerged following the death of Syrian President Hafez Assad in 2000.
Although the government is controlled by the minority Alawite ethnic clan, the predominately Muslim Syria is more closely aligned with Muslim groups in Lebanon. This alliance, in turn, limits the political power of Lebanon’s Maronite Christian community, which accounts for about 30 percent of the country’s 3.6 million people.
Factions within the Maronite leadership had hoped to exploit uncertainty in Syria following Hafez Assad’s death to weaken Damascus’ stranglehold on Lebanon. In recent months, however, the anti-Syria movement’s popularity has waned as attention turned to the situation in Israel and Lebanon’s troubled economy.
At its meeting in Los Angeles in June, the International Maronite Congress adopted several resolutions, including one that called for the group to "appeal to the United Nations, and governments throughout the world, especially the United States, to support Lebanon in its efforts to regain its national sovereignty through the total withdrawal of Syrian and all foreign troops from its territories, and the end of the Syrian political, judicial, military and economic hegemony over Lebanon."
Though the meeting was held in the United States, the adopted resolutions could have real consequences for politicians in Lebanon. A range of Lebanese politicians already was in attendance at the conference, including parliamentarians and members of Maronite organizations, according to information on the group’s Web site.
Damascus isn’t likely to look favorably upon those who attended. Maintaining a balanced and working relationship with Syria is probably one of the chief reasons why the new grouping of Lebanese parliamentarians rejected the resolution, arguing that it had "no intention of seeking Western assistance," a clear reference to the International Maronite Congress’ call appealing to Washington to help oust Syria from Lebanon.
By distancing themselves from the Maronite diaspora in the United States, the Lebanese politicians speak to the situation on the ground. Unlike expatriates in the United States, they must live and work in an environment still greatly controlled by Syria and its allies. Threatening to ally with the United States against Damascus could be political suicide.
The move by the Lebanese politicians will also reverberate in the United States, where the importance of the Lebanese Arab community to a U.S. administration looking for allies in the Levant will fall. Back in Syria and Lebanon, the fracturing of the Maronites and the creation of a Maronite political grouping willing to work with Damascus will ease pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad, and perhaps give him a freer hand to further reform efforts.
Moreover, the Maronites themselves may now try to reposition themselves in the Lebanese political landscape, forcing other groups like the Islamic Gathering Movement, a grouping of Sunni clerics and smaller Chrisitan groups, to adjust their own political strategies and platforms.
Thursday, July 11th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
Imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti would be expelled to Lebanon under a deal taking shape between Israel and the Hezbollah guerrillas, Israel Army Radio reported Friday.
The report said Israel would send Barghouti through Lebanon to exile in Europe, release about 100 prisoners and return the bodies of dozens of Hezbollah guerrillas. In exchange, Hezbollah would free Elhanan Tennenbaum, an Israeli citizen abducted in October 2000, and return the bodies of three Israeli soldiers abducted from the Israel-Lebanon border around the same time.
On Thursday Israel announced that Barghouti, the West Bank leader of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, would be put on trial in a civilian court. Israel says that Barghouti directed attacks against Israelis by Fatah-affiliated militias. Barghouti has insisted that he is a political leader and is not involved in violence.
Barghouti’s lawyer, Jawad Boulos, said neither he nor Barghouti had been approached about such a deal, but "if Barghouti’s name is included on the Hezbollah list, this would not be a surprise and would not be rejected out of hand."
The report said the negotiations were being handled by the German government, and to a lesser extent, the United States. Relatives of Tennenbaum and the abducted soldiers had meetings with U.S. officials in Washington this week.
Israeli Defense Ministry spokeswoman Rachel Niedak-Ashkenazi refused to comment on the report. "We will not relate to this," she said. "The activity is taking place outside the ministry."
In an interview with Al-Manar TV, the Hezbollah station, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah confirmed that "serious" contacts are in progress. "I can say that some progress has been made," Nasrallah said, "but we have not yet reached the points which in reality fulfill our demands that are of a humanitarian character."
He said the negotiations were focused on the number rather than names of Palestinian prisoners Hezbollah hopes will be released in any exchange.
In renewed violence, two Palestinian was killed and three wounded, two critically, in a clash in Gaza early Friday, Palestinians said. Israeli troops entered the town of Dir al-Balah and exchanged fire with police, killing an officer, and searched houses, they said. After the soldiers withdrew Friday morning, the body of a 17-year-old was found in a field. The Israeli military said soldiers arrested a terror suspect, exchanging fire with Palestinians during the operation.
Also, Israeli forces discovered and blew up an arms-smuggling tunnel under the Egyptian border into the Gaza town of Rafah, the military said Friday.
Overnight, Israeli forces arrested nine Palestinians in the northern West Bank, and on Friday morning, Israeli troops ordered Palestinian males between the ages of 13 and 50 to report to a school, Palestinians said, adding that the Israelis were apparently looking for a gun stolen from an armored vehicle.
Israeli forces remain in control of seven of the eight main Palestinian towns and cities, enforcing curfews and searching for terror suspects. The Israelis moved in June 20 after back-to-back homicide bombings killed 26 Israelis in Jerusalem.
Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Thursday that in the past two weeks, Israeli forces have stopped "about 14 suicide [bombers and] three cars full of explosives." He said pulling out of Palestinian areas would "endanger all the residents of Israel."
In talks in Denmark on Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Israel plans to ease restrictions that have crippled the Palestinian economy, according to a statement from his office.
Peres said 30,000 Palestinians would be given permission to work in Israel, and Israel would gradually release funds to the Palestinian Authority if it could be assured that the money would not finance terror attacks. Before the violence erupted, about 150,000 Palestinians worked in Israel.
Barghouti, 43, was captured in a raid in the Ramallah area on April 15, when Israeli forces were in control of several West Bank towns and cities during a six-week incursion that had begun two weeks earlier. He has been held in Shin Bet security service lockups since then and has not been charged.
Israeli Justice Ministry spokesman Yaakov Galanti said Thursday that Barghouti would be indicted in connection with a number of attacks, but he did not list them. Israel charges that Barghouti was the commander of Tanzim militias and had ties to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, groups that have taken responsibility for many attacks against Israelis.
An Israeli statement said four other captured Palestinians will be put on trial: Nasser Awais, commander of the Al Aqsa militia in the Nablus area; Tabet Mardawi, a leader of the Islamic Jihad in Jenin; Abas Sayed, a Hamas leader; and Nasser Abu Hamid, Al Aqsa leader in Ramallah.