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Monday, May 7, 2007

Rice Cancels Trip to Israel and Palestine

OK, this just in 36 minutes ago. Any suggestions as to the true motive of why Rice canceled her visit "due to the Winograd report"? Any thoughts about the possibility that Israel ASKED her not to come? Any thoughts about just HOW Israel is going to wiggle out of this mess?

Rice cancels Israel visit due to Winograd report

Secretary of state, scheduled to visit Israel next week, cancels trip following publication of war report and political turmoil in Israel

Yitzhak Benhorin

Published: 05.07.07, 23:37 / Israel News

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has decided to cancel her planned trip to Israel in light of the political crisis in the country following the publication of the Winograd report, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said Monday.

Rice was scheduled to visit Israel immediately after her trip to Moscow next week.

"Yeah, I'd say it's a change in plans," McCormack said. "There's obviously a lot of politics in Israel that they're working through at this point, but we're going to continue our efforts to advance the Israeli-Palestinian track.

"But it should no way denote any lessening of our focus on the issue and our determination to help the two parties move the process forward," he added.

According to McCormack, "The political situation in Israel has become a bit more complex in the near term. I think that that's safe for anybody to see. But we're working closely with the government of Prime Minister Olmert, as well as partners on the Palestinian side.

"But all of that said, I - we remain confident that we are going to be able to work closely with both sides to try to advance this process."

A senior official said that Rice is considering traveling to Egypt instead of Israel, where she will meet with representatives of the Quartet: the UN, Russia and the EU.

State official also stressed that Rice's postponement of her visit will not prevent other State Department officials from visiting the region.

JUST in case you are not aware of what the Winograd Report stated:
The partial report by a government-appointed committee probing the Second Lebanon War on Monday accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of "severe failure" in exercising judgment, responsibility and caution during the outset of the war."

And in the meantime:

Saniora Discloses Israel-Hizbullah War Losses
Prime Minister Fouad Saniora said Monday last summer's 34-day war between Israel and Hizbullah has claimed 1.200 lives and wounded 4.400 people.
Saniora provided in a news conference the first official estimate of casualties sustained during the July-August war between Hizbullah and Israel.

He said 7.500 fishermen also sustained damage to their boats, nets and equipment due to heavy Israeli bombardment.

During the confrontation, Saniora said, 862 schools were damaged and 22 schools were completely destroyed.

Sappers from the Lebanese Army, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have defused 114.000 cluster bombs and 468 other types of bombs dropped by Israeli forces during the war, according to Saniora.

The Israeli offensive also damaged and destroyed 91 bridges throughout Lebanon as well as runways in Lebanon's three airports, according to Saniora.

He said most of the damage inflicted by the infra structure also has been repaired by government teams.

International donors provided Lebanon with 707 million dollars in aid, Saniora said.

AND Israel STILL has not handed over the detailed computer generated maps of where the cluster bombs were dropped on Lebanon last summer.

And NOT to forget, there IS an Arab Peace Plan on the table. Oh yeah, I forgot, Israel is having too many problems to discuss things right now.

And the beat goes on, and on, and on..........................

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