Jerusalem – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will arrive on Saturday night for a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, for the first time since he took office.
He will spend his first day in Ramallah, having meetings with Abu Mazen and other senior Palestinian officials. Ban does not intend to meet Hamas members. His second day will be devoted to Israel. He will have breakfast with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, after which he will visit Yad Vashem and lay a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance and plant a tree in the Forest of the Nations. He will have lunch with Acting President Dalia Itzik at the President’s Residence.
The U.N. secretary-general will have meetings with the families of the soldiers who have been missing since the battle at Sultan Yaakub, the mother of the missing soldier Gai Hever, and the families of the kidnapped soldiers, Shalit, Goldwasser and Regev.
Ban will also meet Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. On Tuesday, he will be taken on a helicopter trip along the separation fence, accompanied by a senior IDF officer. After that, he will move on to Jordan.
On the eve of his visit, Ban said it would be a mistake for the world to boycott Palestinian cabinet ministers who are not members of Hamas.
He said the establishment of the Palestinian government is a positive development, but he was disappointed that the new Palestinian government rejected the principles of the Quartet – to recognize Israel and to cease terror.
Mofaz: ‘Iran En Route To Nuclear Missile’
Shaul Mofaz, who is deputy prime minister and minister for strategic dialogue, is making an official visit to India, in which the main topics are the Iranian threat, the situation in Lebanon and the Palestinian unity government.
Mofaz, whose family moved from Iran to Israel when he was a boy, has met Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is number two in the government hierarchy. The meeting was very special because for years there have been no meetings between high-level Indian and Israeli ministers. This meeting became possible because the two have known each other for years, since they both served as defense ministers.
Mofaz told the Indian minister that the Iranians already have a Shihab 3 missile with a range of 1,400 kilometers, and are now working hard to develop the Shihab 4 and 5, which will be able carry nuclear warheads.
On the situation in Lebanon, Mofaz said the Siniora government is weak and that Syria is strengthening opposition forces and sending anti-tank missiles to Hezbollah.
Mofaz emphasized that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 is not being enforced and is being eroded and is losing its value, and that Hezbollah is returning to the position it held before the war.
Hamas Recruits In Egypt
The Middle East Newsline reports that the ruling Hamas movement has been recruiting operatives in neighboring Egypt.
Egyptian security sources have told the Middle East Newsline that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been operating in the Sinai Peninsula. They said Hamas joined Jihad in recruiting suicide bombers and establishing a support network for the flow of insurgents and weapons from Egypt to the Gaza Strip.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com.
©The Bulletin 2007