UPDATED Middle East Inside Line: Lebanon Warning, Obama on Iran Sanctions, Clash within Palestinian Authority
Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded sharply, "Hezbollah murdered his father (former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, assassinated in 2005 by unknown assailants) and he is in the position of being a hostage."
Clash in Gaza: Responding to two Gaza-made rockets fired into southern Israel on Sunday and Monday, the Israeli Air Force launched missiles into the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday. A military spokesman said, "The Israel Defense Forces will continue to act firmly against anyone who uses terror against Israel, and we see Hamas as solely responsible for maintaining peace and quiet in the Gaza Strip."
Split in Israeli Cabinet: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Monday that they intend to promote a bill that would let Israeli citizens vote from abroad in Knesset elections. However, Minister of Defence Ehud Barak was quick to criticize his the measure:
I strongly object to granting the right to vote to Israelis living permanently abroad. Only those people who are here with us and who bear the risks and burden of being here should be allowed to vote in Israel.
Obama Proclaims More Sanctions on Iran: President Barack Obama declared last night that a series of sanctions on Iran are to be developed in the coming several weeks, though he could not assure China's support in the UN Security Council.
Palestinian Authority Out in West Bank?: In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Fahmi Shabaneh, who until recently was in charge of the Anti-Corruption Department in the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence Service (GIS), warned that Hamas' victory the Fatah-controlled regime in Gaza in 2006-7 is likely to recur in the West Bank. He said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had surrounded himself with many of the corrupt officials who used to work for his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, and added: “It’s hard to find people in the West Bank who support the Palestinian Authority. People are fed up with the financial corruption and mismanagement of the Palestinian Authority.”
The PA said on Wednesday morning that Shabaneh's allegations were part of an Israeli conspiracy aimed at undermining Abbas because of his refusal to return to the negotiation table unconditionally.