- Walid Jumblatt, Lebanese Druze leader
The following headlines (with excerpts therefrom) all appeared on a single page in the International section of the Guardian. (Yes, you heard that right The Guardian.)
But the family of Abdullah Badran, the 21-year-old who blew himself up at the entrance to a Tel Aviv nightclub on Friday, killing five Israelis, were left alone in their grief.
For seven days after a burial a Palestinian family receives mourners, normally a big social even involving colourful banners and patriotic music.
But yesterday seven members of the family occupied the otherwise empty chairs and when asked if Abdullah's death had achieved anything they all shoook their heads, and one said no in English . . .
Sami Qadan said the whole town was shocked and angered by the bombing and in protest no one was paying respects to the family.
"Things were getting better and then no sooner do we have money coming in again then it is stopped by this suicide bombing. This intifada has killed us . . . and we want it to stop."
A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Abbas had condemned the Tel Aviv bombing that killed five Israelis last Friday and had promised to bring the perpetrators to justice . . .
The remit of the London conference is . . . reform of the Palestinian security services, the economy and government.
"I took the reins of this initiative in order to start a new era of reform," Mr Mubarak said. "The president will be elected through direct, secret ballotting, opening the opportunity for political parties to run." He was convinced, he said, "of the need to consolidate efforts for more freedom and democracy" . . .
Reformers have been putting pressure on Mr Mubarak with increasing vigour . . . the street-level Kifaya (Enough) movement, which has taken inspiration from similarly named activist groups in Serbia and Ukraine, and most recently in Lebanon.
Additionally, this from the New York Times:
The most important include the emergence of an elected Shiite majority government next door in Iraq, the campaign for municipal elections here in the country's first nationwide polls and a relaxation in some of the discrimination that Shiites have long faced in the kingdom.
Sheik Hassan al-Saffar, a dissident Shiite cleric who has been jailed and spent the 15 years before 1995 in exile, spoke for an hour in one candidate's campaign tent on the first big night of electioneering. Even limited elections are important, he said, "because they ignited in people's minds the spark of thinking about their interests and aspirations."
Sheik Saffar also drew parallels to Iraq, saying voting was the least Saudis could do, considering the risks their brethren had taken next door to exercise this new freedom.
And, finally, this from the Washington Post:
The potential payoff is a big one: another free election in the Arab world this spring, an independent Lebanon and, just possibly, a change in Syria. The old, corrupt order in Beirut, as in Baghdad, is crumbling.
Oh and because I can't resist, here's a link to Mark Steyn's new piece in The Spectator, which does all the gloating I'm too, erm, polite to do. The last two paragraphs are worth the price of admission alone.