Yediot Aharonot says that nobody has proposed changing Lebanon’s power-sharing arrangement (Christian President, Sunni Prime Minister and Shiite Parliament Speaker),
based on an over 40-year-old census, even though Shi’ite Muslims are more numerous than either Christians or Sunni Muslims in Lebanon, because “Any change would lead to an explosion.” The author speculates that “The situation would not be so combustible,” if a wilier politician than Saad Hariri (“a spoiled billionaire, dependent on France and Saudi Arabia, and completely lacking in charisma”) was Prime Minister, and says that Hariri must choose between pursuing justice vis-ŕ-vis his murdered father or “ignoring the accusations against the Hezbollah assassins and those in senior positions in Damascus who dispatched them.” The paper notes that even if Hariri would like to follow up on such indictments as may be, Lebanon’s President and Chief-of-Staff will not support him in trying to detain the accused or become embroiled with either Syria or Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The author comments that it is no wonder that Hariri has been flying abroad so much of late since “It is much safer for him in his private plane.” The paper warns that if Hariri does not disavow the international tribunal’s findings, Lebanon will lapse into chaos that could eventually draw in Syria and Israel.
Ma’ariv reminds its readers that US President Barack Obama recently decided to exploit the current Congressional recess and appoint a US Ambassador to Syria without having to win Senate confirmation, which, in any case, he could not obtain. The author believes that the new ambassador’s chief responsibility will be “to check what role Damascus will play in neutralizing the explosive report on the Hariri murder, and to persuade it to rein in Hezbollah.” The paper suggests that “It is uncertain whether returning the US Ambassador to Damascus is a correct move,” but adds that “In the current situation, the damage is not dramatic. In the end, it is another ineffective move vis-ŕ-vis Damascus, more treading water. What the Americans lack in Damascus is not an ambassador, but a policy.”
Yisrael Hayom says that the outcome of the Katsav trial finally buried the claim that “a victim’s silence over years indicates a lack of credibility.” The author asserts that “Israel needs to be proud that it is a light unto many nations in that it is a country that respects a woman’s right to her body.”
The Jerusalem Post asserts that “The plight of Egypt’s ancient Coptic community seems to be going from bad to worse.” Despite comprising some 12.5% of the total population, Copts are severely discriminated against in Egypt, and the editor senses that “it may be that the regime will resort to further discriminatory measures against them to appease Islamists and deflect criticism.” If that will be the case, the editor says, “There is relatively little that the West can do to help.”
Haaretz contends that Labor Party leader Ehud Barak has failed to live up to his election campaign promises, and should therefore quit the coalition government. The editor states: “The Labor Party desperately needs to put its house in order and acquire a new and invigorated leadership, and it must join the opposition. If it doesn’t, it will find itself not only outside the government, but outside the Knesset as well.”