Lebanon's highest Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah has issued an Islamic Fatwa (edict) banning "any form of normalization with Israel," the Beirut daily AL AKHBAR reported Monday. Fadlallah was quoted by the paper as saying, "Palestine, all of Palestine, in its Islamic Arab medium is a restricted area. Nobody has the right to infringe upon Palestine, and not one piece of this land should go to the enemy [Israel]." Fadlallah also requested his fellow clerics to adopt the same approach towards Israel.
Recent reports have suggested that some Arab countries have offered to take steps towards normalizing ties with Israel in exchange for the Jewish state to freeze settlements. The Palestinian Islamist faction Hamas, as well as the Lebanese Islamist organization Hizbullah have rejected such an offer, arguing that Arabs should not start to make concessions before direct peace negotiations actually start.
US President Barack Obama has pushed for restarting the Mideast peace process in a bid to establish a comprehensive peace in the region. Israel, however, has refused to freeze settlement activity in order to start holding direct talks. The Jewish state has demanded that Arabs provide "gestures of goodwill" towards Israel in exchange for freezing settlements. Qatar was reported to have offered to normalize ties with Israel, as the Palestinian Authority, through President Mahmoud Abbas, has refused to enter into direct talks before Israel freezes settlements. US Special Envoy to the Mideast held talks in Israel during the weekend, but no major breakthroughs were recorded. Peace Now said the Jewish state is to go ahead with the construction of 450 new settlement units in East Jerusalem. (See MER 1/9/09)
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|Title Annotation:||Domestic Report|
|Publication:||The Daily Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)|
|Date:||Sep 15, 2009|