Hot off the Arab press

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East.

May 23, 2013 14:12
4 minute read.
Gan Haofel Archaeological Park.

Gan HaOfel Archaeological Park Jeusalem 370. (photo credit: Berthold Werner/Wikimedia Commons)

Al Quds Al Arabi, London, May 19

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is confused. He knows that Syria’s advanced weapons have moved to Hezbollah in Lebanon but at the same time he can’t send his weapons to demolish them the way he used to do because a Syrian response is more likely to occur. The Sunday Times reporter in Tel Aviv said that the Syrian rockets are ready to be launched and can stop Israeli commercial flights, even if they can’t reach Ben-Gurion Airport.Netanyahu had announced that moving weapons will be considered a declaration of war, but we think that these remarks are empty threats meant as psychological coercion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Netanyahu that any Israeli attack will be reciprocated after Russia refused Netanyahu’s rude demand not to send S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. We can say that the Israeli PM felt he was offended twice: the first when he failed to prevent these weapons from reaching Syria; and his fear of the weapons heading to Hezbollah for fear of starting a regional war.

Jadal e-magazine, Haifa, May 21

A poll that was carried out a week before the latest Israeli elections shows that Arab voters are aware of the limited influence of the Arab parties in the Knesset.

However, they think it’s important to have Arabs parties in the parliament despite their limited effect.

The voter assesses the Arab parties based on their nationalistic performance and the leaders’ qualifications, and only little importance is given to what material accomplishments these parties were able to achieve such as solving the economic problems, violence, defending land and housing issues, ending the occupation and fighting racism.

One can say that the behavior of Arab voters is rational: those who do not boycott elections utilize them as a way to express their dissatisfaction. The Arab voters look for collective benefits in issues like identity and confronting authorities. Practically, the Arab voter is protesting thorough voting.

Al Malaf News Agency, May 21

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, a lobby has been formed in the Knesset to advance the peace process between the Arabs and Israel. The head of the lobby, Hilik Bar, said that it will try to change the Israeli position on the Arab Peace Initiative and provide a majority for peace in the Knesset. Bar, a member of the Labor opposition party, said that Israel shamefully ignored the Arab Peace Initiative for the past 11 years, adding that this lobby is the first of its kind in Israel’s history.

Twenty parliament members joined the lobby ahead of its first meeting. Bar said that the majority of Israelis support a peace deal with the Palestinians based on the two-state solution, despite what he called the problems that face Palestinian-Israeli relations.

A recent alternative to the Arab Peace Initiative to accept land swaps between Palestinians and Israel gave the Arab-Israeli peace lobby a push.

Palestine News Network, Bethlehem, May 21

The Jerusalem and Aksa Committee in the Palestinian Legislative Council has warned of a new Israeli plan to fully Judaize Burak Square and the Umayyad palaces. Ghassan Shami, spokesperson for the committee, said that the project is a dangerous one to the occupied city of Jerusalem and includes building a large synagogue and an Israeli police station.

Shami added that the Israeli authorities have started the implementation of large drilling operations in the area of the Burak Wall, and continued drilling operations in the area of the Umayyad palaces over the past few days. He explained that Zionist drilling has a negative affect on the history of the area and the Islamic heritage as the excavations erase Arab and Islamic monuments in the area.

Al Arabiya website, Dubai, May 20

Taghreedat, the largest volunteer platform to “Arabize” digital content, announced it will translate major international university courses for Arab students free of charge. In partnership with Coursera, 9,000 translators and editors from 37 countries will start translating two math and economics university courses offered by Stanford and Duke universities.

Earlier this year Taghreedat (Tweets) called upon Arab volunteers to help translate WhatsApp, Gameloft and Wikimedia. Taghreedat translation moderators will manage project quality to ensure accurate translations. The Taghreedat-Coursera collaboration is one of the larger global partnerships that Coursera is planning with more than 15 translation organizations worldwide. The partnership will include translating courses into Coursera’s most popular student languages: Russian, Portuguese, Turkish, Japanese, Ukrainian, Kazakh and Arabic. Most of the translated courses are expected to be available by September.

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