Hot off the Arab press

A short roundup of the latest Middle East news.

Smoggy-looking Egypt 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)
Smoggy-looking Egypt 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)
Abbas’s threat to dismantle the PA is not serious
Al Ghad daily, Amman, December 28 Debate over Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s threats to dismantle the PA has been reignited in the aftermath of achieving non-member status at the UN. The law gives the Palestinian Liberation Organization the right to dismantle itself without legal consequences, but the facts on the ground indicate that the Palestinian options vary between the dismantling the PA or restructuring its role and improving its performance. Observers believe the repetition of this warning and the PA’s inability to execute it amid the Israeli and Western states’ rejection make the threat unlikely to be carried out. They believe Palestinians are in an impasse as a result of the political deadlock and the internal Palestinian split. Abbas’ remarks reflect Palestinian frustration or can be read as an attempt to pressure Israel to go back to negotiations under the conditions of settlement freeze and clear terms of reference. A Hamas official expressed a national need to go back to the pre-1993, pre-Oslo Accords zone, to save the Palestinian national project.Jewish artists were part of Egypt’s cinema Al Quds Al Arabi, London, December 28 Egyptian cinematic history witnessed the emergence of Egyptian Jewish artists, whose ethnicity did not prevent them from expressing their talents and proving that Egypt did not distinguish between its sons – although many of those stars were accused of connections with Zionism. Togo Mizrahi was a prominent Egyptian director, but he was accused of collaborating with Zionists in 1948 and was expelled to Italy where he lived until his death in 1986. Nijma Ibrahim or Pauline Oudin was famous for her acting in villainous roles in several Egyptian movies. Although rumors say that she converted to Islam before her death in 1976, some confirm that she remained a Jew and helped arm the Egyptian Army through her theatrical plays. Layla Murad is a famous singer and actress who converted to Islam in 1946. In 1952, she was rumored to have donated money to Israel, so she contributed to a campaign to raise funds for the Egyptian Army and preferred to stay in Egypt until she died in 1995. Rakya Ibrahim or Rachel Abraham was a lead actress in several movies, but she was known for her deep faith in the Zionist project and participated in the assassination of a famous Egyptian dancer after which she emigrated to the United States.
The Turkish Parliament bans a famous TV series Al Bayan daily, Abu Dhabi, December 28 The Turkish Parliament decided to ban the most famous Turkish TV series, Sultan’s Harem, which has one of the highest ratings in the Arab countries. Millions of viewers are expected to be disappointed by this decision that was based on accusations that the series distorted the image of the Sultan Suleyman Al- Qanuni. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacked the series that depicts Al-Qanuni as a womanizer, and a lover who excessively drinks alcohol, raising fears that the series will cause “incorrect” perceptions of the history of the Ottoman Empire that contradict Islam, according to Time magazine.
The series will cease airing in 2013, although a few short episodes that were shot as a part of its third season will be broadcast. The Turkish Culture Ministry has announced that 150 million people watch the series that earned millions of dollars in revenue.
Egyptians hope for a better year amid negative economic indicators Al Sharq Al Awsat daily, London, January 1 Egyptians bade farewell to 2012 while hoping for a better year, but the political and economic unrest makes them skeptical that the future will bring better times. Analysts deemed last year the country’s worst in many years, warning that if the government doesn’t take decisive measures, the situation will be disastrous.
The decline of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar led many Egyptians to convert their pounds to dollars. However, President Mohamed Morsi expected that the currency will be stable soon amid governmental officials’ remarks that Egypt is planning to borrow $14.5 billion in the next two years after it receives an International Monetary Fund loan.
The planning minister said that the budget’s deficit is likely to reach 200 billion Egyptian pounds ($31.5 billion) if the economic reform plan is not applied. The plan was halted because of fears of public protests against it.