Hot off the Arab press

A short roundup of the latest Middle East news.

PARIS HILTON 521 (photo credit: Reuters)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Egyptians accuse Israeli spokesman of stealing their art
Al Masri Al Youm daily, Cairo, January 8 Israeli Prime Minister’s Office spokesman to the Arab media Ofir Gendelman infuriated the Arab journalists following him on Twitter and Facebook by borrowing a sentence from an Egyptian song. Gendelman expressed his happiness and pride that Israel took 14th place in the World’s Happiest Countries Index by quoting a line from a famous national Egyptian song, “My country, Oh my country, I love you my country,” originally recorded by two respected Egyptian singers.
Arab Facebook and Twitter followers accused him of stealing Arabic and Egyptian culture and art. In response, Gendelman stated that music has no borders, adding that Israelis also listen to and enjoy Arabic songs and have no problem with Arabs liking Israeli songs.Assad comes closer to his end
Al Youm daily editorial, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 7 Sunday was a black day for the Syrian people. As Syrians and the world waited for President Bashar Assad’s speech, hoping that he had regained his sanity and felt the pain of massacring his own people, Assad only proved that his thinking has deteriorated even further.
The president proved that he is more devoted to Syria’s enemies and agents of foreign intervention in his country than to his own people.
The paper noted that the tone of Assad’s speech seemed to indicate that the Syrian regime might be fighting its last battle, as the rebels are liberating more land and are approaching the presidential palace. The paper said that the Syrian president borrowed an Iranian public relations ploy by appearing victorious when actually losing. The best example of that in the paper’s view is the “victory” Hezbollah is still claiming even though much of Lebanon was severely damaged in its 2006 war with Israel.The secret behind Fatah’s celebration in Gaza
Al Ayyam daily, Ramallah, January 8 Around 500,000 to 700,000 people joined Fatah’s anniversary celebration in the Gaza Strip Friday. The participation of 40 percent of Gaza’s population is a sign of people’s loyalty to Fatah, which launched the Palestinian revolution.
The crowds angrily accused Israel of “racist” measures, especially withholding Palestinian tax revenues to punish the Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah.
Fatah supporters declared their opposition to Hamas’s authoritarian rule in the Gaza Strip as they fear that Hamas might take over total control of the Palestinian political system, a fear which has helped unite Fatah’s competing sectors.
The Palestinians face a historic moment that could lead Hamas and Fatah to reunite, especially at a time when Israel has renounced all its political and economic commitments made in the Oslo Accords. Nonetheless, they might just decide to live with the current split and await the unknown, a move which would be bad for Fatah.Hilton’s store angers Saudis
Al Quds Al Arabi, London, January 4 American celebrity Paris Hilton is known for her controversial behavior, but this time she managed to enrage all Saudi Arabian Muslims just by opening a new store in Mecca. The Radar Online website said that the Hilton hotels heiress, known for her scandalous outfits and films, personally announced the inauguration of her store and tweeted, “I love my new beautiful store just opened in Mecca in Saudi Arabia.”
Arab tweets responded angrily to the idea of selling Hilton clothes “in the holy land,” while others expressed disgust and resentment over selling the products of a “scandalous” artist in Mecca, the site of Al- Masjid Al-Haram, the world’s largest mosque. The Mecca store is Hilton’s 42nd store in the world and her fifth in Saudi Arabia.Egyptian papers criticize government for increased Muslim Brotherhood control Al Rai daily, Amman, January 8
Citing the growing grip of the Muslim Brotherhood on the government, independent and party-owned Egyptian newspapers sharply criticized Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi for appointing more party members in the new cabinet reshuffle on Sunday.
The ministers of transport, supply and local development are high-ranking members of the Muslim Brotherhood party, to which Morsi belongs. The government of Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has eight Muslim Brotherhood party member ministers out of a total of 35, and some other ministers are considered close to the party, such as the new finance minister. The cabinet reshuffle comes at an important time as Egypt hopes to receive a loan of $4.8 billion from the International Monetary Fund.
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