Hot off the Arab press

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East. 1.11_521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem) 1.11_521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
ISRAEL EMBARRASSES THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITYAl-Safeer, Beirut, October 28 Israel continues its systematic policies to embarrass the Palestinian Authority, at the same time it claims to support the peace process. The release of Palestinian prisoners jailed before the Oslo Accords comes as Israel announced the construction of new housing units in the settlements. Palestinians say Israel’s decision will stir up the situation while Israel says the Palestinians and Americans already know this step is part of a deal called “prisoners in exchange for settlements.” A simple calculation shows that Israel wants to build 65 new housing units for every released prisoner, which is infuriating to Palestinians. The PLO denied what they called an Israeli attempt to make it show that there is such a deal. Palestinian officials said that the release of prisoners was agreed upon months ago, and Israel deliberately announced building new settlement units in parallel with this release in order to embarrass the Palestinian Authority, as part of the systematic incitement practiced against the PA.
JERUSALEMITES BOYCOTT ELECTIONS IN CLEAR NATIONAL POSITIONAl-Quds, Jerusalem, October 26 The municipal and local councils elections were held in Israel, and the battle over Jerusalem was the main focus. The current Mayor Nir Barkat, who is known for his extremist views, ran against Moshe Lion, who is even more extreme and enjoys the support of the far Right and the settlers. The elections this year were held amid a battle for al-Aksa Mosque, as senior Likud activists and settlers call for a division of the holy mosque. Elections also come amid provocative Israeli official positions. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stressed that “Jerusalem will remain united forever.” Despite the wall, continuous settlement, displacement and Judaization of the city, and the suffering of the Palestinians there, Jerusalemites remained loyal to their cause. They took a strong political stance in defense of their capital and showed strong opposition to all of the Israeli measures and practices. They practiced an almost complete boycott of these elections and refused to participate in them.
In a strong message to all those involved in Israel and the world, they said that Jerusalem is Palestinian.
THE WEAKER NEGOTIATORDar Al-Khaleej, Al-Sharqa, October 27 The worst thing facing a state or entity is to enter negotiations with the enemy from a position of weakness.It is similar to a soldier who enters a war without the necessary ammunition. Unbalanced negotiations will inevitably fail or will only be in the favor of the stronger party. The current Palestinian-Israeli negotiations are taking place under serious US pressure, which leaves the Palestinian negotiators facing two strong parties: the US and Israel. Palestinians are the weaker party politically, economically and militarily, and lack the backing of the Arab world and the support of a unified Palestinian position. After more than 20 years of negotiations, Palestinians are still unable to achieve any national goals because they do not have any cards to play. They have the strategy but lack the tools and capabilities, and it won’t be surprising if they offer more concessions in each round of negotiations.
The Palestinian negotiator needs to withdraw from these negotiations and rebuild a new strategy to stand in the face of a strong enemy.
CITIZENS OR TRIBAL SONS?Al-Masry Al-Youm, Cairo, October 29 Famous novelist Alaa al-Aswany remembers dormitory life during his study in the US. He says that some Arab men continue to judge Arab women studying abroad, if they decide to go outside the social boundaries in their homeland. They disapproved of an Arab female student taking a foreign lover and wanted to stop her. The incident proves that despite an elite education, some still insist to act like sons of a tribe. This mentality puts great obstacles in front of democracy, as the issue of tribalism is the opposite of democracy.
The clan mentality believes that responsibility should be collective. For example, they consider all Americans responsible for the US army’s crimes in Iraq, and all Jews responsible for Israel’s crimes. Any revolution or attempts to build a new country will not be successful if the tribal mentality still exists.
ISRAEL WINS OVER HUMAN RIGHTSAl-Akhbar, Beirut, October 27 After Israel’s withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council of the in Geneva, Jerusalem returns to the seat of council as a part of the Western European Group. In a large achievement and victory, awaiting final approval, Israel will ensure that it will not be condemned under Chapter VII. According to Haaretz, the efforts of the Israeli Foreign Ministry in recent months yielded an unexpected result. If the agreement is finalized, it will bring a very important diplomatic victory to Jerusalem, as it will include Israel as a permanent member of the Western Group alongside Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. The biggest achievement, according to Haaretz, relates to the second item, which prohibits the use of the seventh chapter in the decisions and actions of the council. It was agreed that whatever the status of human rights in Israel and the West Bank, a special session will be held. Restricting the use of Chapter VII is a big achievement for Israel – the only country in the world with such a privilege.