Hot off the Arab press

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East. (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
ISRAEL CLOSES ALL DOORS FOR PEACEAl-Quds, Jerusalem, November 5 The Knesset has discussed a draft resolution to divide the Aksa Mosque. If a leaked report in an Israeli paper was accurate, then this is a very serious issue.
The continuous attacks against the mosque, and the excavations beneath it amid Arab and Muslim silence, show that Israel is moving forward with implementing its plans. Israel has also started building a security barrier on the Palestinian-Jordanian border in the Jordan Valley, to create a status quo there that meets its plans not to withdraw from the area. Israel had offered to rent this land from the Palestinians and control it for 40 years. After demolishing a number of buildings, giving notice to others and building around 2,000 settlement units in Jerusalem, what did Israel leave for negotiations? They separated Jerusalem and surrounded it with a wall to transfer tens of thousands of the city’s sons and daughters. They separated the West Bank to eliminate any possibility of a contiguous and viable state. Interestingly, all of this is coinciding with the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry. What peace is he going to discuss?
PRISONER RELEASES AND THE ILLUSION OF PEACE WITH ISRAELAl-Quds Al-Arabi, London, October 31 Israel released the second group of 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners waiting to be released in four rounds, as part of a deal to resume the peace talks last July. Israel sparked controversy by freeing the prisoners in batches. Despite Israeli protests against the releases, Palestinians say that many settlers and Israelis who killed Palestinians still enjoy freedom and some even receive medals. These 104 prisoners were supposed to be released with the implementation of the Oslo Accords in 1993. This issue should be on the current negotiations agenda, as a main component of any peace agreement. Theatrical protests in Israel even concerned the martyrs, whose bodies remain in unknown Israeli graves. If the fear is that released prisoners will go back to violence, what argument do Israelis have against the martyrs? The Israeli position in the ongoing negotiations is worse today than it was 20 years ago, and it seems that Israel uses the current process to expand settlements. Despite the facts on ground, some still think that an agreement is possible.
Is it, or are we living in an illusion?
OCCUPATION AND SETTLEMENT GREEDAl-Bayan, Dubai, November 2 One step forward and 10 backwards: This is how Israel dealt with the Palestinians for decades – that is, if it wants to give anything. Kerry was apparently determined to resolve the issue by resuming negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. However, Israel’s release of some Palestinian prisoners coincided with an expansion in settlement construction in the Palestinian territories.
This step will only harm the efforts to make the peace talks a success. Palestinians will continue their legitimate resistance until they regain their full rights to establish their state with Jerusalem as its capital, even if the struggle takes a long time. The road to the greatest Palestinian dream is thorny, not only because of Israel. The hopes to achieve Palestinian unity between Fatah and Hamas are very low. The leaders in Ramallah and Gaza should be ready to make compromises in order to achieve the dream of reconciliation, which is the first step toward the Palestinian state.
WHY ISRAEL ISN'T INTERESTED IN AN ATTACK AGAINST GAZAAl-Risalah, Gaza, November 5 Despite the trap by Hamas’s military wing last Thursday and the developments that followed, it is clear that Israel is interested in an escalation in the Gaza Strip, says Palestinian writer Saleh al-Na’ami. The security and political institutions in Israel assume that a military confrontation between the resistance in Gaza and the IDF is inevitable, but Israel will try to postpone it as much as possible. However, Israel will respond if the Palestinian resistance executes a big military operation.
In general, Israel knows that the current situation in the Strip threatens Israeli security, but the only way to stop that threat is by reoccupying it. Even the most radical and extreme Israeli leaders don’t support this option because of its high cost. Israel is also facing other existential threats, such as the Iranian nuclear program, the conventional weapons inventory in Syria and the possibility of a confrontation with Hezbollah.
Moreover, the Jewish state knows that its image will deteriorate further in the world if it engages in another war where many civilians will be killed.