Hot off the Arab press

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

bibi 521 (photo credit: REUTERS)
bibi 521
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel and the Dream of Arab Water Al Bayan, Dubai, December 16
The new water-sharing agreement depends on what would be the largest desalination station in the region to treat the Red Sea’s water in Jordan and construct the Two-Seas Canal (from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea).
Writer Nisreen Murad says that while the project helps the region’s persistent water shortage and theoretically resolves the shrinking of the Dead Sea, it comes at a cost. The water passes through pipes making them vulnerable to political, economic and security changes.
Practically, the Arabs have to forget their rights in the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. Israel will use the project to get Palestinian concessions, putting Israel in control of all the Palestinian issues. The water shortage in Jordan will temporarily be resolved but the Israeli water policy will complicate the lives of Palestinians.
Who knows what Israel is planning? It could be a full normalization with the Arab states through the fuel of life: water. Israel controls the water of the Jordan River and the Palestinians’ groundwater in exchange for easily manipulated pipes.
What About Palestinian Security? Al Quds, Jerusalem, December 13
Leaked information from the latest meetings between US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Palestinian leadership suggests that Kerry’s security plans come at the expense of Palestinian contiguity and sovereignty. A permanent solution to the Palestinian cause means no Israeli presence in the Jordan valley.
Kerry is drifting away from the goals of negotiations and approaching the Israeli position. Israel’s security concerns are not practical if we realize that Israel is one of the strongest states in the world. Israel attacks Palestinians and arrests them, demolishes their houses and builds settlements on their lands. What should concern the US is Palestinian security and protecting the Palestinian citizens from the Israeli armed forces. The Israeli claim that controlling the borders of the future state provides security is unrealistic at a time when wars are waged by rockets and not on the ground. The Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley is another settlement project aimed at besieging the future Palestinian state and disconnecting it.
Israel Under Status Quo Al Safeer, Beirut, December 13
The Israeli government has accepted the status quo and dropped the Prawer-Begin draft bill planned to displace 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins in the Naqab [the Negev]. Palestinian youth promised to stop the plan, carrying the slogan “Prawer won’t pass.” They demonstrated against the plan, were arrested and launched international campaigns that put pressure on the Israeli government. The failure of the destructive plan coincided with Kerry’s ninth visit to the region to discuss a proposed security plan. A designer of the plan, ex-minister Benny Begin, accused the plan’s critics of having personal agendas. The Palestinian Youth Movement said in a statement that the Prawer plan failed because of the Palestinians’ fierce determination against the plan in July, August and November.
The youth said that the Palestinians would always prevent any plans to transfer their people in Naqab and destroy their villages.
Netanyahu’s Dual Isolation
Dar Al Khaleej, Al Sharqa, December 13
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s isolation outside Israel has become internal as well.
The remarks in the Hebrew newspapers discuss Bibi’s (Netanyahu’s nickname) incompetence, suggesting a desperate scene in Israel because of his radical positions.
The worst thing for a leader is to be bound by a limited group of opinions. If Netanyahu’s external isolation didn’t push him to review his positions – he surely interprets them his way – he should know that he cannot ignore the internal isolation. After all, these people elected him as Prime Minister. Some writers say the Prime Minister will make it impossible for their grandchildren to live safely. The previous Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said that the peace talks are disappointing, citing Netanyahu’s leadership as an important reason for this. Diskin said the same about the Palestinian Authority, a remark that brings us back to this famous statement: “There isn’t a Palestinian partner”.
What’s new in Diskin’s remarks is that there isn’t an Israeli partner now. The irony is that some people try to lure the Palestinians into thinking that peace talks are their last chance while the Jewish writers think its Israel’s last chance.
Saudi Youth Fight Mobile Phone Addiction Al Madinah, Medina, December 15
More than 90 Saudis launched a campaign to combat smart phone addiction among the Saudi youth.
The project, entitled “Don’t be a slave to your mobile phone,” highlights the harmful effects smart phone use has on society and health. The campaign focuses on the increase in accidents when drivers used their phones, as well as the deterioration of family relations.
Ali Al-Farhah, the campaign initiator, said it is directed at all members of society and seeks to limit the use of smart phones. The initiative was taken by the Eastern Province youth and will expand to all regions of the Kingdom. Al-Farhah said the campaign, which was launched electronically, will extend for 30 days. The campaign will use lectures, symposiums and workshops to help rationalize the phone use, warning the public of 14,625 traffic accidents occurred due to mobile phones use. The campaign will distribute educational stickers and gifts.