Hot off the Arab press

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East

Abbas greets Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Abbas greets Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A myth called Israel Al Hayat, London, December 28 Prominent Arab writer Jihad AL Khazen, says that even though Jews killed Jesus and insulted the Virgin Mary, when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described Jesus as the Palestinian prophet, the fascist Israeli government became enraged. Abbas sent his Christmas greetings to the world and said that 2000 years ago Bethlehem witnessed the birth of the Palestinian Christ. Christians are a part of the Palestinian people. However, the Israeli foreign minister accused Abbas of rudely rewriting history. The occupation besieged Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, making it difficult for tourists to visit. Jesus spoke Aramaic at that time when neither Israel nor the Hebrew language existed in Roman-ruled Palestine. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, an immigrant from Moldova, came to our lands as a refugee and worked as a bouncer in a bar. Pro-Israel activists want to focus on the fake issues, they plan campaigns against Abbas and accuse the jihadists of threating Christianity. Jesus and his mother are from us, and Israel is another Torah myth.An artist in my occupied country Wattan, Ramallah, December 30 I lost count of the number of Arab artists coming to perform in Palestine, says Israeli-affairs expert Mohammed Abu Allan, but I know that the Israeli settlement council in the West Bank brought 80 European parliamentarians and 130 journalists to tour the West Bank settlements. Do we only know how to bring artists here? Where is the Palestinian ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry of information? Why aren’t the Palestinian ambassadors involved in creating public opinion supporting the Palestinian cause and against the occupation? Those who organize with the Israeli authorities to allow these artists to visit Palestine can organize visits for journalists and politicians so they can see the reality on the ground. I am not against these visits but it angers me that the Israeli settlement council succeeded in creating a lobby in the German Bundestag against an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. The lobby opposes the settlement- building freeze, and rejects the boycott of Israel. Our politicians’ work doesn’t go beyond Ramallah.
Settlements and negotiations Al Ayyam, Ramallah, December 30
The US Administration is stepping up efforts to reach achievements in the peace talks, says Palestinian writer Sameeh Shabib. It has become clearer that settlements are the main obstacle to negotiations. The last Israeli announcement of more settlement bids, although it aimed to assure the Israeli public, exposed the Israeli government’s intentions. Palestinians have previously stopped negotiations to protest the ongoing settlement construction, but this hasn’t stopped settlement projects. The situation is now dangerous without a settlements freeze as they threaten the geographical map of the West Bank.
It’s clear that the Netanyahu government won’t stop negotiations voluntarily or listen to calls from the Americans and Europeans. Serious international pressure, particularly by the US and Europe, is the only way to freeze settlements. Other topics, such as security and economy, need intense efforts but the efforts will be useless if settlement continue to expand.
Israel has to lose Al Hayat Al Jadida, Ramallah, December 30 In 1981, when Israel raided the Iraqi nuclear reactor, a journalist was waiting to interview the powerful right-wing Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Following the success of the operation, the journalist asked, “Will targeting locations hundreds of kilometers away from the Israeli borders distort Israel’s image?” Begin replied “I assure you that Israel will not participate in the Miss World contest.” The Palestinian writer Yehya Rabah says he mentions the story to prove that Israel does not care about enemies or allies. The settlement expansion is proof. Israel has to pay a price. Beating Israel on the battlefield is not possible in the meantime for many reasons. Beating Israel can be achieved through the continuous activities of the peaceful popular resistance, or through international agencies and international relations. We have to try on all levels, but we can’t let Israel do what it wants and get away with it without a price.
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