Hot off the Arab press

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

Arab man (Saudi) reading a newspaper 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Susan Baaghil )
Arab man (Saudi) reading a newspaper 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Susan Baaghil )

Sharon’s late death and his legacy

Al Safeer, Beirut, January 14

Many were surprised that Ariel Sharon had died, not because they wished him a long life, but because they thought he died a long time ago, says writer Hilmi Moussa. The family had hoped during the past 8 years that Sharon would wake up from his coma. As controversial as his life was, taking Sharon off life support machine was arguably more cost-efficient to the state. Sharon embodied Israel’s contradictions. He tried, throughout his life, to show that Israel’s power is in its army and not in a peace agreement with the Arabs. Although he made alliances with Arabs, Sharon was always convinced by his mother’s sayings that Arabs can’t be trusted. “A good Arab is a dead Arab,” according to him. It wasn’t a coincidence that he led Unit 101 unit which was based on the concept of revenge.

The 1953 Kibya massacre in the West Bank, the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and the Jenin massacre in the second intifada all prove that idea. Although some believe the older Sharon was wiser, the truth is he hated Arabs and saw himself a fighter against them.
This is his legacy.
Mr. Israel’s victories

Al Quds Al Arabi, London, January 12

Arabs and Israelis each remember Sharon’s legacy in his own way. It’s not true that Sharon gave Israelis pure victories. “Mr. Israel” who received this title following the 1948, 1967 ,1973 and 1982 wars was kicked out of Lebanon in year 2000, and cost the Israeli army 334 soldiers and 735 settlers during the second Intifada.

Shortly after Sharon “poisoned” Yasser Arafat, he fell into a coma lasting 8 years showing that history doesn’t have mercy on wicked beasts. Israel became more racist and turned into a ghetto after building the separation wall. Now, it has reached a stage where it demands to be a “Jewish State” free from “the others”; i.e. the Palestinians. Sharon, to the Arabs, was a death machine. However, this machine took away one of its main operators.
Is there light at the end of tunnel?

Al Wafd, Cairo, January 12

When most of us have lost all hopes in the two-state solution, a careful analysis of the situation will help us see light at the end of the tunnel, writer Abdel Rahman Al Rashed says. US Secretary of State John Kerry has been running from pillar to post with a proposal that has been received negatively by the Palestinians.

However, it is this very proposal that will help shape the final settlement in the next decade or so. It calls for an exchange of lands and people. If crafted and implemented correctly, the idea will be much better than the dead Oslo Accords. Add to that the change of thinking among Israelis, even the most conservative ones. But the devil is in the details. The population swap will mean that more than one million Palestinians living in Israel will be displaced from their homes.
It’s still too early to pin hopes on the ongoing peace process as the issue is complicated and will take time.
Stories from Israel

Al Ahram, Cairo, January 13 Israeli Arab expert Mordechai Kedar advised Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to be as tough as Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Kedar said that Sisi knows the American position well, particularly on the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, but he doesn’t fear America. Kedar added that Sisi ignores Kerry and Obama’s calls to ease pressure on the Brotherhood and to allow the return of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
In another story, racism is still controlling the scene in Israel. The political conflict between Israelis and Palestinians shifted to football stadiums during a match between an Arab team and an Israeli one. Fans of the Arab-Israeli team raised the Palestinian flag leading the Israeli fans to chanting anti-Arab slogans. The Israeli Sports Minister Limor Livnat sided with the Israeli team’s fans attacking the Israeli Arabs fans who chanted anti-Jewish slogans. Livnat said that Israel is a Jewish state and doesn’t tolerate raising the Palestinian flag.