Hot off the Arab press

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

Egypt women Brotherhood protesting 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Egypt women Brotherhood protesting 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
At last: Netanyahu confessed Wafa, Ramallah, January 29
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has always claimed that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement didn’t affect Israel at all. In fact, says writer Fayiz Abbas, Netanyahu boasted that boycott attempts triggered Israeli companies to become more competitive. However, the Israeli premier held an emergency session to stop the tsunami of the boycott, or at least try to limit it. The Netanyahu government can lie to Israelis and tell them it doesn’t have a negative effect, but the reality is that the boycott has moved from Europe to the US and other countries, and Israeli companies are incurring financial losses as a result.
Netanyahu finally reached the conclusion that the continuation of boycott means that Israel will lose financially, and more importantly, politically. Israel fears sanctions similar to those against South Africa during the time of apartheid. Interestingly, boycott didn’t stop at level of the settlements, but reached companies inside Israel itself. It’s a historic moment when Netanyahu has to choose between reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians or being boycotted by the world. Israel will pay the price for its government’s policies.
War is Netanyahu’s option
Al-Masry Al-Youm, Cairo, January 30
The strongest man in Israel is facing pressure from two sides. US Secretary of State John Kerry insists on being the diplomat who achieves a final settlement between the Palestinians and Israelis. On the other side, Netanyahu’s allies in the government stand against Kerry’s ambitions and even Netanyahu’s, if he is serious about reaching a peace agreement. This threatens the coalition. Israel’s leaders have a magical key to get rid of the allies and opponents’ blackmail: a military operation that unifies the government and opposition.
This is what Net- anyahu used to confront the social protests in Israel in 2011. He silenced the “tents revolution” by the sound of planes and bombs hitting the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu will resort to this option to get rid of the pressure he feels from the negotiations. Military operations are not only a magical key to maintain the coalition, but to test the reactions of some governments.
Netanyahu used this method after the Muslim Brotherhood won the elections in Egypt, and tested the Egyptian government’s position toward Hamas. He might resort to this in April, when the timeframe for the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks ends, and the time for the Egyptian presidential elections approaches.
Academic and militant groups adopt a ‘coordinated’ withdrawa l Palestine News Network, Bethlehem, January 30 The Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University provided its main findings on the Palestinian- Israeli peace talks. Negotiations are expected to reach a dead end. However, the status quo threatens the possibility of a two-state solution paving the way for an apartheid state. Israel’s continued occupation will deepen the Jewish state’s isolation, according to the institute.
Amos Yadlin, the former military intelligence chief, said Israel needs a plan when and if negotiations fail.
Yadlin advises Netanyahu to withdraw from 85 percent of Palestinian lands, despite the bad reputation that unilateral withdrawals have in Israeli society.
Yadlin calls for a coordinated withdrawal so Israel can benefit from such a move, and avoid international criticism. The plan, gaining popularity among Israel’s militant and academic elites, is not a new one. It aims to steal as much land as possible and deprive Palestinians of their rights.
Israel wants to relieve itself of the occupation’s burdens and price. A unilateral or coordinated split is not doable in light of a government led by the Likud and the settlement lobby, but remains an option. In any case, Yadlin’s thoughts express the deep crisis facing the Zionist project.
Israel fights boycott
Watan, Ramallah, February 3
Israel uses emotions in its fight against the economic boycott of settlements. Israeli media experts say the Foreign Ministry admitted its failure in confronting the boycott movement, and is now using the Palestinian workers in this economic war. Israeli newspapers quoted a 28-year-old worker at the SodaStream company, in the settlement of Mishor Adumim, saying that the company is like an island of peace.
Experts say this tone is not new. “Israelis steal the land and exploit the workers’ financial need. They then want to use them politically as a way to face the international opposition to settlements,” said Mohammed Abu Allan, a blogger on Israeli media. Worker Jamil Injas told Watan that he had to work in Kiryat Sefer settlement after he failed to find a job in the West Bank. “We are a part of the Palestinian people and we don ’t oppose the boycott against settlements. These lands are ours,” he said.
More than 10,000 Palestinians work in settlements, despite a presidential decree to ban work in these illegal settlements. But the Palestinian Authority’s failure to provide jobs to these people led them to resort to such jobs out of necessity.
Volunteers spray Amman with Graffiti
Al-Rai, Amman, February 3
A team of volunteers has started redecorating the Jordanian capital’s neighborhoods by spraying the walls with graffiti and painting some of the old stairs in the downtown area. Hiba Harahsha, who launched the initiative, said that around 30 volunteers and 10 painters took part in the activities. She initiated the campaign after becoming fed up with the phone numbers of advertisers or inappropriate phrases written on the capital’s walls.
The activity is part of Baderah, a voluntary initiative established in 2012 with the aim of encouraging the spirit of volunteerism among young people. The team has supervised 15 paintings on walls near the Interior Ministry Circle, in addition to several other locations.
Harahsha said the next step is underway to write verses taken from the work of Jordanian poets as graffiti around the city. The group hopes the measure will introduce these poets to a great number of people, as they will draw each poet’s face alongside the verses he/ she wrote.