Hot off the Arab press

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

Palestinians at Ein Hijleh, January 31, 2014 (photo credit: IRENE NASSER, COURTESY)
Palestinians at Ein Hijleh, January 31, 2014
(photo credit: IRENE NASSER, COURTESY)
Israel shows its ‘human’ face to Arabs in social media Al-Masry Al-Youm, February 7 Bloggers and social media users remembered the iconic singer Umm Kulthum 39 years after her death.
Among the articles they circulated was a blog written by IDF spokesman Avichai Adraee, and an article published on an Arabic-language Israeli website.
Since its creation in 1948, Israel has always tried to talk to the Arabs through Arabic-language media. A website called Israel in Arabic boasts 290,310 followers, most of whom are in Baghdad and Cairo. The page publishes news enhancing Israel’s image, and tries to show that the Jewish state is a humanitarian country.
One of the published photos shows a tent full of doctors touring Asia and Africa to conduct free surgeries.
Through these pages, Israel attempts to demonstrate that it is a tolerant and pluralistic community. Another website, Israel Without Censorship, hopes to show the state’s cultural and civilized sides. The page says it has 1.3 million members, most of them in Cairo, aged 18-24. This strategic activity aims to impress the Arab youth by showing them another side of Israel.
Israeli spies and more Al-Youm Al-Sabe, Cairo, February 8 Egyptian security caught a network of collaborators for Israel, known as the Ovadia network, but Israel’s intelligence activity goes beyond that. The Sinai Peninsula is a haven for Israel’s intelligence work, according to reports from all the Egyptian strategic experts. Israel, not surprisingly, was created on security foundations and always resorts to the “proactive” approach, where it has to predict the other side’s steps and acts ahead of them.
After the January revolution and the ousting of previous president Hosni Mubarak, Israel built a five-meter-high electronic wall on its borders with Egypt. Radars and drones were spread around the wall to monitor the area 24/7. Despite the electronic device, Israel knows the importance of human sources in this field.
Unfortunately, there are many more spying cells in Egypt, but the announcement of these arrests requires a political decision. Ovadia’s group fell in May 2013, but it was only announced recently. This shows that there are dozens of exposed groups, but the Egyptian security forces maintain the same old method – in not promoting their successes in uncovering these cells.
Jordan Reduced imports form Israel Al-Ghad, Amman, February 10 The volume of Jordan’s imports from Israel decreased by 12 percent over the last year. During the first 11 months of 2013, total imports from Israel were estimated at 58 million Jordanian dinars ($82 million), in comparison with 66 million dinars ($93 million) in the same period of 2012. The department of statistics said the kingdom’s imports from Israel dropped from 5.7 million dinars ($8 million) in November 2012, to 4.32 million ($6.1 million) during November 2013, citing a 24% drop.
Jordan’s imports from Israel are mostly agricultural products such as carrots, avocados and mangoes, alongside gemstones, oil and olives. The balance of trade is titled to Israel’s side, as the value of Jordan’s imports from Israel is higher than its exports to the Jewish state. However, the level of exports has increased to reach 51.8 million dinars ($73 million) through November 2013, compared with 50.2 million dinars ($70 million) in the same period of 2012.
The Arab-Israeli conflict: back to the roots Al-Ayyam, Ramallah, February 9 It doesn’t seem that there will be any solutions for creating peace in the Middle East, despite the uproar accompanying the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry, says writer Atif Abu Saif. Kerry was never impartial, despite his complimentary phrases about peace.
He doesn’t represent or pay attention to the Palestinian rights. It’s sad that the American administration which insists on being a peace broker fails to understand the conflict, thinking it’s an interest-based one.
The American administration doesn’t understand the Palestinian need to exercise their rights to sovereignty and independence on parts of their historic lands, taken by a group of greedy settlers. Israel’s claims to security can’t undermine the Palestinian needs and rights.
There are a number of proofs that the international community is part of the war waged against Palestinians for decades. There’s a need to reflect on the origins of the conflict. As Palestinians, we need to hold the world accountable, as the conflict is not bound to the US broker.
Saudi working women in need of female security personnel Al-Riyadh, Riyadh, February 9 Saudi women have started a Twitter campaign asking shop managers to hire female security guards. While these activists say women can fill many different jobs, many in Saudi society think that women can’t assume such jobs. These women, mainly sales workers, say they would feel much more comfortable if a female security guard comes to inspect their workplaces.
Others, however, disagree. “It’s impossible for women to work in these positions, because female thieves in stores are usually accompanied by male members of their family,” said Khawla, who works as a saleswoman.
Some found a middle ground, “I support hiring female security guards at malls only to search female thieves,” Sarah, a shopper added.
Seba Ahmed, owner of an abaya clothing shop, said hiring female security staff would be an added financial burden. “It was easier for me when I had non-Saudi employees, because they were paid less than Saudis,” she said. A new “Saudization” law enforced in the kingdom requires business owners to hire a fixed percentage of Saudis before they can issue visas for foreign workers.