Hot off the Arab press

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

Palestinian youth practices parkour (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian youth practices parkour
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israelis in Ramallah
An-Nahar, Beirut, February 20 This time, Israelis came to presidential headquarters in their casual clothes and not in military uniforms, says writer Majid Kayyal, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s meeting with some 300 Israeli students in his office in the Mukata compound in Ramallah. They didn’t come to besiege the Palestinian president, but to visit him.
It is not wrong to invite Israelis to Ramallah, because dealing with the occupier is a necessity imposed by the occupation. In the past, the Palestinian movement made a historical mistake in not speaking directly to the Israeli public or developing relations with political parties seeking justice and freedom.
The meeting in the presidential headquarters was a rare one, and doesn’t reflect a change in the Palestinian struggle strategy to address Israelis. We need to challenge Israel’s Zionist foundations, and support the parties that reject occupation, racism and colonialism.
In his speech, Abbas made promises but forgot to explain the Palestinian suffering from Israel’s racist policies.
Israel: a criminal regime
Al-Hayat, London, February 23 Israel’s leaders are all war criminals, says writer Jihad al-Khazen. The latest war criminal, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, goes to American Israel Public Affairs Committee to lie and meets US President Barack Obama to discuss the latest peace efforts, which demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Despite my close relationship with Abbas for the past four decades, I will withdraw my recognition of him if he meets this Israeli demand – but I am sure he will not.
In the middle of all of this, a draft law in the Knesset debates annexing the Temple Mount to Israel. Israel, a fascist state exercising apartheid against Palestinians, is on its way to dissolving. I don’t mean that the state will end, but the occupation, killing and destruction will stop.
Today, says Khazen, I want to talk about the American Presbyterian Church, a group with 2.4 million members. The group issued several reports condemning Israel’s acts. Recently, the church issued a 74-page report attacking Zionism as a form of Christian racism.
An American magazine associated with the Likud party described the report as a war waged against Israeli and Jewish Americans.
I am in favor of peace and this is why I know Israel’s apartheid will end. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting Israel. Despite its history, Germany is fed up with Israel. Who isn’t?
The Jordan Valley, Israel’s food Basket
Al-Quds, Jerusalem, February 23 Despite the various suggested alternatives, Israel’s insistence on keeping the Jordan Valley reflects the state’s economic and religious interest in the area. Analysts say that Israel’s obsession with security is just an excuse to stay in the Jordan Valley. The threats from the regional countries surrounding Israel are not valid since the next war, if it happens, will not occur on the ground but will rely on missiles and rockets. The Jordan Valley, as a result, is not of strategic value to Israel, which needs deterrence and power.
On the contrary, Israel’s security strategists said that a military presence restricted to the Jordan Valley, which is only 40-50 kilometers wide in some areas, means that Israel will be under the threat of danger and siege. In fact, Israelis are religiously and ideologically interested in the Jordan Valley. Moreover, Israeli affairs expert Khaldun Barghouti says that Netanyahu uses negotiations as a maneuver, because he never believed in giving lands up and considers Palestinians to be the real settlers.
Israel and the Jihadi terror
Amad, Cairo, February 22 How long will Israel be isolated, far from the jihadi terrorists torching the neighboring countries such as Egypt, Syria and Lebanon? This question puzzles Israeli officials, especially after the recent bombing of the Egyptian-Israeli borders in Sinai.
Reports discuss the growing influence of jihadi groups in Gaza and Lebanon. These groups see the Shi’ite axis of Tehran, Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria and Hezbollah as their direct target. However, Israel is on these group’s agendas. The Jewish state, staying on the sidelines for a while, feels the challenge and the need for a strategy to deter it.
Yet Israel doesn’t want to publicly associate itself with fighting terrorism with the Arab regimes. If Israel associates itself with the Egyptian army’s campaign against terror, the Egyptian leadership will be disqualified by its own people. In Gaza, Israel knows that Hamas, based on the agreements that followed Operation Pillar of Defense, is capable of controlling the active jihadi groups there. Lebanon, however, is still a threat that Israel is looking to deter.
Egyptian belly dancer causes a stir in her country
Al-Emirati, Dubai, February 24 Shaking her way through Egypt’s legal system, controversial Egyptian belly dancer Sama al-Masry was released on Sunday awaiting further investigations on accusations of slander. Masry was also interrogated for defaming Islam on a TV station she launched primarily to criticize ousted president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group. While the dancer described her work as political satire, death threats against her continue to roll in.
However, she doesn’t mind the fame that came along her case. Last month, she declared her intention to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections in al-Sharqiyah governorate, Morsi’s home district. She told the press she is confident that she will win. “The end of their group will be at my hands, my program will uncover all the traitors and agents,” she said, referring to members of the Brotherhood.
One of her famous videos last year showed her addressing Obama. In Arabic and English, Masry’s song accused Obama of supporting the Brotherhood and meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs.