Hot off the Arab press

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

A STUDENT from Al-Rafidain College in Iraq, a private university established in Baghdad in 1988 (photo credit: REUTERS)
A STUDENT from Al-Rafidain College in Iraq, a private university established in Baghdad in 1988
(photo credit: REUTERS)
No peace with Israel
Al Hayat, London, March 8
Settlement building is the true face of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, says prominent writer Jihad Al Khazen. He quotes head of the opposition, Labor MK Isaac Herzog as saying that since buying an apartment in Israel has proven nearly impossible, many families are attracted to lower prices in West Bank settlements.
Herzog said this after the Central Bureau of Statistics announced that settlement building increased by 123% last year. Khazen goes on to summarize the latest in the news from Israel, reporting the demonstration in Jerusalem by “religious extremists,” as he refers to the ultra-Orthodox, to protest compulsory draft into the army. Those people want to live like parasites, Khazen continues, i.e. at the expense of the other Israelis.
They do nothing but pray and attempt to steal Palestinian lands based on myths from the Torah. The Jewish religion is an invention and all Palestine from the river to the sea belongs to the Palestinian people.
However, Khazen writes, I accept a Palestinian state on 22 percent of the historic lands of Palestine but do not accept any deal that doesn’t include an Israeli withdrawal from all the 1967 occupied territories.
Israel: falling into the abyss
Okaz, Riyadh, March 10
Israel has been spreading the rumor that it is a strong and invincible country, writer Mohammed Hasan Mufti says and that the spirit of defeatism among Arabs has led him to write this particular article. Analyzing the situation, we discover that the reason Israel defeated the Arabs is the splits among them. When the Arabs united, Israel finally decided to negotiate with them. Israel, although it relies on the US, knows that the American support is not open-ended. Israel is also embarrassing the American politicians by trying to sabotage the strong alliance between the US and some Arab states. Israel looks like the spoiled child of the US who forces his parents to apologize for one error after another. This vision can never build a state and only succeeds in increasing hatred for Israel among the countries in the region. It’s clear that Israelis believe in the necessity of peace but there will be no peace with injustice. The journey into the abyss is guaranteed if Israel insists on colonialism and ignoring the voices calling for peace.
The dominance of the religious Jews
Al Jazeera, Doha, March 11
The three last decades in Israel witnessed a restructuring of the elites as a result of the economic, social and political changes says writer Saleh Al Na’ami. This development has affected the internal Israeli environment and Israel’s relations with the Arab and Islamic world. The secular Ashkenazi, who were the influential people in politics, media, security and politics, are not the elite anymore. The religious Zionist Jews, in a planned scheme, are trying to control the main political decision-making circles. The most dangerous successes they achieved relate to their development in the army and security institutions. In the combat units for example, the religious Zionists used to be only 2%, but now they shifted up to 35-40%. The religious Jews dominance over the security institutions will definitely affect the Arabs and the Palestinians in a negative way. It is ironic when Israel uses the citizenship law to allow religious people to compete for the most influential roles while the same law discriminates against the Arabs. Many Arab states don’t allow religious people to advance in the army.
Israel-Germany: The creative tension
As Safir, Beirut, March 11
We can say that German-Israeli relations are dependent on the historic responsibility, particularly in relation to the Holocaust, says writer Samir Al Tannir. The relations witnessed increased tensions in the last few years. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were heard shouting on the phone as they spoke about the Palestinians’ rights.
Germany thinks Netanyahu is not ready to make peace with the Palestinians. Israel was furious at Germany’s abstention from the voting on elevating the Palestinian UN status to “observer.” The German vote was seen as an anti-Israeli vote. Israel wants Germany to denounce the Palestinians’ right to join the UN institutions. Germany now is trying to soften the mood with Israel, and pay more compensation to Holocaust survivors. The two parties will find a compromise when it comes to their disputes on the scientific research issue, which includes increasing the support for Israeli universities and excluding the Israeli university built in the West Bank.
US and the Arab media
Dar Al Khaleej, Dubai, March 11
US politicians only woke up to Arab public opinion after 9/11. An increased interest in regional sentiment started after these explosions. Writer and journalist Hisham Melhem says lawmakers and members of Congress are keen to get their point-of-view across via media channels. The Arab Spring also helped boost interest in the Arab street within the US. As a result, US media coverage of the Middle East has become much better and more nuanced in the wake of the Arab Spring. The American media in general does a very good job. It is professional and objective; we don’t see most of the old stereotypes about the Arabs.