Hot off the Arab press 351034

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

Iraq election posters (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iraq election posters
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Why Israel hates reconciliation
Al Sabaq, Jeddah, April 25
Does the Israeli government really believe in the right of a Palestinian state to exist? Evidence proves that most Israelis reject the existence of a Palestinian state, yet the Palestinian leadership was ready to talk to them. Why then when the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank seeks reconciliation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, do the Israelis protest vigorously? The illegal settler program is colonizing the occupied territories, taking the best lands, seizing the most strategic positions and taking over greater proportions of water resources. So what therefore is the difference between Hamas and Israel on statehood? Why is it that Hamas has to be ostracized, while Israel suffers no consequences at all for holding the same view? The claim that Hamas is a terrorist organization, shouldn’t make us forget that Israel is responsible for the slaughter in Palestine. More than that, Israel itself was born as a result of terrorism. A reunified Palestinian body politic might very well deliver a real peace deal. But a real deal is not what Israel nor Washington wants.
Tunisia refuses Israeli tourists’ visits
Al Sharq, Tunis, April 29
The Tunisian parliament requested a session for a vote of no-confidence against two ministers accused of normalization with Israel. Tourism Minister Ama Karboul and Security Minister Reda Separ were accused of allowing Israeli tourists in Tunisia. Karboul had faced previous criticism upon his appointment where opponents condemned her professional visit to Israel in 2006. Eighty-one parliamentarians of the council’s 217’s members signed a petition to bring the ministers into a hearing saying the two have breached the Tunisian constitution. The council’s media spokesperson said that a hearing in set in 15 days to discuss the issue.
Many Tunisians agree that normalization with Israel should only occur after the Jewish state ends its occupation of the Palestinian lands. “Most of the Muslims on earth are not allowed to come to pray in Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem,” citizen Ali Jom’a said, “Why should we open our gates for Israeli tourists to our Jewish sites,” he wondered. The petition wasn’t directed against Jews visiting Tunisia, but only against those who hold Israeli passports.
Israel, the US and reconciliation
Al Quds, Jerusalem, April 28
The Israel stance on reconciliation is not surprising, says writer Rasim Obeidat. Israel has always tried to avoid paying any price for peace. Nothing seems to be good enough for Israel. When the Palestinians were divided, Israel claimed it couldn’t sign a deal with a weak leader that didn’t have control over the Gaza Strip.
When Fatah and Hamas took a step forward towards unification, Israel accused Mahmoud Abbas of favoring terrorism over peace. Israel itself had negotiated a peace treaty with Hamas, the party it describes as a terrorist organization. Therefore, the Israeli claims and view have become well known. However, the American position is not understandable. For a party that leads a negotiation between two parties, the US seems to see everything from Israeli’s perspective. The Americans know well that Israel is the one that’s obstructing negotiations, yet they refuse to hold Israel responsible.
Palestinians should finally reach a conclusion that the bet on the US is a losing bet. The only way Israel can be ready to compromise for peace is when occupation becomes costly.
Iraqi female candidates challenge traditions
Al Nahar, Beirut, April 28
A female Iraqi parliament candidate decided to publish her campaign photos across the country, writes Diana Mukalled. However, she published her photos wearing a hijab in Muslim areas while in Christian areas, she published them without a hijab. It’s one of the many tricky dynamics in the Iraqi reality. Iraqi female candidates, who displayed more enthusiasm in this election than before, are judged on how they present themselves on their posters. Some female candidates use photos of male relatives instead of their own.
Many photos of the women showed them veiled and some not. Some candidates’ photos were bold compared to the conservative Iraqi standards. Some young men, mocking the candidate, posted a photo of them kissing the female candidates’ photos or tearing them apart. What’s frustrating about this election is that there will be no real changes from the previous elections.
At the time, four females won and the 25% of quota for women was filled by assigning women from the winning parties. Despite optimism, fears that Iraqi parliamentarian females will remain an echo of sectarian and religious parties are serious fears.