Hot off the Arab press 351663

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East

Man on a horse-drawn cart rides past banner depicting  Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo (photo credit: REUTERS)
Man on a horse-drawn cart rides past banner depicting Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A historical sin: the father visits Israel
Al Safeer, Beirut, May 3
The Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, the man with the highest spiritual position in the East, will join Pope Francis on his visit to the occupied Palestinian territories. This is a dangerous precedent despite the pope’s attempt to downplay its political ramifications.
His attempt to make it a purely religious visit to the Holy Land and Jerusalem doesn’t negate that he has to pass through Israeli checkpoints and borders.
Moreover, the Popes’ visits to the occupied territories haven’t been free of religious and political criticism from Christian and Muslim Arabs. In 1964, Maronite Patriarch Paul Meouchi visited Jerusalem, which was then under Jordanian sovereignty. Now, how will Rai avoid shaking Israeli leaders’ hands when they’re in line to greet Pope Francis? Rai should not forget he comes from Lebanon, a country in a state of war with Israel. The political implications of this visit cannot be ignored. The previous patriarch Mar Nasrallah Sfair rejected taking part in the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Syrian territories citing Syria’s deep intervention in Lebanon affairs. Can’t Rai reject this visit because of the occupation and for the sake of the Palestinians?
Israel’s servant
Dar Al Khaleej, Abu Dhabi, May 2
Less than 24 hours after his warning to Israel that it might become an apartheid state if it rejected that the two state solution, the US Secretary of State John Kerry immediately denied his statement. He said that he has been working for the good of Israel for more than 30 years, and confirmed that Israel is a democracy.
This is not the first time Kerry retracts his own statements. He did so in April when he held Israel responsible for the stalled negotiations caused by settlement building. That nature of American-Israeli relations demands that American officials weigh their statements before they say something that angers Israel. Kerry was right when he said he served Israel for more than 30 years in Congress. Now, he has discovered that his role in the negotiations was for the benefit of Israel which doesn’t want peace.
In short, his rejection does not negate the fact that Israel is an apartheid state as all of its actions and policies prove. However, Kerry confirmed that he is indeed Israel’s servant.
Acknowledging Israel’s apartheid
Al Sharq Al Awsat, Riyadh, May 5
United States Secretary of State John Kerry is defamed and misunderstood in Israel, says Sharif Nashashibi. The man did what he could to ensure working in Israel’s favor. Indeed, Palestinian officials complained that during the last nine months of talks, Kerry’s position reflected Israel’s. His proposal urged acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state – a red line for the Palestinians, and a demand not made of Egypt or Jordan when they signed peace with Israel. A state system of discrimination clearly exists, and has existed for decades, not just in the occupied territories, but also for Palestinian citizens of Israel. However, the debate – in Israel at least – seems to be not so much about whether apartheid exists, but if it is justified.
It is interesting to say that what the Palestinians are enduring is even worse than apartheid South Africa.
Being blind to the reality of Israeli apartheid is bad enough, but silencing those who warn of the consequences is downright foolish. A friend should tell you the truth but the American-Israeli relationship has yet to come to this basic realization.
Palestinians should learn from Israel
Al Hayat, London, May 5
From the media leaks regarding the negotiations, it is clear that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can do nothing to change Binyamin Netanyahu’s positions, says writer Bakir Oweidah. This is because the Israeli prime minister is acting on the assumption that he is the stronger party in the negotiations and the only one who can decide where they will lead. Does this mean that the Palestinians should disown the whole negotiation process, announcing their utter despair to the world? These are voices that have grown accustomed to the failure of any new negotiation process even before it starts, which is, of course, precisely what Netanyahu and the Israeli hardliners want. Let us overlook this and ask: Is it too much for Palestinians politicians and leaders to agree to disagree in a manner that ensures the vital interests of the majority of Palestinians? Are the 66 years that have passed since Israel was created not enough time for the Palestinian mind to invent logical ways to deal with reality?
Emirati people fear going to Britain
Al Sharq, Dubai, May 5
Emirati nationals fear visiting Britain following two violent attacks in London, a new poll found. The poll, conducted across multiple age groups and nationalities, points to growing concern over the safety of the UK capital.
The two shocking attacks on Emiratis in London were by allegedly armed gangs’ intent on robbing their victims. These attacks prompted concerns over whether the city is still a safe holiday destination. The survey of 1,154 people found that 32 percent of UAE nationals are “extremely” or “somewhat” unlikely to visit the UK in the wake of the attacks. Arab expatriates living in the country expressed similar concern although Asian and Western residents remain keen on visiting London.