Hot off the Arab press

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

Moussa Abu Marzouk (right) talks with Fatah official and delegation leader Azzam Ahmed (photo credit: REUTERS)
Moussa Abu Marzouk (right) talks with Fatah official and delegation leader Azzam Ahmed
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Thank you, Gaza
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, August 12
Who would have imagined just a few months ago that a unified Palestinian negotiation team would be sent to Cairo, consisting of members of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and led by Fatah? This would never have happened without the enormous amount of blood spilled in Gaza. And because a heavy price was paid for this unity, we must cling to it in every possible way.
Fatah and Hamas must understand they are in a difficult situation, amid the changing regional dynamics of the Arab world, and their joint negotiation team in Cairo is a great, optimistic response to the sad and bitter Gazan reality. The Palestinian coalition shows that the Palestinian people, all of them, are one front against the Israeli aggression – in the West Bank and Gaza, and outside the Palestinian territories.
The factions negotiating in Cairo these days will learn that what brings them together is much stronger than what sets them apart. One side will understand that the resistance cannot be given up, while the other will learn that not everything is solved with the gun. What happened in Gaza and is subsequently happening in Cairo establishes an important understanding: the Palestinian factions have to, inevitably, stand united.
Activists prevent Israeli cargo ship from docking in California
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, August 18
An Israeli cargo ship was forced to wait at sea yesterday after more than 2,000 Palestinian protesters demonstrated at the Oakland port where the ship was headed. The Israeli vessel, belonging to Zim shipping, was scheduled to dock yesterday morning when a demonstration, organized by about 70 pro-Palestinian organizations, took place. The protesters marched to the port carrying signs and shouting slogans against Israel, led by Sameh Ayesh, 21, of the Organization of Arab Youth in San Francisco.
An online maritime tracking service showed that the vessel was waiting in open waters off the coast of California, near the city of Santa Cruz. Zim, Israel’s largest shipping company, generates huge profits for the Israeli government. Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, explained that the attempt to block the ship is part of a bigger campaign calling to boycott and sanction Israel for its aggression in the Strip.
Is Israel able to produce a ‘Sadat’?
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, August 17
Israelis always claim they are waiting for a new Anwar Sadat; someone who has the power to swim against the tide, with the courage to come speak to the Knesset and change the face of history. But there is no denying that the Arabs have produced their “Sadats” throughout history. After so many wars and so much bloodshed which have turned the region, in the words of the English poet T.S. Eliot, into a “closed circle of hell,” it is now Israel’s turn to produce a Sadat.
This Israeli will have the pragmatism and courage to say “Enough!” and travel to Cairo, Ramallah or any other Arab capital, and declare his acceptance of the Arab Peace Initiative – which was put on the table back in the 2002 Beirut Summit and approved by all Arabs, from extremists to moderates.
To this day, there doesn’t seem to be an Israeli willing to accept it. The initiative of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah still exists, and the only thing the region needs right now is for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to turn into a Sadat –and stop wasting time on the peace process, in order to evade the dues of peace.
Up to this point, Israel’s response to the Arab Peace Initiative has ranged from ignoring it to neglecting it; this suggests it is not serious about achieving peace.
Until it does, until the birth of an Israeli Sadat, the region will continue to suffer from more small wars.
Israel is facing an historic opportunity in the face of changing Arab dynamics, to transition from conflict management to conflict resolution. Reaching a final solution to this problem does not require the Arab world to produce a Sadat, but that Israeli society pushes its leader to become a Sadat: to be daring, courageous and able to swim against the current. An Israeli Sadat is the only solution.
IS and the Israeli occupation forces: Same mindset
Al-Akhbar, Beirut, August 13
The inhumane actions and practices committed by the Israeli occupation forces in Gaza and Islamic State (IS) militiamen in Iraq must not go on unpunished.
We must hold responsible all of those behind these crimes – all of their instigators and participants, including those who supported such actions through media, finance, moral backing or any other form of intervention. Turning a blind eye to such crimes has taught us that their perpetrators will only commit them again, carrying dire consequences for international peace and security.
This was the stance taken by the faculty of law and political science at the Lebanese University, in its decision to simultaneously classify all of these crimes – in occupied Palestine, Iraq and Syria – as acts of genocide. It highlights the ugly face of such crimes, targeted against civilians who never participated in an armed conflict.
What happens due to the Israeli army in Gaza and the IS militias in Iraq and Syria is a far cry from the international principles of warfare, which prohibits the use of indiscriminate weapons, the killing of the wounded or captured, the abuse of women, the demolition of religious sites, the targeting of journalists or health crews, and the killing of children or civilians not involved in the hostilities. We call on the UN Security Council to judge these atrocious crimes in the International Criminal Court, and hold those responsible accountable under international law, just as it did in the case of Darfur in 2005 and Libya in 2011.