Hot off the Arab press 372633

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

A man walks past a graffiti of the 99 names of Allah at downtown in Cairo last week. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A man walks past a graffiti of the 99 names of Allah at downtown in Cairo last week.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinians – 100 years’ search for a solution
Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed, London, August 24
With the Balfour Declaration, the Palestinian people embarked on a long and bloody journey for a solution to the problem triggered by Great Britain, in collaboration with the Zionist Movement and the endorsement of the League of Nations, for the establishment of a national homeland for Jews in Palestine – at the expense of the Palestinians. Today, almost a century later, the Palestinian people still find themselves caught in the same vortex.
Even though they have already given up too much – running around the corridors of the UN too many times, visiting world capitals too frequently – they are still stuck with no solution. Israel understands that the Palestinians don’t have many options in their search for a solution. Therefore, it seeks to impose its own on them – to cut off the path to the two-state solution, continuously pressure the Palestinians and their leadership, and further weaken the international influence of their Arab allies – to the point they will have to accept less than a two-state solution. One idea already proposed during the Camp David negotiations with Egypt suggested self-rule with no territory. Alternatively, it seeks to establish two separate Palestinian authorities, one in Gaza and the other in the West Bank; or leave the Palestinians without a solution for decades to come.
It is clear that the Palestinians, like their Arab peers, are very weak – in contrast to Israel’s growing strength.
Is the Arab world against Hamas?
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, August 26
Last Thursday evening, Israel targeted three leaders of Hamas’s military wing during their meeting in a Rafah home. Their assassination symbolically coincided with a meeting held between Arab officials and the Swiss government in Geneva, to discuss “ways to provide international protection to the Palestinian people following the Israeli aggression on Gaza.” A day earlier, on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu claimed that “the entire Arab world is united against Hamas, with the exception of Turkey, Qatar and Iran.”
Is the Arab world, in fact, united against Hamas? In a recent televised interview, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal claimed, “While some Arab governments and regimes are not with Hamas, the hearts of the entire Arab people are with Hamas.” He then added that “those who stand with Netanyahu and the Zionist enemy are a minority.” Unfortunately, Mashaal’s remarks do not change the following sad reality: the harshest political move carried out by the Arab leadership in response to the Israeli racist regime’s aggression in Gaza was a ministerial meeting in Switzerland.
Misunderstanding Islam
Al-Hayat, London, August 23
British historian Tom Holland wrote an article for The Sunday Times titled, “Eternal Empire of the Sword,” featuring the terrible execution photos published by ISIS and an explanation beneath them, noting, “this is a symbol of a conquest practiced for millennia across the Middle East, and one sanctioned by the Koran.”
Allow me to disregard the first part of his words and only refer to the second allegation: the Koran does not sanction murder. Holland’s expertise might have evaded him, but Islam is a religion of peace. The Prophet Muhammad fought some Jewish clans only after they conspired against him, and he most definitely did not fight all Jews – as even some of his wives came from Jewish tribes. Inevitably, the Koran raises Jesus and Mother Mary to a higher rank than that in the Old Testament.
Holland quotes half-verses from the Koran, without acknowledging that they later continue to talk specifically about polytheists, not Jews or Christians; and even then offers repentance for those who seek it, as “Allah is forgiving and merciful.” Sadly, there are many enemies today who want to portray all Muslims as terrorists.
And more unfortunate is the fact that even the moderate world often makes mistakes in judgment, causing all Muslims to pay the price.
American hypocrisy from Iraq to Missouri
Al-Hayat, London, August 23
US President Barack Obama cut short his August vacation and made his way back to Washington, in order to address the nation on the crisis in Iraq and the police shooting in the small town of Ferguson, Missouri.
The administration was clearly uneasy.
A number of important questions can be raised regarding these separate two issues, but more important is the interesting link between them: While the US insisted on supporting a democratically elected government in one place, it completely defied freedom of speech in the other. The pictures of ISIS forces making their way towards Baghdad and the fall of the Mosul dam forced the American administration to intervene militarily in Iraq – a country it pulled out of just a few years earlier. The main problem, of course, was how to wage a war on a country without calling it a war.
During the Syrian chemical weapons crisis in September 2013, Obama was persuaded not to intervene militarily.
This time, however, following the “Israeli method,” Obama claimed there was “an existential threat” that required immediate American intervention: the killing of minorities such as the Yazidis or the targeting of American sites and diplomatic personnel.
The sight of armed policemen marching around Ferguson couldn’t have made the American double-standards any clearer: it fights for freedom in one place, and disregards it in another.