Hot off the Arab press 379614

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

An image of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein printed on copper. (photo credit: REUTERS)
An image of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein printed on copper.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Saddam Hussein planned to kidnap Menachem Begin
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, October 16
Badi Aref, a prominent Iraqi lawyer, recently revealed that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was planning to abduct prime minister Menachem Begin and bring him to Baghdad. This, according to Aref, was planned revenge for Begin’s surprise air attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor, located some 32 km. from Baghdad, in June 1981. The plan was to rely on Palestinian organizations to assist in the kidnapping, and smuggle the prime minister to Iraq through the occupied territories.
Hussein eventually decided not to carry out the covert operation, after being approached by a Western head of state who had learned of the scheme and warned of its dire consequences. Aref learned of this plan from one of Hussein’s closest intelligence officers.
Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam should not hurt Egypt
Al-Shuruq, Egypt, October 18
Following a trilateral meeting held recently in Cairo between the Ethiopian, Sudanese and Egyptian water ministers, the three announced they are willing to work together to ensure that the Renaissance Dam, being built by Ethiopia at a cost of $4 billion, does not disrupt the Nile River’s flow to downstream counties.
Ethiopian Water Minister Alemho Tajno claimed his country designs all of its dams in a manner that is not detrimental to the downstream states, and that it is a very important principle for his government.
Despite the continuation of the trilateral talks, Ethiopia is continuing with the massive construction of the Renaissance Dam, which will be the largest one on the African continent and provide cheap electricity to countries as far as South Africa and Morocco. The aim of the project, constructed by an Italian company, is to produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity for an energy-hungry region. However, the project has raised deep concerns in Egypt, which relies almost entirely on the Nile in the areas of agriculture, industry and drinking water for its huge population.
Jerusalem before anything else!
Al-Ayyam, Ramallah, October 18
What is happening in Jerusalem these days, in al-Aksa Mosque, must be given priority over any other issue. Jerusalem, which for generations kept a strong Muslim and Arab identity, is falling under the pressure of its Judaization, occupation and annexation.
Current events in Jerusalem are completely different from that of previous years of the occupation. Today, the government – which promotes occupation under the banner of “greater Israel” – is not only controlling us by military force, but also legitimizing the seizure of our lands via all possible means. It is defying and deceiving the entire world, and getting away without punishment.
It portrays the occupied as the occupier, and the defender as the aggressor. It is taking advantage of the so-called moderate Arab support of its policies and the significant US aid to promote its agenda. What is happening in Jerusalem today is a war against history.
It would be a grave mistake to talk about any prospect of our future homeland without talking about Jerusalem first – as the capital of our nation that we seek to liberate from occupation. It is time to make Jerusalem the first topic of every conversation we have – at the UN, in negotiations, with international allies and with our Arab brothers. We know that the women and children resisting the Israeli war machine in Jerusalem with stones and steadfastness will prove that Jerusalem is ours, no matter what they say or do.
The House of Commons and the recognition of Palestine
Ma’an, Ramallah, October 18
On the eve of the announcement of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the first president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, reiterated Britain’s crucial role in the displacement of Palestinians from the lands of the Mandate. But on October 13, the British House of Commons passed a unanimous non-biding resolution calling the government to formally recognize the State of Palestine, in what was described as a historic move. The vote passed with the crushing support of 274 members of parliament vs. 12 minute objections.
But an important question now arises: After all these years of Palestinian suffering, what is the purpose of a non-biding resolution? Is it not the time for this decision to be binding? After more than 25 years of occupation supported by the British, the Americans and the West, is it not time for the world to pass a binding resolution recognizing the Palestinians’ right to live in their own country? The British resolution, despite all of this, is still a positive step in the right direction, and is better than no resolution. But if Britain is the democracy it considers itself to be, one that takes pride in its hundreds of years of democratic institutions, should it now abide by majority rule and fulfill the wish of its legislators? Is it not time for Britain to correct the injustice it has done to the Palestinian people, and recognize the State of Palestine in a binding, committed and unequivocal manner?