Hot off the Arab press 387864

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

Lebanese caricaturist Stavro Jabra holds up his cartoon during a solidarity rally for those murdered at the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ magazine, in Beirut on January 11. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Lebanese caricaturist Stavro Jabra holds up his cartoon during a solidarity rally for those murdered at the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ magazine, in Beirut on January 11.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Welcome to the Third World War
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, January 9
This is the age of a new type of terrorist, bred by Islamic State. Their crimes do not begin or end in Paris; those who try to localize their threat fail to understand that our current war against terrorism is a global one.
It is being fought from France to Germany, Britain to Canada, Australia to America; taking place in Riyadh and Sinai, Mosul and Cairo.
These Islamic State-bred terrorists, these al-Qaida- inspired jihadists, are not fighting against caricatures in newspapers; they are fighting democracy and modernity. The perpetrators of the Paris attack were French citizens. They did not carry out their attack out of despair; they were not fighting for justice or political freedom. They were simply brainwashed by ideas of extremism and fundamentalism.
Instead of casting the blame on the authorities and pointing fingers at each other, we must realize we bear responsibility for the growth of this terror. The West has repeatedly supported emerging Islamist regimes in the Arab world, leaders affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood who oppose the West. And under the guise of democracy and free speech, innocent Muslims in Europe are being persecuted and castigated, asked to leave the continent, while the authorities stay idle.
Anger is directed towards to wrong people. The world needs to deal with this problem as one. Today it is Europe; tomorrow it is the US.
Mashari al-Thaidy
‘Charlie Hebdo’ and the backlash against Islam
Islam Al-Nahar, Lebanon, January 10
I do not hesitate to speculate that the bloody attack on Charlie Hebdo will lead to a response far more harsh than the one seen following the 9/11 attacks, which launched the so-called War on Terror. Paris yesterday seemed like a clash of civilizations. On the one hand, the Western hatred for Islam, and on the other, innocents who feel their religion has been hijacked.
It is completely understandable that a respectable French paper such as Le Monde chose to compare the events in Paris to those in New York City in 2001. What is not understandable is that no matter how many Arab countries condemn this crime and how many Muslim leaders publicly castigate those responsible, the West’s public opinion will remain as is: that all Muslims are terrorists and murderers.
This is exactly what Zionism hoped to achieve: pushing the West to a confrontation with Islam. Now is the time for Muslim leaders to understand the great threat we are facing, and take back Islam from the extremists who have kidnapped it.
Rajeh al-Kouri
Palestine’s accession to the ICC puts everything on the line
Al-Hayat, London, January 9
The State of Palestine has decided to pursue a new approach, alongside bilateral negotiations with Israel and the so-called American-backed peace process. This move does not oppose the two-state solution; rather, it forces both sides to show their true face: occupation and settlements, or two states for two peoples.
The decision to join the ICC and sign international conventions is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s attempt at ensuring the Palestinian intifada remains non-militarized. Abbas does not incite to terrorism and violence. Instead, he relies on international institutions and law to change the rules of the game and signal to the world – Israel, Europe and the US – that enough is enough.
The US has already threatened to cut off its aid to the Palestinians in retaliation. If we in the Arab world truly wish to see the Palestinians succeed, we must provide Abbas with guarantees and make a conscious decision to fund the PA as it seeks to achieve an independent state. The Palestinians should have a strong plan to deal with Israeli and American reactions. Abbas might go down in history as the Palestinian leader who brought Israel to the International Criminal Court. He might also, however, delay Palestinian statehood by several years. This does not only depend on him – it is also on us.
Raghida Dargham
Israel’s concern with the US
Al-Watan, Egypt, January 9
The US threatened to use its veto against the Palestinian resolution at the UN Security Council last week, and block the proposal to end the Israeli occupation by 2017; the Arab world then released its fury on the US.
But underneath the surface, there is a strategic American shift away from Israel, as Jerusalem and the Jewish lobby have become less and less influential in the US. The once inexhaustible fountain of funding and support for Israel has been shut down in recent years.
Public opinion on the street and even in Congress has been on a constant decline. Israel lost control of the American strategy in the Middle East on the one hand, and of the American political process on the other.
The Israeli suspicion of the US-Iran nuclear deal does not stem from a fear of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Rather, it stems from the strategic transformation in the US, which is turning away from Israel. In other words, Israel might seem safe and secure today; it might block Palestinian resolutions at the Security Council. But a look at the bigger picture, maybe 10 years down the road, reveals many uncertainties regarding its future.
In the end, Israel is a small and weak country, surrounded by a vast ocean of Arab states which are growing stronger by the day.
Muhammad Ibrahim Mansour
What is Israel’s solution?
Al-Khaleej, United Arab Emirates, January 10
Today more than ever, it seems that Israel – despite nearly seven decades of occupation – is not willing to reach a final settlement with the Palestinians, in the form of a sovereign Palestinian state in the pre-1967 lines, living side by side with the Israeli one. Even the Palestinian readiness to accept a demilitarized state has been met with discontent by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his aides, who added new demands: that the Palestinians recognize the Jewishness of Israel, and that international forces be placed in the Jordan Valley.
On top of this, Israel has demanded the right to keep its big settlement blocs, thus preventing territorial continuity in the future Palestinian state. These conditions rob the Palestinians of any substance or essence of political sovereignty. Each and every attempt to reach a settlement with Israel has been met with refusal. Israel believes the current strategic situation in the region works to its own advantage: as the peace treaty with Egypt remains strong, Syria is preoccupied with its civil war, Iraq is busy with the threat of Islamic State, and the Palestinians face an internal rift between Fatah and Hamas. So instead of reaching a solution to the conflict, it is focused on wasting time. Instead of holding negotiations, it enforces a semi-final solution on the Palestinians, in the form of “conflict management.”
The Israeli government is not going to change its policy anytime soon, and the Palestinian failure at the Security Council most necessarily did not help.
The Palestinians, alongside their Arab counterparts, must prepare for a fierce diplomatic battle.
Dr. Naji Sadek Sherab is an American nonprofit news agency covering the Middle East.