Hot off the Arab press 388617

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

A woman holds a sign in Beirut in a solidarity protest for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A woman holds a sign in Beirut in a solidarity protest for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
From Paris to Beirut, from Beirut to Paris
Al-Nahar, Lebanon, January 12
The photo of world leaders marching together in Paris against terrorism was a beautiful sight. While most of us do not agree with the caricatures published in Charlie Hebdo, we all proudly held the “I am Charlie” banners when it came to defending liberty and freedom.
Terrorism is not only threatening Europe, but the entire Arab world, from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. We Lebanese know all too well the price of terrorism, having had several of our politicians and journalists targeted by extremists. Terrorism has no religion, no sect, no doctrine and no national identity; it is a disease that takes advantage of the complexities and difficulties of our region. It is not what Islam, or any other religion, preaches.
Fighting in the name of God is an insult to Islam.
The Prophet Muhammad did not call for hatred and violence, rather compassion and care. We are all God’s children, and as the Koran says, “The most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.”
– Naila Tawini, member of Lebanese parliament
‘Charlie Hebdo’ and the Palestinian debate
Ma’an, Ramallah, January 16
There has been wide debate raging on social networks regarding Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to attend the Paris rally as an act of solidarity. Some criticized Abbas, saying he did not make time to visit Gaza after the summer war but made a deliberate decision to travel to Paris. However, very few people gave serious thought to some of the considerations behind the move.
First and foremost, we Palestinians – who suffer the pain of occupation through killing and destruction – must stand firm with the principles of freedom in their absolute sense. Second, Abbas’s participation in the rally was a respectful gesture towards France, whose support of the Palestinian cause has been firm – particularly in the UN Security Council vote two weeks ago. Third, had Abbas not participated, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have made cynical use of the terror attack to turn the Western world against the Palestinians – the same way 9/11 was used to dehumanize and delegitimize all Muslims. Lastly, freedom of expression should be a universal freedom, and no religion can dispute it by attacking others.
Regardless of what stood behind this decision – whether utilitarian, moral or political – Abbas’s participation was an opportunity for Palestinians to condemn terrorism and extremism, and prevent exploitation of the event by the Israeli government.
– Jihad Harb
Liberman: The Problem lies with Abbas
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, January 15
The Palestinian issue is no longer the hot topic of the day in Israel and around the world. Since prime minister Ehud Barack was in office, each new Israeli election campaign has brought about a more radical prime minister, culminating in today’s Netanyahu.
The harshening of the Israeli public’s view might be the result of a lack of belief in peace; it might also have to do with regional events that garner more international attention, such as the fight against Islamic State and al-Qaida in Iraq and in Syria. But amid this turmoil, Israelis have become more extreme. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, for example, recently claimed that Abbas is carrying out “diplomatic terrorism” and should be eliminated from political life, referring to Abbas’s recent decision to join the International Criminal Court and promote Palestinian statehood at the UN Security Council.
My question is: Why is Hamas forced to retract its praise of the terror attack in Paris, while Liberman is not held accountable for his hostile remarks? How can we see change in the region when the US turns a blind eye to the continuous Israeli theft of Palestinian territory? America has proven to us it is a biased mediator that does not hold Israel accountable for previously signed international agreements. Given this sad reality, we should not be surprised when millions of Muslims around the world take to the streets in frustration over the Palestinian cause. The problem is not with Abbas.
– Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed
Bahrain tops Arab countries in Economic Freedom
Dar al-Hayat, London, January 13
Bahrain’s economy continued to perform well in the last quarter of 2014, with 5.1-percent growth in comparison to the 4.2% average of the entire year.
Declining oil prices are threatening the economies of almost all Gulf countries, but Bahrain seems to be on the right track. Infrastructure development has been on a constant rise, with many new hotels, malls and stores being built in the last year. In 2014 alone, the government spent $10 billion on new projects, with another expected $22b. over the course of the next five years. Tourism, social and personal services, and commercial activities have all expanded; in addition, Bahrain’s banking industry began playing a pivotal role in the diversification of income sources in the country, with 404 financial institutions employing some 14,000 people.
Bahrain has succeeded in marking itself as a great place for investment in the Gulf, ranking at the top of the Arab world in ease of conducting investment projects. It is positioned among the top four Arab countries in terms of human development, and bested all other Arab countries in its Index of Economic Freedom.
– Udnan Ahmed Yousef is an American nonprofit news agency covering the Middle East.