Hot off the Arab press 455013

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

People wait outside the international arrivals terminal at Cairo Airport on May 19. (photo credit: REUTERS)
People wait outside the international arrivals terminal at Cairo Airport on May 19.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Downing of EgyptAir plane: a message to Paris and Cairo
Al-Arab, London, May 21
The exact reason for the disappearance of the Egypt- Air flight over the Mediterranean is still not clear.
Egyptian, Russian, and American officials claimed that the airliner was likely brought down in a terrorist attack, due to a bomb placed on board.
In the meantime, communication information retrieved from aviation radio channels indicates that several smoke detectors went off on board before communication with the airplane was lost. Either way, whoever stands behind this tragedy wanted to send a clear message to Paris and Cairo.
In recent months, France has been promoting an aggressive strategy in Libya, aimed at blocking the spread of Islamic State in North Africa. French military personnel have been equipping and training their Libyan counterparts with weapons and equipment to fight terrorist cells in the country.
The new French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has been working to convene several international conferences, aimed at addressing both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the situation in the Middle East at large. This is where Egypt comes into the picture: no campaign against Islamic State in Libya can take place without the ground support of Egyptian forces.
France can provide the international framework, planning, and intelligence that is needed for such an operation, but it is Cairo that will have to do the coordination on the ground. Targeting this specific flight from Paris to Cairo is no coincidence. Whoever planted the supposed bomb could have easily chosen any other airliner. The idea is to send a clear message to both countries, warning them of trying to imitate their campaign in Syria in other places in the region as well. – Amin Ibn Masoud
Will Netanyahu take Sisi’s proposal?
Al-Aharam, Egypt, May 21
Despite the political storms and turbulences that have befallen our region, the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, which was signed almost 40 years ago, is succeeding.
In a confident, quiet and honest tone, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi publicly acknowledged the importance of Egyptian-Israeli relations, and called on Israeli leaders to come together and write a new and chapter in the region’s history by reaching a deal with the Palestinians.
The president appealed to Israel to make concessions in favor of peace, in order to bring about stability and security for the entire region. He stressed Egypt’s commitment to solving the Palestinian problem while being a fair and honest broker between the two sides.
Interestingly enough, the president’s initiative has been widely welcomed in Israel.
The candid and honest nature of Sisi’s words seemed to have struck a chord with the Israeli public, which was inspired by his respect for the relations between the two countries. For the first time I have ever witnessed, the Israeli public seemed to embrace the call for action.
What Israeli policy-makers, and perhaps Israelis at large, fail to recognize is that peace with the Palestinians is not a zero-sum game. A just solution to the Palestinian problem in the form of an independent Palestinian state will not only serve the Arab world, but also the Israelis themselves.
Now it is time to watch what Netanyahu’s reaction to this call for action will be. Will it end with a mere gesture of returning lost artifacts from Israel to Egypt, or will it take form in the launch of genuine peace talks brokered by Egypt? – Makram Muhammad Ahmed
The ambiguous death of the Hezbollah commander
Al-Okaz, Saudi Arabia, May 20
In yet another blow to Hezbollah, the organization’s prominent field commander Mustafa Badr al- Din was assassinated in a bombing close to Damascus’s international airport. Badr al-Din joins a long list of Hezbollah operatives who have been killed in recent years: the organization’s chief of staff Imad Mughniyeh, his son, Jihad Mughniyeh, Samir Kuntar, a prominent commander in the organization, and now Badr al-Din.
Along with them over 1,000 Hezbollah soldiers have lost their lives in the fighting in Syria, leaving the organization with great losses. Many experts believe the Shi’ite terrorist group is now at an all-time low in terms of manpower and resources. Yet what is most curious is that not a single rebellion has been apparent within the organization’s ranks.
Despite the heavy price paid for their involvement in Syria’s civil war, Hezbollah members seem to be standing in complete support of their leader, Hassan Nasrallah. This could either reflect their genuine support of their leader, or the strong indoctrination they undergo while joining the group’s ranks.
Either way, it is likely that any other organization incurring such great losses would have witnessed protests and demands for investigation. Only time will tell what will happen with Hezbollah. Perhaps, without notice, tensions are already building up beneath the surface. – Turki al-Dakhil
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