Hot off the Arab press 466620

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

Protesters wave Fatah and Palestinian flags during a demonstration in Nablus in August 2016. (photo credit: UDI SHAHAM)
Protesters wave Fatah and Palestinian flags during a demonstration in Nablus in August 2016.
(photo credit: UDI SHAHAM)
Al-Quds al-Arabi, London, August 26
The Palestinian elections scheduled to take place in October are absolutely meaningless. I am saying this for two main reasons.
First, they cannot be genuine elections so long as the Occupation continues. Israeli authorities have been destroying Palestinian homes and roads in the West Bank on a daily basis. They have placed sieges and roadblocks on Palestinian villages. Through a series of arrests and detentions, they have even controlled who can and cannot run for public office. Just several days ago, for example, Israeli forces mysteriously arrested a Hamas member in Ramallah, preventing him from participating in the upcoming elections. Meanwhile, the Shin Bet empowers politicians who are favorable of the Israeli position. Therefore, it makes no sense to elect our leadership, since the result is a dysfunctional shadow government controlled by Israel.
If that’s not enough, there is also another reason: an ever-growing Palestinian divide. The tension between Hamas in Gaza and the PLO in the West Bank means that our already-scant resources are wasted on mutual slanders and slurs, rather than on fostering national unity. Instead of coming together to fight against the Occupation, the two movements are fighting one another. There is absolutely no value for holding elections when one half of the Palestinian people does not recognize the other half.
The only thing I can suggest is to stop this deception.
Let’s stop pretending that democracy truly exists in Palestine. This only gives Israel carte blanche to do as it pleases. Instead, we should hold the occupying power to the international laws it is committed to, and demand that it provide the Palestinian people with their basic rights. Instead of wasting our time on elections, let us demand that Israel provide us with jobs, infrastructure and a brighter future.
– Muhammad Ayesh
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, August 25
The photo of injured Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh sitting on an ambulance chair covered in dust, following the bombing of his home, traveled around the world and sparked a public outcry. It reminded me of a similarly tragic photo of Aylan Kurdi, the Kurdish boy whose body was found ashore in Turkey, after his family’s boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.
Both photos – and children – have garnered international attention. Both raise important questions about the lack of intervention and assistance provided to the Syrian people by the international community.
Indeed, US President Barack Obama – ever since stepping into office – has been promoting a policy of American isolationism. Washington has taken a step back from the Middle East and shifted its attention toward Asia, instead. The White House seems tired and faint.
Unfortunately, the events in Syria, which constitute the worst civil war since Rwanda and Cambodia, beg America’s attention. But there is no one listening at the White House. Sadly, no international coalition can ever be successful without US backing and support. This means that the duty will now fall on the shoulder of others – perhaps in Europe. We have already seen this behavior when Obama endorsed NATO’s campaign against Islamic State in Libya, but stressed that the United States would “lead from behind.”
In Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama already withdrew all US forces. Even in Israel and Palestine, the American Administration has given up on reaching an agreement. And now, in Syria, the United States stands idly by as the war-torn country falls into havoc.
Washington left the region in the hands of Russia and China, two superpowers who have morals and values very different to those of the United States.
Many of America’s longstanding allies in the Middle East have lost their faith in Washington. Many accuse it of forsaking longstanding alliances by allowing mercenaries take over the region. It might be convenient for Washington now, but these political changes will eventually come back to haunt America.
Washington can turn its back away as much as it wants, but the current unrest in the Middle East will continue to unfold so long as the US remains uninvolved in the region.
– Fahed Sliman al-Shaqiran
Al-Itihad, UAE, August 29
This week marks a unique celebration in our country: the Emirati Women’s Day. This holiday is unique not only in the region, but also in the entire world, setting an example of how other countries should celebrate the role played by women in their society.
Emirati women enjoy rights equal to those of men, and have equal opportunities for personal and professional development and growth. They serve in all public positions that exist in our country – from the Supreme Court, through the armed forces, to trade and businesses. Women have even created and launched a new ministry in our country, the Ministry of Happiness and Tolerance, which works to promote greater tolerance and respect among our people each and every day.
Moreover, the empowerment of our women is not merely limited to government positions. In private businesses, in education, in arts, and in entertainment, women pave the way for the rest of the country. In this regard, we cannot forget Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi – the Mother of all Sheikhs – a pioneer of women’s rights, who founded numerous women’s organizations and launched national campaigns for girls’ education.
To illustrate how long we have come in our 45 years of existence, it is enough to look at the recent graduating class of the National Service. Just days ago, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed attended the graduation ceremony of the new officers. Among the graduates were both his daughter and his granddaughter, setting an example for women throughout our country.
Emirati women can do anything they want, and they are truly celebrated and praised. Today, two thirds of government workers are women. Two thirds of university graduates are women. One third of cabinet members are women. Hence, it comes as no surprise that we devote a day each year to the celebration not only of our fathers and families, but also of our courageous and pioneering women.
– Abdallah bin Bajad al-Attini