Hot off the Arab press 469550

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

The coffin of former president Shimon Peres at the Knesset plaza in Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The coffin of former president Shimon Peres at the Knesset plaza in Jerusalem
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Al-Araby al-Jadid, London, September 30
Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president who died last week, has been eulogized by many world leaders as a person who “embodied the story of Israel.” I, too, agree with this statement, but for very different reasons.
Peres symbolized Israel in that he was a living testament to the huge discrepancy between his country’s perception as a democracy, and its colonial and racist policies on the ground. A so-called Israeli dove, Peres immigrated to Palestine in the 1930s. Shortly thereafter he joined the Hagana, and took an active part in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians during the 1948 war. Later, during his term in Israel’s Defense Ministry, he established Israel’s nuclear program, keeping it hidden from the eyes of the world until his very last day. This is not all. Peres was a staunch supporter of settlements in the West Bank, and significantly assisted in the establishment of numerous Jewish outposts on confiscated Arab lands. Furthermore, he was one of the architects of Israel’s first war in Lebanon, during which hundreds of innocent civilians died, as well as an avid defender of the illegal blockade on Gaza. This list can go on and on, but the point remains clear: Peres was no pacifist. The story of his life is directly intertwined in the story of the oppression of the Palestinian people. His idolization and admiration by world leaders is a disgrace to the Palestinian cause and to all human rights advocates around the world.
– Khalil al-Anani
Al-Quds Press, Gaza, September 30
The participation of Mahmoud Abbas in the funeral of Zionist war criminal Shimon Peres is a sin against the Palestinian people. Shimon Peres took pride in a bloody history with the Palestinians, and was responsible for the death, torture and rape of thousands of our people. Women, children, and elderly people found their miserable death at the hands of Peres.
Sadly, Abbas preferred to participate in the funeral service of this war criminal, while ignoring the funeral of one of his closest aides, Nimmer Hammad. How can anyone claiming to represent the Palestinian people attend a memorial service of a criminal who killed hundreds our children? How can Abbas agree to honor the memory of the founding father of the Zionist nuclear program? The blood of our martyrs is now on Abbas’s hands. He failed us as Palestinians, and most importantly, as Muslims. He failed to unite our nation.
He even failed to unite his own movement, Fatah. Like food that has gone rotten, Abbas is well aware of the fact that his time has ended. His participation in the funeral is nothing but cheap political sycophancy to the Zionist oppressor. In light of the uncertainty of his political future, Abbas resorted to seeking the approval and support of Tel-Aviv. He sinned against us, the Palestinian people, and betrayed the values we all believe in. Rage and anger is the only way for us to react.
Mushir al-Masri, Hamas Legislative Council Member
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, September 30
Just when we thought American foreign policy could not make any less sense, Washington surprised us yet again. In fact, within one single year, America implemented two measures that discounted over four decades of close partnership with its allies in the Gulf.
What I am talking about is the nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the JCPOA, which was signed last July, and the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, known as JASTA, which was approved by Congress this week. Paradoxically, over the course of one year, the United States rewarded Iran, the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world, and punished Saudi Arabia, the main country fighting terrorism in the Middle East. The former agreement lifted all sanctions on Tehran, provided the mullahs with millions of dollars in cash rewards and incentives, and normalized the ties between the West and Iran. The latter, meanwhile, holds Saudi Arabia accountable for the atrocities committed in the September 11 attacks. This could not get any more absurd. Undoubtedly, the relations between Riyadh and Washington have hit an all-time low. It is still unclear what will happen next. Hawkish Saudi parliamentarians called to cut their country’s ties with the United States. Like them, I am, too, outraged by this legislation. But unlike them, I believe Saudi Arabia ought to be careful about its reaction. There are still ways to work around this bill with the next American administration elected in November. Saudi Arabia must not stand idly as it faces preposterous accusations, but it should also not react with haste.
– Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed
Al-Akhbar, Lebanon, September 27
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah stressed the need to hold parliamentary elections as soon as possible, and explained that “it is not an option for the Lebanese people to continue functioning without a president.” He called all political parties in Lebanon to accept the nomination of Hezbollah- backed candidate Michel Aoun as the new head of state. Speaking on the situation in Syria, the secretary claimed that his organization is “defending the interests and the very existence of Lebanon” and praised his men for achieving great victories despite the heavy price paid on the battlefield. He reiterated the fact that there is no acceptable alternative to the regime of Bashar Assad, and warned against the rise of Islamic State within Lebanon should a political solution be forcefully imposed upon the Syrian people.
“The situation in Syria will only be determined on the battlefield,” he concluded. Most important, Nasrallah devoted considerable attention to the current state of affairs in the Arab world. He insisted that Saudi Arabia, and its Whabbist propaganda, has been the biggest source of instability in the region. Saudi Arabia’s crimes, he claimed, have been “even more evil than Israel,” seeking to destroy anything within its path, while misrepresenting and defaming Islam among the Western world.
– Wafiq Qansouh