Analysis: Arab world pessimistic on renewed peace talks

Shi’ites and Sunnis, radical and conservative Muslims, various states and tribes alike seem to pre-doom the upcoming planned talks between Israel and the Palestinians; Arab newspapers focus on other conflicts in the region.

Arab man (Saudi) reading a newspaper 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Susan Baaghil )
Arab man (Saudi) reading a newspaper 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Susan Baaghil )
The Arab world – which is divided on almost any element including Shi’ites and Sunnis, radical and conservative Muslims, various states and tribes – appear to unite in their pessimistic outlook of the planned, US-moderated peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Yet some Arab newspapers, instead of focusing on this issue, have focused their commentary on other conflicts in the region.
The civil war in Syria and the toppling of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi drew much of the attention, but so did other local and regional issues.
Regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the Arab world sees the US as an unfair intermediary and President Barack Obama largely as a disappointment, since it was believed that he would rebalance US policy towards the conflict. Even though many in Israel perceive Obama as favoring the Palestinian position, the Arabs do not view Obama this way.
In a piece last week by Hassan Haidar in the popular London based Arab daily Al-Hayat, he argues that instead of winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama should have been awarded an Oscar for Best Actor.
“Indeed, he has been able to fool everyone with his lofty language, which fades away merely by emerging from his lips, leaving nothing but daydreams and promises… ” He goes on to note that the Palestinians “thought that a president had finally come to the White House who would pressure Israel and force it to recognize their state.
“Instead, they have seen this theoretical state of theirs shrink further and further during his term, such as to nearly turn into dots that can barely be distinguished on the map of Greater Israel eaten away at by settlers every day, while he worries about the security of the Hebrew State… ” In the Jordanian daily Ad- Dustour, an article on Friday stated that Israel has no plans to withdraw from occupied territories and the US will not force it to do so. The only way forward is if Israel is prepared to withdraw back to its pre-1967 territory and if the US is willing to pressure it to do so, the article said.
Rami Khouri, writing in Saturday’s Lebanese Daily Star states that the situation is the same as it was 46 years ago, Israel does not want to give up the “conquered territories” and the Palestinians and the rest of the world “insist that the territories must revert to their Palestinian owners through a negotiated agreement” based on the pre-1967 borders.
He says that the latest move by the EU to forbid dealings with institutions or organizations in the occupied territories is “highly significant and praiseworthy” but that it is too early to tell what will happen since “Israel and its attack dogs in Western capitals” will strike back to thwart any pressure on Israel.