"The current Israeli colonial policy in Palestine and Jerusalem is based on false religious excuses and justifications aimed at misleading international public opinion."

Leni (blonde hair) and Tali lighting the last candle of Hannukah, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Leni (blonde hair) and Tali lighting the last candle of Hannukah, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Al-Ghad, Jordan, December 28
The current Israeli colonial policy in Palestine and Jerusalem is based on false religious excuses and justifications aimed at misleading international public opinion and winning sympathy for Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. These so-called religious rituals allow the Israeli government to continue its systematic Judaization of Jerusalem and al-Aksa Mosque.
These days, the Jews celebrate the festival of lights, also known as “Hanukkah,” a Hebrew word standing for “inauguration.” The holiday is celebrated in commemoration of the inauguration and construction of the alleged second temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. According to the Jewish narrative, a number of Jews were able to light a seven-candle lampstand for eight days, even though there was only oil left for one day. Therefore, Jews around the world gather every evening on Hanukkah to light candles and repeat this tradition for eight days.
This holiday is considered one of the most dangerous Jewish holidays for Islamic and Christian sanctities, as it is the only one linked – according to their lies and traditions – to an alleged structure that stood where the blessed al-Aksa Mosque stands today. It is widely known to researchers that Hanukkah is not one of the Jewish holidays mentioned in the Bible. However, it is one of the most popular Jewish holidays for political organizations like “Women for the Temple,” “Students for the Temple,” and “The Federation of Temple Organizations,” which invite Zionist settlers to participate extensively in the intense and continuous incursions into the Mosque.
Politically, the Israeli government is taking advantage of this holiday to continue its systematic Judaization project in Palestine and Jerusalem based on daily attacks and crimes, in addition to its endeavor to win the support of some states. It is important to note that during last year’s Hanukkah celebration, Israeli PM Netanyahu met US Secretary of State Pompeo in Brussels, where the two lit the second candle together as a token of Israeli gratitude to the steadfast American support of Israeli colonization.
The Royal Committee for Jerusalem Affairs, which monitors the events on the ground in Jerusalem, strongly condemns these rituals, which, under religious pretext, are used to increase Israeli attacks on Muslim and Christian holy sites in the City. Genuine religious observance revolves around the spread of peace and love among peoples; not what Israel and its right-wing organizations are doing to spread the ideas of hatred.
Abdullah Kanaan, Secretary-General of the Royal Committee for Jerusalem Affairs
Chasing mourners at their graves
Asharq Al-Awsat, London, December 29
The sight of the security men forcefully pushing people away from the cemetery, to which they came to mourn and visit their loved ones who were killed in the last round of Iranian protests, shows that the regime in Tehran has lost its mind. Indeed, the regime seems to be in a state of sheer terror if it fears even the ghosts of the dead.
Alertness levels have been raised across the entire country. The regime has cut off the Internet for 40 million users, despite its importance to meet the needs of the government and the people. Security agencies are disturbing the international media and preventing them from reporting what is happening in Iran. The streets of Tehran have been flooded with police and army forces.
Unlike previous rounds of demonstrations, in which security forces remained vigilant yet hidden, the regime has now deployed its forces out in the open, with the hope of deterring people from taking to the streets. Over 500 protesters have been killed, most of them young adults. Thousands of others have been arrested. The pictures coming from Tehran reflect the confusion and deterioration of the regime’s stability. As a case in point, there has been a deluge of contradictory statements made by regime officials, including political and parliamentary leaders, government clerics and media officials close to the government. The government seems to have lost its credibility even among its loyalists.
The mullahs’ political intransigence costs the Iranian people billions of dollars. Most Iranians depend on the government for jobs and subsidies of major commodities, but instead of improving people’s livelihoods, the mullahs are financing internal and external political operations. Horrific scenes such as the harassment of families and mourners visiting the graves of their loved ones manage to turn even some of the strongest regime proponents against the system. Similarly, targeting young men and children taking to the streets will only turn them into icons of the new Iranian revolution.
Nikta Esfandani, a 14-year-old girl who was shot straight in her head during the November protests against rising fuel prices, has already succeeded in galvanizing the masses against the regime. Does the Supreme Leader actually believe he will be able to control the protests at a time when prices are continuously rising, and when people have become fully convinced that corruption is widespread among all ranks of government? The mullahs are awaiting a divine miracle, but all they are getting so far are more and more crippling US sanctions.
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed
Al-Arab, London, December 27
 Many Tunisians were caught by surprise — and fear — when they learned of the unannounced visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to their country, during which he met Tunisian President Qais Saeed. Tunisians are inevitably reminded of the Turkish military intervention in Libya in 2011 and in Syria over the years, and are worried that similar Turkish intervention would reach their own doorstep.
While it is true that the Turkish intervention in these regions was partially a result of Arab complacency and inability to solve our own crises, it is also true that Erdogan has sought to violate the sovereignty of countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya for his Turkey’s own benefit and national interest.
There is certainly reason to believe that Ankara is turning its eyes toward the Maghreb region. Turkey already signed a maritime delimitation deal with Libya last month. Ankara has also declared its willingness and readiness to intervene in Libya to protect the Presidential Council led by Faiz al-Sarraj and to undermine regional initiatives led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Accordingly, Erdogan’s visit to Libya raises many questions. This trip seems to revolve around two major dimensions: the first economic and the second political. On the economic front, Erdogan’s visit is meant to reach agreements with the Libyan regime on the provision of oil and natural gas to Turkey. This will enable Ankara to completely free itself from its dependence on Russian oil imports, thereby improving its geopolitical power in the region.
On the political front, Erdogan is determined to protect Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based government, most notably by defending his legitimacy abroad and helping him reach a political resolution that would guarantee his political survival and, most importantly, ensure that Turkey benefits from a significant chunk of the Libyan reconstruction pie.
While Europe is divided on Libya between the French and Italian approach, Erdogan is moving quickly to set facts on the ground and ensure Turkey’s involvement in the region. The participation of Tunisia, Algeria and Qatar in the upcoming Berlin conference on Libya will allow Turkey to disproportionately control the agenda and adjust the regional balances against Egypt and the UAE.
Amin Bin Masoud