The Kuwaiti daily Al Khaleej wrote that while Israel's warplanes and tanks were killing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, "its bulldozers were usurping the lives of the Palestinians in the West Bank. Reports revealed that during the Israeli war on Gaza, Israel's bulldozers expanded settlement activities on Palestinian lands. The Zionist entity does not stop building settlements during negotiations, wars and secondary clashes. Israel's behaviour regarding the Palestinian lands is consistent with its ideology and objectives and policy.
The paper argued that the Jewish state is pushing forward with the implementation of its objectives to annex Palestinian lands "under appropriate or inappropriate international circumstances. At all times, the usurpation of Palestine remains its only goal." In contrast, the Palestinians are only able to hold negotiations. "Israel's constants are based on its objectives, while the Arabs' constants vary according to their convenience. Negotiations have become sacred to some Arabs, because the other option is very costly. Israel will continue annexing the Palestinian lands as long as enemy knows that there is nothing in the Arabs' bag but negotiations, compromises and concessions."
Latifa Bu-Sa'dan, a Moroccan journalist writing in Lebanon's Al Akhbar explained that Morocco announced that it is dropping its reservations concerning the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). But, she asked, "what happened for the Moroccan authorities" and especially the King, "to satisfy one of the demands of the feminist movement and how did the feminist elites receive the royal initiative?"
Bu-Sa'dan noted first that feminist activists linked the news of the lifting of the reservations to other "problematic demands that are still on hold, especially concerning the political aspect of these demands, ie raising the roof of the political representation of women." Morocco is approaching elections, she added, and the feminist movement wants to achieve political gains that it failed to record in the legislative elections when the authorities did not heed the demand for a "third of the seats" to be given to women and, as a result, the female quota remained as it is - below 20 per cent. "The law, on its own, cannot affect mentalities as we still see marriages to minors and polygamy in society," she concluded.
Lebanon's An Nahar daily carried a piece by Sarkis Naoum who asked: "Has the outstanding relationship between Syria and the Islamic Republic of Iran reached its end?" Given Syria's engagement in direct talks with Israel under Turkey's mediation, Naoum said, Iran has become annoyed. "Iran has expressed its displeasure to the Syrians directly and to a number of Arab leaders who were surprised with Iran's severe tone and accusatory statements."
He added that Iran also expressed its annoyance in another way, by giving a green light for delivering an indirect message - not through the Hizbollah channel but through the party's allies in Lebanon - to Israel, the moderate Arabs, the Americans, and the Europeans. The rockets fired from South Lebanon, Naoum implied, carried this message which says "that the Gaza offensive must cease, or else the scope of the war will expand to Lebanon and maybe Syria". Sources are afraid that Syria would repeat - through Iran - the blackmail policy it had practised a long time ago. During the times of Hafez al Assad, Syria skilfully blackmailed the Arab states who were afraid of it, especially in the Gulf. and a number of foreign states,
The Egyptian daily Al Ahram carried a piece by Muhammad Sabreen who said that, "Obama's problem, and that of those who preceded him, is that they never realised there was mistrust between the Arab world and America due to Israel. Some of Obama's advisers might think that a few promises and well-crafted words will alleviate the Arab concerns and revive hope, but the Arab world does not want words. It wants courageous actions."
It is probable that Obama might have the best intentions, Sabreen said, but he does not necessarily control all the sides involved in the game to be able to achieve a major breakthrough. Despite his attempts to earn the trust of the "Arab street", change at the level of the American policy is still in form and not in content. What is certain is that Obama will not resolve the Palestinian issue on his own, and that Egypt will call for a summit that will be attended by Obama, the leaders of the moderate Arab countries and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, "so that the seriousness of the issue is exposed".
* Digest compiled by www.mideastwire.com