London's Al Quds al Arabi daily carried an opinion piece by the Chief Editor Abdel-Beri Atwan which discussed the Gaza reconstruction aid conference. "Today," he wrote, "the activities of the international conference for the reconstruction of Gaza will begin in Sharm el Sheikh resort with the participation of 75 delegations, none of whom represents the state that destroyed the Strip and killed 1,350 of its people or the resistance factions that defended it and stood fast in the face of the aggression."
Just like the crossings card was used to get the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to submit and rebel against these resistance factions, it is probable that the reconstruction card and the funds which will be allocated for this task will be used for that same purpose. "However, we do not understand why Israel was excluded from this conference, and thus spared from the financial consequences of its actions, knowing that the current Iraqi government, America's ally, is still paying compensation to Kuwait for the damage entailed as a result of the invasion conducted by the former government. So why was Israel excluded at a time when it has received hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for Iraq's missiles which only killed a few settlers?"
"Even though Ayman Nour's release for medical reasons was made one day before the end of his sentence, this release will continue to enjoy its meaning in the context of political development in Egypt," commented Muhammad al Sa'dani in Egypt's Al Ahram daily. "Those who believe that the release was made in response to American pressure are mistaken, for Nour's release was probably delayed due to this pressure which was exerted on the Egyptian state by George Bush's administration. Thank God, Nour was released and is now in perfect health, going from one place to the other, receiving those who have come to congratulate him, speaking and planning for the future. Nour's release was not an act of submission as some are claiming. It was made in an intelligent merger between the implementation of Egyptian law and foreign political priorities, especially concerning the new American administration which we know had nothing to do with the shameful practices of the previous one." Nour's release was made at a time when the new American administration was not exerting any pressure or making demands in this regard, the writer added.
Zein al Shami, a Syrian columnist for Kuwait's Al Rai newspaper, wrote that it has become a tradition of Syrian political and media speech, and of even the ideological speeches of all the Syrian political parties, to give top priority to foreign, regional and international affairs at the expense of internal affairs. This has been a dominant characteristic of Syrian political life since independence.
"If one looks at Syria's media and official speeches, you find that internal affairs occupy a very secondary position in the priorities of government officials. From our childhood, we have seen news broadcasts start with reports about political receptions and the regime's talk about the regional political situation. Then comes the regional news about Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and Darfur, then we have bits and pieces from here and there. As for our internal affairs - our lives and culture and how the government must deal with us - they only occupy a small part of the news summarised by mentioning the opening of a school here or the drilling of a well there or the paving of a road or about a 'popular protest'." This absence of the daily life of the citizens from the list of priorities is the secret behind the long lines of Syrians waiting in front of western embassies, the author concluded.
Jordan's Al Arab al Yawm carried a piece by Jawad al Bashiti who argued that "it appears that the international community is determined to prevent any intra-Palestinian reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, if this reconciliation does not pave the way for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation."
Israel imposed the brutal blockade on Gaza, before they became more politically brutal in their conditions to end it. Now the Palestinian organisation, which won the elections of the Legislative Council, should - upon the decisions of the international quartet committee backed by the Arabs - recognise Israel and abandon violence and endorse all that has been signed by the Palestinians and Israel, even though the Jewish state relinquished its responsibilities.
"But sometimes bad things turn to good ones. Here is Israel offering itself - through free and democratic elections - to a government headed by Netanyahu and Lieberman. Now let the international quartet committee meet and decide that they will not co-operate with any Palestinian or Israeli party that does not meet the international demands for peace." * Digest compiled by www.mideastwire.com