Egypt did not fail in its mission to bring the views of Hamas and Fatah closer because of internal factors, but because of the interference of other regional forces, wrote Saleh al Qallab in a comment article for the Jordanian daily Al Rai. "To put it clearly, Iran, driven by its ambitions to be the main regional player, rushed from the very beginning to impede the course of the Egyptian initiative and compete with its role in the Palestinian arena. As a result, Hamas rejected the Egyptian peace plan."
But that does not undermine the Egyptian role as most Arab countries, including Jordan, supported Egypt in its peaceful efforts, given its strategic location and resources. "Jordan considers Egypt a main regional actor in the Middle East and as such it should stay in the forefront of defenders of the Palestinian cause. Jordan, by supporting the Egyptian mediation efforts, stresses, by extension, the importance of the Arab role in settling the internal conflicts between the Palestinian factions, which is key to the establishment of their independent state." At the same time, Jordan will continue standing by the Palestinian Authority represented by its president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Palestinian Liberation Movement. It will back all efforts directed towards the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The United Nations recently celebrated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. wrote Reem Khalifa in an opinion piece for the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat. The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to seize this occasion and launch initiatives such as forming advisory groups to guide efforts to this end.
"In Bahrain, the parliament has passed a proposal to be presented to the UN secretary general. The document is prepared by a network by a non-government organisation that was established this year to defend women's rights and empower their role in public life. Yet the celebration of one day or the signing of a document is not enough to end violence against women. "Women in our societies still suffer from many forms of domestic violence. Many are victims of routine harassment, and others suffer from discrimination and denial of their rights."
"We need comprehensive national initiatives that involve all social groups to achieve a positive impact on the life of all women from various social classes. This is in order to empower them so that they can defend their interests and live in a peaceful and caring social environment. Women can in this way acquire the necessary experience to face real life challenges and assume more leadership responsibilities."
"Those of us who watch subtitled films in fact watch written stories on the screen," observed Abdullah Bkhit in a comment piece for the Saudi daily Al Riyadh. "It is hard to focus on both text and picture at the same time, because the viewer misses a lot of facial expressions and other details. Sometimes a bad translation makes this experience even worse. For this reason many countries in the Arab world opted for dubbing international drama, such as Mexican and Turkish soap-operas, as well as cartoons."
Viewers have thus become able to identify themselves with the unfolding plot. When surmounting the language barrier, the Arab audience been exposed more and more to international films, which will likely to refine its artistic sense and its ability to critically assess various productions. In this process, one language should prevail as a uniform dubbing code: standard Arabic. Using local dialects, as it is the case now in the Arab world, may lead to odd associations between the drama and the language. All in all, dubbing efforts, especially into standard Arabic, will allow Arab viewers to watch better quality films than they were used to. This in turn will pose a new challenge to Arab producers who must enter into competition with their international counterparts and qualitatively upgrade their work.
"The heated debate sparked by the Iraqi election law may delay it or threaten its issuance altogether. In both cases, the election due in late January may be postponed, observed the UAE newspaper Al Bayan in its editorial.
It should be noted that the US troops withdrawal is dependent on the Iraqi election. What is at stake thus outweighs mere competition between political blocs about who is going to win more seats in the parliament. The election will decide the future of the country because it will lay the foundation for a sound political process in Iraq. What is going on now is a waste of time, taking the form of endless discussions in the parliament about whether the election law complies with the constitution. This led to a renewed debates and brought the whole process back to square one. "By experience, similar political crises have always brought with them disastrous violent incidents that shook the stability of the country."
Now that the security situation is a little better than it was in the past, Iraqi political actors should seize this opportunity, which is more conducive to achieving a political breakthrough. The first step towards that is to pass the law. The elections should not be postponed any longer. * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi firstname.lastname@example.org