Gideon Levy, a journalist with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, visited the northern town of Jenin in the West Bank where he met two of its veteran militants, Jamal and Zakariya al Zubaidi, only to find out that they, and their comrades in the Palestinian struggle, have surrendered their weapons for a place on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority, which has been paying them to do nothing, reported the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds al Arabi.
The Israeli journalist summed up the situation in the once super-resistant West Bank town by entitling his report: "Despair turns Jenin from a city of suicide-militants to a city of the dead." Ironically enough, the "economic peace" that the Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad imposes on Jenin's natives has transformed them into a bunch of zombies who simply eat, drink and moan, Al Quds al Arabi said in its editorial.
Some have become instruments in the hands of Israeli security, taking care of the dirty business, such as capturing and torturing Palestinian militants. Veteran militant Jamal al Zubaidi, who now lives on 1,500 shekels (Dh1,400) a month, like many a former militant, concedes that Jenin is seeing more kids going to school, more hospitals and a better enforcement of the law. "But that wasn't what we fought for throughout the years, nor what thousands were crippled, imprisoned and died for," he said.
"There is nothing odder than China's refusal to sign a statement citing East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, except an Israeli decision to grant China a $400 million loan the next day," commented Amjad Arrar in the Emirati newspaper Al Khaleej. These two events constitute a "complex oddity" for multiple reasons. Even the worst of Security Council resolutions - No 242, which the United States itself, let alone China, approved - recognises the eastern part of Jerusalem as an occupied territory.
Also, China recognised Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine and allowed the opening of a Palestinian embassy in Beijing when the National Palestinian Council issued its independence declaration in 1988. "We are no partisans of conspiracy theories here to establish some link between China's strange decision and Israel's announcement of its loan. We're not saying here that a barter, bribe or reward has been at stake. Nevertheless, the fact that Israel's decision landed within 24 hours from China's refusal to sign the statement, simply raises suspicions." All in all, Arabs can't just sit there dealing out accusations against others as if they were judges in their own international court. States take their stances in consideration of international interests and power balances.
Iran scored a diplomatic point earlier this week through its tripartite agreement with Turkey and Brazil to ship its low-enriched uranium to the former where it would be processed and returned to Iran at a 20 per cent higher level of enrichment, usable for medical purposes, wrote Abdullah Iskandar, the managing editor of the London-based newspaper Al Hayat.
"The agreement does not mean that Iran's quarrel with the West over its nuclear programme is resolved, for there are a legion of lingering details, long negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the approval of the five-plus-one countries before a final settlment is reached." The new tripartite deal is a diplomatic arrangement that concerns the three signatories alone. It is not a response to the demands of the five plus one group or the Security Council's.
The diplomatic prowess of the Iranian deal lies in its potential to bog down otherwise stepped up efforts to impose a fresh batch of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. "Tehran has dexterously laid a favourable ground for the three-way deal to materialise, profiting to the utmost from the political and economic needs of the two rising nations in the field of energy." Indeed, Iran has been directing intelligently its "edge-of-the-cliff politics" and benefitting from it significantly, at least until now.
According to Mazen Hammad, a columnist with the Qatari newspaper Al Watan, world powers don't like to hear the opinions of the Jewish American linguist Noam Chomsky. That is precisely why the Israeli authorities barred him a few days ago from entering the occupied West Bank where he was scheduled to give two lectures at Birzeit University, near Ramallah.
In an interview he gave afterwards, Mr Chomsky said the facts were clear to all, rejecting attempts by Israeli authorities to justify the incident as a misunderstanding. Mr Chomsky said he was interrogated for several hours by an Israeli officer, after which the interior ministry stamped on his passport the phrase "Denied Entry". The 82-year-old scholar said his rejection must be attributed to two fundamental facts: first, his opinions don't sit well with the Israeli government; and second, the Israelis were disgruntled that he should give lectures at a Palestinian academic institution and snub Israeli ones.
Mr Chomsky, who is highly critical of US support for Israel, believes that Washington's double standard in favour of Israel and its constant backing of Israel's agenda will simply spell that nation's ethical downfall, leading to its self-destruction. * Digest compiled by Achraf A El Bahi @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org