Talal Salman, the editor in chief of Lebanon's independent leftist newspaper As Safir, wrote that the terrible scenes from besieged Gaza no longer stir the masses. "Mass crises camouflaged with headlines about political struggles between brothers are now the headline of modern Arab political life," he wrote. The face of the enemy has changed. "Even inside the same country, some Arab citizens became the enemies of other Arab citizens either because of different religions, or different sects or ethnicities or political allegiances," he wrote. Arabs now watch scenes of mass murder, or Gazan hospitals losing electricity and being unable to save lives with hearts of stone, Salman said.
"In reality, there is no electricity reaching the brains and emotions of the nation either, so our empathy and solidarity with the sufferers keeps deteriorating and becomes pity, which turns in time into self-loathing because of our inability to do anything, anything at all." The Gaza siege is now being portrayed as an internal Palestinian matter, with the situation in the West Bank another internal matter.
The Palestinian-owned Al Quds al Arabi daily ran a lead editorial saying national consensus is a key condition for successful presidential and legislative elections. "How could these elections be held and what would their outcome be, if the resistance factions were to decide to boycott them or if it were decided that they be held in the West Bank solely without including the Gaza Strip?" the UK-based paper asked.
"President Abbas is facing a critical constitutional predicament in light of the imminent end of the current year, considering that his presidential term ends on January ninth and that it is non-renewable according to the explanations of numerous legal experts." The Palestinian political arena is full of paradoxes and has never been worse, due to the political and media infighting, Al Quds al Arabi wrote. Peace negotiations have failed and the Gaza strip is under a starvation blockade imposed by the Israelis. "Showing stubbornness and relying on America, Israel and the foreign forces while upholding current methods, are all marginalising the Palestinian cause on both the Arab and international levels."
Tawfic Sayf, a regular columnist for Saudi Arabia's pro-government newspaper Okaz, wrote that piracy could become a new phenomenon that threatens the international economy and is no less dangerous than the phenomenon of terrorism over the past decade. The only solution to this problem is through reforming the environment that produced the pirates which also produces crime and terrorism. "This environment is created by poverty and the absence of a state or law," he wrote. "Herein lays the solution because the Arab countries can play a major role." Instead of waiting for the United States to take the lead, Arab states must participate drawing up a political process to establish a state recognised as legitimate by all Somali factions and rebuilds infrastructure to help people return to normal life.
"If we don't fill that vacuum then someone else will do so and if we don't rise to help our brothers then someone will do so," Sayf wrote. "If the Arab countries don't start acting, then none of the Arabs, whether people or governments, can be blamed if they seek help from the west."
"I am really sad for my country, that beautiful country which used to be complimented by everyone once upon a time," wrote Fawziyah Salem al Sabah, a regular columnist for Kuwait's independent newspaper Al Rai al Aam.
"Who would have thought that our stock market would collapse in such a manner and that a few wealthy figures would interfere and manipulate it to their liking, while the government stands by and does nothing? I am confused when I see a minister in one ministry, then I see him moved to another ministry after a government reshuffle, then a third ministry as if he is the only man in the country who can be entrusted with a high position," she wrote.
Such a minister's only qualification is often that he belongs to one political movement or another. "I am confused when I see that my government is not capable of handling even the simplest of crises," al Sabah wrote. "But the thing that confused me the most is the realization that I didn't know to whom should I direct all of my questions." * Compiled by Mideastdigest.com