x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Don't count on US to rein in Israel

It will be futile to bank on Washington for any Palestinian solution, an Arab analyst suggests. Other topics today: the Muslim Brotherhood, and Egyptian revolutionaries.

With John Kerry's peace efforts proving futile, Palestinian resistance remains the last resort

The media across the Middle East covered last week's visit by John Kerry, the US secretary of state, to the region to meet the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in yet another attempt to restart the peace process.

But according to commentator Ahmed Youssef Ahmed, the director of the Cairo-based Institute of Arab Research and Studies, Palestinians are no longer impressed by Washington's efforts. This is so, he said, because US officials have proven, beyond doubt, that they have no control over Israel.

Writing in the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper Al Ittihad yesterday, Mr Ahmed said that several Palestinian opposition factions have already told Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, to stop expecting that Washington will help Palestinians to get back what was stolen from them.

Citing reports by the Palestinian News and Information Agency, the writer maintained that Mr Kerry's last round of meetings with Jordanian and Palestinian officials in Amman predictably led to no breakthroughs in a peace process that has stalled since October 2010.

All that came out of those meetings is an unconfirmed report that a four-way summit, including Jordan, will be held "sometime" this week in Amman as a prelude to talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

"In fact, even if this summit does take place, it should not be seen as any sort of 'achievement'," the writer said. "Numerous initiatives of this nature have been floated every time the peace process hits a wall … and they all came down to nothing because of Israeli arrogance."

Note that Mr Kerry had cancelled a June 29 news conference at the US embassy in Amman, in which he was expected to give updates about the efforts to resume Palestinian-Israeli talks.

Now, even if the Palestinian Authority, blackmailed as it has long been by precious US aid, still shows a willingness to take part in Washington-brokered talks, Palestinian opposition factions, for their part, have no illusions that those efforts are anything but a waste of time, he wrote.

"For instance, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine warned that Mr Kerry's shuttle visits have become a mere cover for Israel's expansionist policies," he went on.

The Islamic Jihad Movement also said that the US has shown "no real initiative" to bring justice to the Palestinian people, as Washington has proved time and again its inability to exert pressure on Israel.

It just seems that the last resort for Palestinians is good old resistance, which neither of the above-mentioned Palestinian factions, nor Hamas, is doing anymore, the author said in conclusion.

"Without the resistance, the balance of power between the Palestinians and the Israelis will remain as it is."

Egyptian people are alive and kicking

The June 30 demonstrations have proven that Egyptians are great people, indeed. We always wrongly imagine that they are dead, desperate or ruined, and then they catch everyone by surprise, Emad Eddine Hussein wrote in an article in the Cairo-based newspaper Al Shorouk.

On June 30, people from all walks of life took to the streets to say "no to the Brotherhood, to the Supreme Guide and to Mohammed Morsi", the writer said. "Youth and elders, women and children, veiled and unveiled women, Muslims and Christians, rich and poor, all rallied in the streets to defend the Egypt that we know and love."

Those who have slammed the demonstrators as remnants of the old regime and hired thugs, and suspected the figures of the Tamarrod rebel campaign, must now offer an apology.

The lessons of June 30 underline the fact that a strategic change is taking place in Egypt, and the region at large, the writer noted.

The Brotherhood has no desire to acknowledge that the greatest protest in Egypt's modern history was against it. The rise of the vast majority against the organisation - to which they had given the majority at the parliament and from which they had elected a president - only one year after it took office clearly indicates its unpardonable mistakes.

The Brotherhood persists in not getting the message and this leads them to more mistakes.

Exemplary models of revolutionaries

In Egypt, there are revolutionaries who always cling to their beliefs against all odds, noted Omar Taher in Al Tahrir.

Near the Heliopolis Palace, Warda's song Helwa Bladi was coming from somewhere. A group of people that appeared to be new to the revolution was sitting on the pavement, wiping away tears. Close to those people was a young man in his 30s. He was looking at them and nodding his head with a half-smile.

And lo, the man was not showing disdain. The song had made him cry many times before. But on this occasion, he had run out of tears after inhaling a large amount of tear gas is a public square, the writer remarked.

"I can set this man and many others like him apart from the crowds, no matter how massive they are," he continued. They are faithful to the cause, no matter what, standing their ground for two years and a half to see the goals of the revolution materialise.

This section among the revolutionaries reaffirms your faith in what you stand up for; events and challenges unfold, but they won't budge. They are the common denominator between all Egyptians: with protesters at Rabia Al Adawiyya to prevent a return of the old regime, and with those at Heliopolis Palace to get rid of the current regime.

* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk