x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Egypt's flawed elections burden

In the commentary of the London-based newspaper Al Hayat, Mohammed Salah criticised Egyptian political parties for their flawed performance.

In the commentary of the London-based newspaper Al Hayat, Mohammed Salah criticised Egyptian political parties for their flawed performance.

Last week, the National Conference Party (NCP) had its annual meeting, but it came up with no concrete outcomes. Although it discussed various topics such as last year's achievements and its future plans, its public sessions were, however, a spectacle of courtesies.

Party leaders spoke of how they addressed poverty through subsidies, and talked at length of their landslide victory in the last parliamentary elections. They also attacked the Muslim Brotherhood, and revealed strategies to counter its activities by resorting to the rule of law.

"It is true that most opposition parties, that took part in the first round of elections, suffered from internal problems… yet the ruling party does not deserve all the seats it won."

The NCP has every right to boast of its crushing victory, but monitors and other observers spoke of misconduct affecting the polls, that the president Hosni Mubarak himself condemned.

Egyptian political forces should try to avoid the recurrence of the same election violations and mistakes, that undermine democratic development in Egypt. And if opposition parties are proactive in addressing their shortcomings, the NCP should also engage in self-analysis.

 

Remembering cost of Gaza invasion

For Lebanon, commemorating an event has always had special significance because it is likely to affect internal politics, observed Satea Nourredine in an opinion piece for the Lebanese newspaper Assafir.

Two years after the Israeli aggression on Gaza that caused the death of 1,500 and the injury of more than 5,000 Palestinians as well as the massive destruction of infrastructure, Israel is still seen as a force waging deadly revenge for the Lebanese war that preceded it. It carries a precedent for war that Israel plans to launch against Lebanon.

But this time, Israel will be less interested in punishing the Lebanese. Rather they intend, as with the 1982 invasion, to radically alter the Lebanese political landscape.

In the meantime, the Gaza Strip will remain under the constant threat of raids, although Hamas is always trying to avoid this. For Israel, the Strip is a perfect military exercise field, in alignment with its own interests, not plans to eradicate Hamas.

In Lebanon, Israel would like to engineer a new balance of power that suits its political and strategic aspirations by altering the nature of government and the type of alliance between Beirut, Damascus and Tehran.

Israel may also have a far-reaching aim by drawing these two countries into negotiations on different terms.

 

Arab publics can win over Israeli extremism

Extremists in the Arab and Muslim world who deny the Holocaust and call for the annihilation of Israel give every reason for Israeli extremists to evade the peace process, noted Saleh Al Qallab in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jareeda.

Yet those like Avigdor Liberman, the Israeli foreign minister, are strong evidence that the Israeli government is not interested in peace, nor in an internationally agreed solution for Palestine.

In his last string of provocations, Mr Lieberman said that Israel would not apologise for Turkey over the attack on the Gaza Flotilla. He instead called on the Turkish government to apologise for harbouring terrorists.

For years, Israelis have presented "docile" leaders to the world, who can easily be marketed as "doves" in the West, while presenting the Palestinians as "hawks". For years, Israelis have deceived the world by winning more support thanks to some Arab extremists, who threaten violence to eradicate Israel.

Nonetheless, as Israel has brought about a right-wing government with extremist policies and leaders, such as Mr Liberman and Benjamin Netanyahu, Arabs should now play the game. They should seize this opportunity, as the anti-apartheid movement did in South Africa, to show more moderate attitudes to win international support for an independent Palestinian state within 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem.

 

Gulf reality TV reflects a different truth

The obsession with reality TV in Gulf media has increased as many satellite channels now broadcast celebrities lifestyles, wrote Maysa Ghadeer in an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan.

These programmes follow a western style that we find alien and meaningless. They shed light on the lives of young people at the beginning of their artistic careers, yet most are barely famous. This raises the questions about the criteria used to select subjects.

There's no point in documenting the daily lives of young couples in fabricated ways. "What does it mean to viewers if a couple agrees or disagrees on the apartment, a job, or even pregnancy matters? And what does it mean to viewers whether the couple is happy enough?"

Shows that try to simulate reality contradict the real life of youth in the Gulf. These TV programmes give unrealistic expectations when viewers believe that newlywed couples can live in luxury without obstacles. "We are not against encouraging youth… but it should be done while respecting the reality and the traditions of the local community."

 

melmouloudi@thenational.ae