Last Saturday, the French capital hosted an anti-Islamic conference entitled "The Islamisation of Europe" that looked into various ways to counter the spread of Islam in Europe, which a columnist for Al Hayat said was a thinly veiled exercise in radicalism.
France tacitly supports anti-Islam extremists
Last Saturday, the French capital hosted an anti-Islamic conference entitled "The Islamisation of Europe" that attracted delegates from 10 European countries and extremist rightist organisations as well as famous anti-Islamic figures. The conference looked into various ways to counter the spread of Islam in Europe.
In a comment article , the columnist Daoud al Sharyan wrote in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat: "Some tried to deny the truth about this conference, but the radical slogans claiming that Islam is waging war on Europe and that it is incompatible with European values and democracy were proof enough."
A number of French leftist organisations and parties had demanded the cancellation of the conference, but the government decided to allow it to take place. It is a decision that could be interpreted under the concepts of freedom and multiculturalism, but the alarming fact is that radicalism in some European countries is receiving wide support. It has reached parliaments and the media, and is influencing the French and European perception of Islam.
By hosting the conference, France has become a platform for hatred against Islam. It has adopted radical discriminatory decisions and interfered in the traditions of Muslims.
Simultaneous paths for a Palestinian state
When the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad qualified a possible Palestine as a Mickey Mouse state, it was in reaction to propaganda surrounding the international recognition of a Palestinian state that still lacks sovereignty, observes the columnist Abdulrahman al Rashed in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.
There are two schools of thought at present in Ramallah. On one hand, Mr Fayyad's school believes that priority should be given to establishing Palestinian institutions that would render the state operational and force the world to recognise it. On the other hand, the opinion shared by most Palestinian politicians calls for advancing a political solution first.
"In truth, both solutions complement one another; for what value is there to recognising a cartoonish state without institutions? And what good would building Palestinian institutions do without a state?"
The Palestinian Authority is preoccupied with the peace negotiations and the management of the state. It is faced with the great responsibility of getting the world to recognise it, but it requires the recognition of Palestinian themselves first.
No comprehensive international recognition can be achieved and no real state can be built without a confident leadership fully prepared to press ahead.
Rights report may tip the balance on Israel
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on the Israeli racial treatment of Palestinians is a new warning against the abuse of Palestinians' rights in the Occupied Territories, observed Mazen Hammad in a commentary for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.
In response, Israel desperately attempted to defend itself by accusing human rights groups of being biased against it, but it failed.
"The report is not hostile as Israel claims, but a serious and constructive criticism of the arrogant manner with which Israel behaves.
"HRW requested the US administration sanction Israel by deducting the amount of money allocated to settlements from the annual US financial aid to Israel. It also called on the US Congress to investigate the tax-free grants provided by Jewish organisations in the US."
The report called on Israel to deport all settlers from the West Bank because they are residing illegally on confiscated lands, bringing in a startling fact: in the Jordan Valley, 9,000 Israeli settlers consume 25 per cent of the water that 2.5 million Palestinians use in the West Bank.
Such a document brings a glimpse of hope, as it reminds us of similar reports on South Africa under the apartheid regime, which led to its collapse.
Behind the scenes efforts in Lebanon
Talk abounds of efforts to reach a compromise that could shield Lebanon from new problems as indictments are to be issued by the Special International Tribunal, says the Lebanese MP and assistant general manager of the Annahar daily.
Saudi Arabia and Syria have been attempting to reach a compromise, as Iran, Turkey, France, Egypt and Jordan are making efforts towards reaching an agreement that could save Lebanon and the entire region.
However, an inspection of the political scene over the last few days shows that the Saudi-Syrian endeavour hasn't progressed and various Lebanese leaders seem unaware of what is going on.
Preparations for the post-indictments period are underway behind the diplomatic scenes, as it has become clear that the indictments will not be cancelled.
"Lebanon's problem is the Lebanese people themselves," said the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon last week. The Lebanese must come together and find a way to ward off the impending threat and they are required above all to resolve their political issues before they reach the streets.
* Digest compiled by the translation desk