x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Israeli extremists desecrate graveyards

Arabic editorials also discuss sanctions against Syria, last stand for Qaddafi forces and need for more transparency in local media.

Israeli extremists don't spare even graveyards

After torching a mosque in the occupied Palestinian territory of Galilee and setting copies of the Quran on fire last week, Israeli extremists defiled two graveyards, one Muslim and the other Christian, this weekend in Jaffa, the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds said in its editorial yesterday.

Even the dead are not spared the vandalism of Israeli extremists who sprayed tombstones with racist graffiti - the very same messages that were written on the walls of the desecrated mosque last week.

"These acts of aggression no longer seem to be individual, isolated cases. They rather appear to be part of a scheme being executed by an organised group," the newspaper said.

Words of condemnation from Israeli officials and visits to the site of the desecration no longer offer satisfaction. "What needs to be done is arrest and dismantle this criminal organisation," the newspaper said, "and see to it that its members receive the toughest sentences, for they have become too used to getting away with their transgressions."

There is widespread dissatisfaction among Palestinians right now. Protests have quickly started calling for an end to such "blind and insane extremism", the newspaper said.

At this sensitive juncture in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli struggle, Israeli extremists are bent on destroying even the last shred of hope of peace ever being attained.

Sanctions hurt Syria's oil revenue badly

The sanctions imposed by European countries and the United States on Syria, especially those targeting the oil sector, are badly hurting the Syrian economy, Bahraini academic Abdullah El Madani wrote in the opinion pages of the Emirati newspaper Al Ittihad.

Syria's revenue from oil exports account for 25.1 per cent of all Syrian returns from exports, he said. In 2010, the Syrian regime made $4.5 billion from oil sales to Italy, Germany and France, according to statistics from the European Union and the International Energy Agency.

"Despite the fact that these large amounts of cash will not be making it to the Syrian treasury any time soon," the writer went on, "Syrian officials keep trying to dismiss the perception that their economy is affected, maintaining that their country is able to market its oil in places other than Europe."

By "places other than Europe" Syrian officials mean Asian countries, particularly China and India.

"But India and China may not be that interested in buying Syria's surplus oil, for a number of reasons," the writer said. "First, both countries have access to crude from nearer markets like the Gulf countries and Iran … Second, most Syrian oilfields produce heavy, low-quality oil, which has to be treated in special refineries."

This lie reveals a problem for the Syrian economy.

Libya's last battles require caution

Muammar Qaddafi's last strongholds, Bani Walid and Sirte, will surely fall into the hands of the rebels. This is inevitable no matter how long the resistance is, the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram said in its main editorial.

To protect the towns' civilians, who may be used as human shields by Qaddafi's forces, rebels should not rush to randomly shell buildings before making sure it is safe to do so.

To achieve this, rebels need rather to besiege the cities without using tanks, armoured vehicles or rockets. They still can use light weaponry to target only Qaddafi's soldiers who refuse to lay down their arms.

It is true that a simple blockade will take a long time, but after some time many of Qaddafi's followers will surely walk away, once they have used up all of their military supplies and food.

The result of a strategy of restraint by the rebels will be sparing the lives of civilians and rebels both.

Meanwhile the National Provisional Ruling Council in Libya should instruct the fighters not to take carry out revenge attacks against civilians loyal to Qaddafi. This is in order to avoid a civil war between tribes.

All the stakeholders should also know that Libya needs to recover, so all the country's resources must be channelled in this direction.

Spokespersons don't meet expectations

"The openness of media worldwide has an effect on individuals and institutions in the UAE, in terms of their capacity to communicate and to exchange information. And yet media outlets face difficulties in contact with some officials, especially on the federal level," columnist Maysa Rashed Ghadeer wrote in the UAE newspaper Al Bayan.

Media professionals sometimes have to engage top departmental officials directly to get a comment on an issue, though comment is supposed to be provided by others.

The lack of coordination and small role for spokesmen have resulted in media chaos.

Some years ago, we were pleased with the launch of the federal communication strategy. If ministries and authorities had implemented it effectively, it would have created better and wider communications with the public.

But in practice, ministers and undersecretaries must interact with media in the form of reactions to certain cases.

This leaves a chance that stories can be devalued because of a lack of information and transparency.

To curb this situation, there is a need to assess the obstacles and train official spokespersons to ensure a better flow of information.



* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk