x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Netanyahu does the Arab world a favour

Today's topics for the Arabic-language editorial-writers and columnists we have selected include

" As I watched the US congressmen and senators standing like small students and clapping like clowns, in approval for Mr Netanyahu's lies, I, as an Arab, was ashamed because for more than forty years, our leaders have been slaves to these people and their government," commented Abdelbari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of the London-based daily Al Quds Al Arabi.

"It convinced me more than ever before that the popular uprisings across the Arab world must go on and expand to put an end to the disgraceful circumstances we live in.

"Congressmen who feverishly applauded Netanyahu were applauding the man who insulted their elected president. They applauded him for insulting us and international laws and agreements," he wrote.

The Arab response must not be directed against the Israeli PM's speech but rather against America's full submission to him. It has become clear that the Americans, subordinated to Israel, can't in any way be mediators for peace.

Mr Netanyahu's speech did a great service to the Palestinians. "He must be thanked for revealing the true face of the US and its institutions to the world … those who gave him many standing ovations are the elected representatives of the American people. And their president, who withdrew his demands for a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, was also elected, and by liberals," Atwan concluded.

The battle for Abyei is settled in advance

The UN Security Council, being a tool in the hands of great powers and especially the US, was prompt to condemn the north- Sudan-led military operation to control the disputed region of Abyei, and to Khartoum's forces to withdraw from the city immediately, noted Mazen Hammad, a columnist with the Qatari daily Al Watan.

"What is built on error can lead only to error," commented the writer. "The story began a long time ago when the central government in Khartoum succumbed to international and regional pressure and agreed to have its south amputated in a scandalous referendum."

Now that the south is officially a separate entity, and while Darfur too is on its way to secede, the Abyei case augurs to be another chapter in the process of Sudan's segmentation into smaller states, independent or autonomous.

But the north's pre-emptive strike to claim the oil-rich region came too late; the international community will not allow it to have final control over Abyei.

"It is befitting to sound the alarm that the Abyei issue is capable of pulling the Sudanese into another civil war … and in light of the apparent international support for the soon-to-be government of the south, the outcome of the battle is settled in advance," concluded the writer.

'We're like you,' Israeli PM told Americans

Benjamin Netanyahu's 15- minute speech before the US Congress, during which he was applauded 26 times, was nothing but a panic alert, opined Tareq Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat.

A close inspection of the Israeli press since the start of Arab uprisings reveals that it has focused on the necessity to create a new Israeli strategy for dealing with the West and the US in particular, as a new image of the Arabs as peoples eager for democracy is starting to take hold in the western mindset.

This jeopardises the image Israelis have been promoting of themselves as the only democracy in the Middle East region.

The fallacy-filled speech aimed to dispel any US sympathy for the Arab world and to reaffirm that Israel is America's strongest ally.

However, contrary to the image of strength and impregnability he wanted to paint, Mr Netanyahu all but begged the US to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He thanked them for their financial support and beseeched them to crush Palestinian dream of an independent state.

"It was as if he was telling his American audience 'we are the only ones like you in the region.' Americans should stop and wonder how can a state that wants to live among 400 million Arabs thrive while it is nothing like them," the writer said.

Thirty luminous years for the GCC

On the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Emirati daily Al Bayan asked in its editorial: what's next?

This institution, established in Abu Dhabi on May 25 1981, has repeatedly had to endure challenges, the editorial said.

But these challenges are what has enabled it to become influential on the global, political and economic scenes.

The anniversary coincides with a period of turmoil that requires a bigger international role from the GCC, the editorial said.

Citizens of GCC countries are aspiring to additional achievements leading up to Gulf unity. This is an occasion to review and reassess the past three decades and to put forward strategies to build a better and more secure future.

It is undeniable that the unique peculiarities that bring together the peoples of the GCC states were the guarantee for the council's success.

"For this reason, we emphasise the need to remove any hindrances in the way of economic unity, because what we, the peoples and governments of the Gulf, want is true economic partnership," the daily said.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem