x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Newt Gingrich's ignorant racism

A leading Republican candidate for president is lying about the history of Palestine, an Arabic-language commentator says. Other excerpts today deal with justice in Libya, democracy in Kuwait and Israel in Gaza.

Gingrich statements show gruesome racism

"As I read the recent statements of Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, I couldn't help but remember Golda Meir's saying: 'Palestine is a land without people for a people without land,' meaning the Israeli people," columnist Mazen Hammad wrote in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

However, the US elections hopeful far surpassed the former Israeli PM with his racial nonsense when he described Palestinians as terrorists and "an invented people". Mr Gingrich is a notorious hater of Palestinians.

There is a lot to be said in response to Mr Gingrich's lies. The state of Israel didn't exist before 1948 whereas the Palestinian people have populated the area for thousands of years. In fact, it is the Israelis themselves who occupied Palestine and who are an invented people assembled from everywhere in the world.

Mr Gingrich also said Israel is a law-abiding democracy and that the Palestinians are terrorists. And he criticised President Barack Obama for his neutral stance between democracy and terrorism, a fallacy since Mr Obama is completely bent to the Israeli will."

During his irrational speech, Mr Gingrich said Palestinians are part of the Arab populations, hinting that they should be deported to join other Arab peoples, leaving the West Bank, Gaza and the whole of Palestine to be settled by Jews.


Libya triumphs as it forsakes retribution

With his men at the gate of Tripoli, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the Libyan revolution's most prominent figure, still offered Col Muammar Qaddafi and his sons a safe exit to an exile location of their choosing, columnist Abdulrahman Al Rashid wrote in an article for the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat, following the Libyan National Transitional Council chief's recent promise of amnesty to Qaddafi forces.

"I don't see how Libyans can be brought all together without a man like Mustafa Abdel Jalil," he continued. "He enjoys sufficient legitimacy and popularity to dare to hold his own men accountable and forgive his enemies."

In Libya, as in any other community that endured injustice, to forgive and forget can be tricky. It is difficult to ask people to simply close the book on four decades of tyranny. But this "wise man of the revolution" has made forgiveness and tolerance his motto.

In a highly laudable move, Mr Abdel Jalil announced the NTC's readiness to assimilate yesterday's enemies and tolerate opponents.

"The Libyan revolution is certainly fortunate to have this man at its helm," said the writer.

Qaddafi's men wagered that the country would be divided if his regime was toppled, due to factional vindictiveness. But it seems the common goal of regime change succeeded in bridging the differences and bringing various groups together in the quest for a new Libya.

Democratic practice in Kuwait requires reform

The Emir of Kuwait's decision to dissolve the National Assembly as a prelude to new elections early in 2012, raises a question: why is Kuwait's democracy, the first of its kind in the Gulf region, encountering such chronic problems? So wrote Shamlan Youssef Al Issa, a contributor to the Emirati daily Al Ittihad.

Some justify the recurrent problems, he went on, as a mere extension of the traditional, conservative hereditary system of rule. With the discovery of oil in the 1940s, the conventional monopoly of authority evolved into an expansive administrative, security and governmental power.

But the system there couldn't keep up with the requirements of modern rule, which means that everyone is under the law. It doesn't allow for the granting of privileges to certain people at the expense of others.

The reality in Kuwait is that the concept of the state is absent. "The understanding of democracy is flawed," the writer argued. "Kuwaiti citizens interpreted democracy as a tool that gives them rights but doesn't impose any obligations."

The government has failed to create an institutional system that guarantees respect of the law and the principle of separation of authorities.

The road to reform will be long. As a first step it requires a national understanding of the principles of liberal democracy based on the sovereignty of the law and equality before the law.

Gaza offensive has more than one goal

It seems to be Gaza's destiny to be an outlet for tension, suggested Hussam Kanafani in an opinion article for the Sharjah-based daily Al Khaleej.

"In recent days, the occupation forces transformed the Strip into a mailbox for its escalation messages," he said of the series of unjustified Israeli raids on Gaza, which killed five Palestinians.

Israeli authorities defended their assaults as pre-emptive measures, but there was not just one real purpose, the writer said.

First, they are intended to disrupt the recently relaunched Palestinian reconciliation process, which promises to yield a national unity government and guarantees Hamas a powerful return into the political arena.

Israel is seeking to meddle in the Hamas-Fateh rapprochement to keep the two parties split.

Second, the raids have a bearing on the expected second phase of the prisoner swap, which Israel would rather implement differently from what was agreed in Cairo. The occupation authorities want to select 550 non-militant prisoners, which would possibly stir up retaliation although Hamas is keen on maintaining detente at the moment.

These related messages were delivered via the Gaza mailbox, and additional messages can be expected in the near future, the writer concluded.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem