x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

No hope in 'negotiations'

The Palestinians have no choice but to resort to the UN Security Council and the UN Assembly General, an Arabic language editorialist writes. Other topics in today's roundup: FNC candidates, Egypt and Israel, and Turkey's foreign policy.

Where exactly is the road to negotiations?

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent statement that the road to negotiations goes through Jerusalem and Ramallah rather than New York or the UN is in fact nothing but lip service, said Mazen Hammad in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

"Unfortunately, the road to negotiations is blocked with settlements and concrete walls."

For years, the Palestinians have been hostages to the US-backed Palestinian mood and so far, all rounds of negotiation have brought them nothing new. On the contrary, every time the Palestinians agree to talks Israel would send its bulldozers and settlers to the West Bank to chip away at what remains of Palestine.

"How about they show us exactly where the road that passes through Ramallah and Jerusalem is? The Palestinians, at their most moderate state ever with president Abbas at the helm, are fed up. Either they go to the UN or go back to armed confrontation."

The Palestinians have no choice but to resort to the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

Since Washington has already announced its intention to veto the statehood project, the PA will have to file its request at the General Assembly where it is a matter of getting as many approvals as possible, despite US pressure and threats to suspend aid to countries supporting the statehood bid.


Not everyone is cut out to serve on the FNC

To be a member of the Federal National Council in no easy task, but it seems that this is a conviction that many of those who have decided to enter the race have yet to reach, opined editor in chief Sami Al Riyami in the Emirati daily Al Emarat Al Youm.

"Times have changed and the FNC needs professionals and specialised members who have extensive expertise and vast knowledge that is needed to deliberate on bills referred from government."

The FNC includes a number of important committees covering issues such as education, the environment, domestic and foreign affairs, financial and legal affairs. They must be chaired by experts in these specialisations if they are to further the role of the Council.

"With all due respect for all candidates and their legal right to run for the elections, the decision to run should have been based on deep consideration," the writer said. "Not everyone is destined to become a member of the FNC."

FNC membership should be the culmination of skills and accumulated expertise.

Above all, it is a national responsibility that requires considerable effort. Many candidates seem to think it an easy feat, "which is true for those who don't want to work and think that inertia at the Council is OK as long as the benefits are the same."

The responsibility rests now more than ever on the shoulders of voters.

Egyptian-Israeli fight is now less likely

In an opinion article for the Emirati daily Al Khaleej, columnist Hussam Kanafani suggested that despite the Camp David agreements, Israel was never fully reassured when dealing with its southern neighbour.

Last week's incident at the Israeli embassy in Cairo only confirmed fears that have been brewing since the former regime was ousted and the military took the reins of rule in Egypt. Tel Aviv is convinced now that the relationship with Cairo will never go back to what it was.

"However, a confrontation between Egypt and Israel is highly unlikely," the writer said. "It will be a while before a new situation transpires and that is subject to the state of affairs during the transitional phase."

Egypt's military have historically had strong relations with the United States and are not in a position to add to the confusion. The Military Council isn't prepared for a diplomatic or military confrontation at the moment.

Furthermore the Islamic Brotherhood, which find itself closer to positions of authority than they ever were before, is working diligently to avert any political jolts that would result in an extension of the transitional period.

"The relationship between Egypt and Israel is expected to go back to normal in the coming days, even if only for a while, until the time for the inevitable face-off is ripe," the writer concluded.



Don't blame Erdogan for doing what's right

The Arabs who criticise Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, accuse him of exploiting the Palestinian cause to advance his leadership, said Abdelbari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi daily.

Some go as far as to speculate that the only reason for his challenge of Israel and his insistence on the lifting of the Gaza siege is to gain the approval of Arab youth.

"We don't know how championing the central Arab cause and sharing in the animosity towards the nation's enemy has become an indecency."

In fact, the one common denominator between Arab and Muslim countries around the world is the rejection of the Israeli occupation.

Political opportunism some might call it, but why not?, the writer asked

Politics is after all the art of seizing the right opportunities and gaining ground.

Mr Erdogan is reaping an ever-increasing popularity among the youth of the region because he knows how to address them and how to speak to their sensibilities by presenting them with a successful democratic model backed with major economic achievements.



* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem