x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A Palestinian war of words

The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah must release its approximately "300 political detainees from Hamas as soon as possible", the Palestinian-owned Al Quds al Arabi wrote in an editorial.

"The Palestinian arena is now witnessing a fierce verbal war between the two most prominent sides of the political equation, Fatah and Hamas," the Palestinian-owned Al Quds al Arabi wrote in an editorial. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah must release its approximately "300 political detainees from Hamas as soon as possible", the UK-based paper added. "On the other hand, some of the practices exerted by Hamas in the Gaza Strip toward the supporters of Fatah are highly provocative, unjustified and illogical." Hamas's police prevented the staging of commemorations of the fifth anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat and attacked people who were carrying his picture. "President Arafat was a Palestinian symbol and no other Palestinian leader earned the support he earned in the ranks of his people," Al Quds al Arabi wrote. "These positions cost him his life. Hamas should have initiated the organisation of marches to commemorate his martyrdom, because the man was closer to it than some Fatah leaders who conspired against the resistance." * Digest compiled by www.mideastwire.com

Egypt's pro-government Al Ahram daily ran an opinion piece by Muhammad Sabreen saying Barack Obama's team is characterised by its wish to change the image of the United States and some of the policies adopted by President Bush's administration. "I believe that Mr Obama's administration will need Egypt, given the Egyptian vision regarding the foolishness of the invasion of Iraq and the necessity to resolve the Palestinian problem that Obama has described as the 'core of the conflict in the Middle East'," he wrote. "Moreover, Egyptian diplomacy enjoys a long history of dealing with the problems in Africa, which could alleviate the tensions in the continent." It became clear under Bush's term that regional powers such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia could not be ignored in dealing with key regional issues, Sabreen wrote. "Among the most important issues in this regard, is probably co-operation at the level of the prevention of nuclear deployment and the submission of Israel to an inspection mechanism."

Khaled Saghieh, a regular columnist for Lebanon's independent pro-opposition newspaper Al Akhbar, wrote that the conference in New York to encourage dialogue between religions had sparked debate. "Arab and internal observers mocked the idea of encouraging dialogue between religions in the world while prohibiting it in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which called for the conference," he wrote. The conference also sparked political criticism because it was attended by the Israeli President Shimon Peres. Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hizbollah, said Mr Peres and Israel committed crimes against the Lebanese and the Palestinians. "Nasrallah added that a state with this record and a president with such a history must not represent the Jewish faith in the dialogue conference and the Saudis should have invited Jewish thinkers or rabbis who oppose Zionist racism." MP Sa'd al Hariri, the head of the Lebanese parliamentary majority, however, asked why his Lebanese opponents didn't object when the Iranian president hosted Jewish rabbis.

President-elect Obama reached out to peoples beyond oceans, even at the height of his victory, and to people in forgotten places, to those huddled around radios by saying "our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared", Syrian Presidential Advisor for Political and Media Affairs Dr Bouthaina Shaaban wrote on November 13 in the Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al Awsat. "This is a great first glimpse of a new president of the United States of America, but there's no doubt that the challenges facing him are many." The first challenge facing president-elect Obama in his foreign strategies is to understand the plight of those in the Middle East, she wrote in the UK-based paper. "The president-elect should see the entire story and thus he should visit Gaza and the West Bank to see the other face of Israel and not only the face presented to him by the Israeli lobby in Washington," Shaaban wrote. "The issue is not just to be a president, but what to do with the presidency, how many lives you save, how many rights you return and how much justice you are able to bring to the world."