x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Another Earth Day and still no peace

The Palestinian issue is getting more complicated without any genuine action to resolve the situation.

While commemorating the 34th anniversary of Earth Day, one can deduce that the Palestinian issue is getting more complicated without any genuine action to resolve the situation, the Saudi newspaper wroteAl Watan in its editorial. Arab leaders during their summit in Libya felt this danger, which prompted them to focus on the issue and reiterate their support for the Arab peace plan "which states the commitment of Arabs to all their peace process pledges in return for a similar attitude by the Israelis".

The Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, announced that Arab countries would need to change strategy if the Israelis continued to hamper the process of establishing an independent Palestinian state. But that decision, he said, should be taken in full awareness by all Arab countries. This year's Earth Day came during a succession of events, namely the Arab summit and the big row following Israel's challenge of the US administration by relentlessly proceeding with an expansionist policy. "To bring the Palestinian cause back on track, this newspaper advocates first to overcome internal divisions and then to adopt a comprehensive Arab action based on a common consensus that is likely to exert pressure to reach a solution to the core Arab issue: the Palestinian cause."

After the failed meeting between the US president Barack Obama and the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington last week, much ink has been spilt over the future of the relations between the two sides, wrote Mazen Hammad in an opinion piece for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

It emerged that what bothered the Israelis was what actually could encourage the Palestinians: the possibility that the US could impose its own plan for a final settlement in less than two years. "We know that many Israelis see Mr Obama's demands as the tip of the iceberg and that many more dramatic changes could appear." The Israeli press listed some potential demands by Mr Obama. They concern the opening of  Palestinian business facilities in East Jerusalem, stopping demolition of Palestinians' houses, halting constructions of settlements, and cancelling the decision to build the 1,600 housing units that started the current row.

The US would also ask both sides to discuss the core issues in the indirect negotiations, but Israel would view this requirement with deep concern because it could enable the US to come to the direct negotiations and thus impose its own final settlement plan. Israelis were also worried about the contacts being made by the US with Israel's allies in Europe, which are seen as part of an effort to diplomatically isolate Israel on the international scene.

In a comment article published in the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat, Mohammed Jassim highlighted the irrational use of water resources in the Gulf, pointing to the contradictory equation of the scarcity of hydraulic resources and the high consumption per capita. Last week was an occasion to celebrate World Water Day under the motto of clean water for a healthy world. This should serve as a reminder to all to implement the recommendations suggested by water experts. This call would gather even greater importance when considering the special climate situation of the Gulf states.

"Statistics showed that GCC countries consume an average of 470 litres per person per day, which is almost five times the world average. This constitutes a serious drain on both desalinated water and on non-renewable energy sources such as gas or oil, which are necessary to fuel the processing stations." Water mismanagement should be addressed on many levels, but a strong awareness campaigns led by educational institutions could correct many bad practices. People should be aware that clean water and health are very interrelated. The GCC countries should always think of this equation, and urgently set up special bodies to define clear targets to rationalise the use of water.

"Arab politics have a unique ability to provide a special terminology to describe various situations," wrote Hussein Shabakshi in an opinion piece run by the London-based newspaper Asharq al Awsat. "For example, the Lebanese civil war and the subsequent sectarian conflicts were named Lebanisation, defining the trend of dividing the country into clans along religious and other lines."

Other examples are the situations in Iraq and Somalia, which came to be described respectively as "Iraqisation" and "Somalisation". The two terms are intended to depict the de facto partition of territories into cantons under the influence of groups and militias. Informal lines delimiting each sects are drawn, which could lead under some circumstances to potentially complete separation. Then the case of Sudan, and again its current internal situation is dubbed "Sudanisation". The south of the country is seeking independence through legitimate means: a referendum.

These terms are descriptive of a shaky political conditions resulting from weak policies. Yemen, among others, could be the next infected by a similar phenomenon. * Digest compiled by Mustapha El Mouloudi @Email:melmouloudi@thenational.ae