x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

EU lends support to new plan for Jerusalem

'Israel is in a race to show that there is no final settlement other than the one imposed by the Israeli policies. And herein lies their weakness.'

Israel is actively working on projects aiming at the "Judaisation" of Jerusalem and creating a new reality, Reem al Masri said in an opinion piece for the Palestinian daily Al Quds. "Through its security forces and extremist settlers, Israel is in a race to show that there is no final settlement other than the one imposed by the Israeli policies. And herein lies their weakness."

Meanwhile, the Palestinians' strength goes beyond the European Union's support for a unilateral declaration of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital. As time passes, negotiations over Jerusalem's status may evolve and the interests of outsiders may come into play. European plans to consider the Holy City as a joint capital of the two states implicitly identify Israeli claims to Jerusalem as illegitimate.

The European proposal is unlikely to diminish differences over the city, but may encourage alternative plans to emerge. The joint capital scheme could end the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem; an opportunity for Palestinians to overcome their divisions and officially declare Jerusalem as their capital and a symbol of their unity.

Almost every year, Javier de Cuellar, the former UN secretary general, on a ritual trip from Peru to Paris, stops by New York to meet his old colleagues at the UN headquarters, Samir Ata Allah wrote in a comment article for the London-based newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat. He is not the only former UN chief who chooses to live overseas. His successors, Boutros Boutros Ghali and Kofi Annan, also have settled abroad since their retirement, in Paris and Geneva respectively. "I do not know why the three former UN chiefs have chosen to live abroad, although two of them, Mr Annan and Mr Cuellar, upon their retirement contested their countries' presidential elections. Perhaps, they have spent more years outside their countries and become more acquainted with global issues.

"For Mr Cuellar, this year's ritual trip was also different as it invited strong nostalgia at the sight of the gigantic blue building undergoing restorations, while the media centre remained closed during the UN's low season." The scene gives the impression that the UN is "facing immense challenges. Although the UN is not doing much, or achieving much, at least it is doing its best. Almost like some police forces in big cities, it is cannot enter the hot zones."

In a comment article for the UAE daily Al Bayane, Fadheela al Muaini referred to a case related to her by a young Emirati man about a UAE woman who resolved to marry a non-UAE citizen in defiance of her family. "The young male Emirati, pointing to rising spinsterhood in his workplace, would not complain, he said, if UAE women married stateless men while they were waiting for a UAE passport and citizenship. But he was very disappointed to find some who chose foreigners, such as the case with a woman who married one who exploited her. From the start, he was financially demanding. As a result, the wife became heavily in debt."

After she lost the support of her family and did not have a baby, her husband threatened he would marry again in his own country. This plunged her into a state of despair. The young male Emirati, reported the writer, wondered why so many Emirati women were not married. He suggested that young Emirati men marry more than one woman to ease the trend of spinsterhood. Traditionally, he said, the UAE community used to have households with two to four wives who lived together in harmony.

"Certainly, what Tzipi Livni, leader of the Kadima party, has said exposes the falsehoods of the Israeli leaders, who say they seek peace in the region and their aim is to live in peace with Arabs," observed Subhi Zuaitar in an opinion piece for the Saudi newspaper Al Watan/i>. In this sense, there is no difference in attitude between the Kadima Party led by Mrs Livni and the Likud Party led by the prime minister Benjamin Nethanyahu. On the contrary, their agendas and concepts perfectly match each other.

This was seen when the opposition leader, Mrs Livni, said she would be ready to repeat the same assault on Gaza. In terms of poetic justice at least, Arabs and Muslims can be comforted by the position of the British court. Because of her role in Operation Cast Lead, Mrs Livni was added to the list of Israeli officials wanted by the British justice system. Prior to that, Ariel Sharon was sued by the International Court of Justice in the Hague for masterminding the massacres of Sabra and Shatila in 1982.

"I would like to commend the British justice system, which has stayed firm even under the mounting political pressure." * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi @Email:melmouloudi@thenational.ae