x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Hamas beginning to accept changing times

No doubt Hamas is watching the mutations happening around it amid a growing awareness that it too has to affect inner changes for the sake of its own continuity, wrote Husam Kanafani in the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar.

No doubt Hamas is watching the mutations happening around it amid a growing awareness that it too has to affect inner changes for the sake of its own continuity, wrote Husam Kanafani in the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar. The change has become imperative in a context where the Islamic movement must evolve from a resistance group to become part of the authority and ruling power in the Occupied Territories.

Now Hamas is observing the American openness with Syria and the reconciliation between Damascus and the Palestinian Authority, which was consecrated by the "successful" meeting between Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Abbas, and immediately followed by the cancellation of an address by Hamas's leader Khalid Meshaal. The Islamic movement certainly has an eye on the recent developments on the Iranian internal front, although its leaders, who were among the very first to congratulate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his re-election, have been remarkably silent since the outburst of protests against the results of the presidential poll. All these developments dictate a new model of conduct for the Islamic movement, which has already shown signs that it has a new strategy for the future in Meshaal's interview in the New York Times, where he announced his "temporary" acceptance of the two-state solution.

Although the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted for the first time in his latest speech the principle of a Palestinian state, opening a path for peace, he immediately mined this path with unacceptable conditions, wrote Assaad Abderrahman, in the Qatari Arabic daily Al Sharq.

The prime minister said he wanted a normalisation of relations and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, with an unclear and unarmed Palestinian state that would have no means for sovereignty, but rather an autonomy-like system which would transform it into an "Israeli reserve". The speech, wrote the columnist, was intentionally ambiguous and its sole aim was to gain time to await future developments. At the same time and unsurprisingly, it reflected the ideology of the Israeli government's extreme right-wing bent, built on the complete denial of the basic rights of the Palestinian people.

It is a clear sign that Netanyahu "personally" prefers to strengthen his right-wing coalition rather than move towards the centre, but without completely closing the doors for a new coalition government with the current opposition party Kadima so that he can remain in power in the event of mounting international pressure against his "extremist partners" and policies. What Netanyahu offered was a plan for continuing conflict with Palestinians and Arabs in the hope of obtaining more concessions.

Regardless of the outcome of the ongoing protests in the streets of Tehran against the results of the presidential election, the Iranian surprise came from the inside and in a different manner than the world has been used to for the last three decades, wrote Fatima Shaban, in the Saudi daily Al Watan. This time, Iran jumped into the news headlines not because of its disputed nuclear programme, but because of the internal interactions that seemed nonexistent a few days earlier when the country showed a more homogenous and less conflicted face with an open pre-election campaign marked by lively debate.

There was also a belief that the decisive intervention of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his call during the Friday sermon would immediately put an end to the protest movement. This did not happen. Two opposition candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, are both a product of the regime and served in the past in high positions and furthered the fight against the elections. If a deal remains possible and the parties can still compromise to find a way out of the stalemate, it still will not change the impact of the surprise or cancel the repercussions on events on the future.

If the world financial crisis that hit industrial super powers in America and Europe has any impact on a developing country like Jordan, it should be limited to the four sectors linked to international exchanges, wrote Fahd al Fanik in the Jordanian daily Al Rai.

Grants should be affected in line with donors; national exports as demand naturally decreases; tourism, which is at the bottom of the priority scale in terms of expenditure; and remittances due to economic downsizing in Gulf countries, wrote the columnist. If we measure according to the criteria above, a "negative impact did not happen". Jordan received commitments for extra funds from donors, lost 2.3 per cent on its exports (which was largely compensated for by a net decrease in the cost of imports), and tourism achieved 4.1 per cent growth. Only transfers from Jordanians living abroad suffered a 3.4 per cent fall.

By the current trend, the total losses of Jordan due the crisis will not exceed by end of year about 1 per cent of the country's GDP. * Digest compiled by Mohamed Naji mnaji@thenational.ae