x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

It is 'not the right time for a Palestinian state'

For many, declaring a promised Palestinian state has become a monotonous business, observed Satea Noureddine in a commentary for the Lebanese newspaper Assafir.

"For many, declaring a promised Palestinian state has become a monotonous business," observed Satea Noureddine in a commentary for the Lebanese newspaper Assafir.

Some UN member states have recognised Palestine, as did Brazil and Argentina last week.

This development seems of little importance to the Arab public, which has undermined the Latin American countries' stance.

Only the Israelis rang the alarm bell when they criticised Brazil and Argentina, calling their decisions a serious threat and nothing of a "diplomatic surprise". So they decided to launch a diplomatic campaign in the two countries and across the world against them.

The initiative of Brazil and Argentina to expressly support an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders should not be seen, however, as a response to a formal request by the Palestinian Authority or to demands by the Palestinian communities in these countries. It rather reflects the growing international resentment toward Israel because of the reckless attitude of its right-wing government.

Nevertheless, the declaration of a state at this time when the political context in the Occupied Territories is not conducive to this step. And because no negotiations have been undertaken to draw its foundations and borders, talking about a state remains a matter of "intentions".


Algeria combats new threat of abductions

The Algerian authorities prevented tour operators from organising safari trips in the Tassili area for security reasons after some information about attempts by al Qa'eda to kidnap westerners, reports Atif Qadadra in the London-based newspaper Al Hayat.

According to official sources, the Algerian authorities have tightened security measures to protect tourists in the south of the country. New requirements for travel agencies were introduced, while only one destination is allowed: Aloskram mountains in Tamanrasset in the southeast of the country.

This move came following serious warnings from official security bodies about possible kidnapping attempts by al Qa'eda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) during the celebrations of New Year's Day.

Algeria has been keen to foil any attempt to kidnap westerners on its territory. Until 2003 abductions by the group took place in the Sahel region, but none were in Algeria, said the same sources. The tourism department asked all agencies this year to obtain a security permit to operate their tours only in the predesignated sites.

It was reported that the Algerian authorities thwarted recently an attempt by al Qa'eda to kidnap tourists by enlisting the Touareg tribes. Sahel countries are implementing common security and intelligence strategies to rein in traffickers, who are said to have links with al Qa'eda.


TV programmes for children need review

In an opinion piece for the UAE newspaper Al Bayan, Fadheela al Muaini wrote that the media boom had changed many aspects of life in the UAE.

"We still look back to our childhood with great nostalgic feelings, but at the same time we feel sorry for our kids who are less fortunate, although technology has offered wide opportunities for media entertainment."

Despite increasing  TV production, it is less instructive for the younger generation.

The writer recalled the bygone days when UAE television had a two-hour session for children from four to six in the evening.

"It was such a wonderful time to sit together with other kids from the neighbourhood in front of the television set to watch exciting shows and cartoons."

The TV programmes were produced carefully to suit their target audience. The GCC Joint Programme Production Institution (GCCJPPI) played a great role in producing various informative programmes targeted at children and the family.

The GCCJPPI also produced localised shows and documentaries, and adapted cartoons that many still remember from their childhoods.

"We hope that such television work that we admired for years as kids will be reproduced in a new form that corresponds to present requirements and needs."


US Middle East policy is under the spotlight

The failure of the US to persuade Israel to freeze the settlement activities in the West Bank for 90 days reflects the wrong policies of the US, observed Subhi Zuaitar in a commentary for the Saudi newspaper Al Watan.

Washington made a mistake when it relied on security and financial incentives to Israel in order to achieve a breakthrough in the peace stalemate.

Perhaps, such a failure does not bother the Americans, as they have encouraged the Israelis to behave in this manner since the beginning of George Mitchell's mandate as a special envoy to the Middle East. Mitchell's positions towards Israeli crimes are quite often described as "soft".

This situation has never encouraged the Palestinians to enter confidently into negotiations. Most of the time, they feel like they have to act according to given instructions. Many times, they  have been engaged in talks just to show their good intentions to achieve peace and create their own state within the 1967 borders.

Palestinian leaders should be more proactive in addressing settlement expansion and consolidating national unity between various factions before listening to the new US peace plan.



* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi