x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

New group to defend Palestinian rights

"Announced recently in Beirut was the establishment of a new Palestinian organisation with a mission to defend the rights of Palestinians, initiated by a number of overseas Palestinians," wrote Yaser al Zaatra in an opinion piece for the Jordanian newspaper Addustour.

"Announced recently in Beirut was the establishment of a new Palestinian organisation with a mission to defend the rights of Palestinians, initiated by a number of overseas Palestinians," wrote Yaser al Zaatra in an opinion piece for the Jordanian newspaper Addustour. This body was founded to bring a new political perspective to the Palestinian cause as it is comprised of independent thinkers with a platform that can attract members of different factions to join it.

Because the values of the Palestinian cause have been distorted in recent decades, the new Palestinian rights entity would like to bring into focus anew the core values of the Palestinian issue and guide the Palestinians towards the right track. The new organisation considers the Palestinian Authority a burden that has thwarted the struggle of the people, and calls the Palestinian Liberation Organisation to revive its charter and adhere to resistance. It also calls for Arab support.

"The next step will be to mobilise known Palestinian personalities, especially the younger generation inside or outside the Occupied Territories, to back the programme of the new organisation. Many may disapprove of it because it threatens the personal gains of a closed elite of leaders, yet I personally wish for it to continue and act irrespective of its critics."

"What mostly marks the recent Syrian-Iranian summit held in Damascus, which was later joined by Hizbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, is that it brought about a common defence treaty between Iran, Syria and Lebanon," remarked Satea Nourredine in an opinion piece for the Lebanese newspaper Assafir. "Although it only expresses intentions, the agreement stipulates in the first article that any attack on one of the parties will call for a tripartite response."

The treaty, which entered into effect immediately, regards Israeli aggression as imminent. This is echoed by many statements made by the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while the Israelis are fine-tuning their military tactics to include besides Lebanon the other fronts of Syria and Iran. It is possible to assume, therefore, that any skirmishes on Lebanon's southern frontcould trigger in a few hours a large-scale regional conflict.

"It is an apocalyptic scenario triggered by the mounting tensions between Iran and Israeli on the one hand, and between Iran and the West on the other. Yet it is still unclear whether the Iranian claim that a potential war could break out in spring or summer is true or simply a manoeuvre by Tehran to mobilise its Arab allies and give the West the impression that it is not afraid of any consequences."

"The donors' conference concluded in Riyadh this week was not the only Saudi initiative to bring Yemen out of its crises and put it on the right track towards economic and social development," noted the Saudi newspaper Al Watan in its editorial. Saudi Arabia was and is still eager to launch development programmes in Yemen. Its leaders have volunteered to implement many projects, especially in health and education, across the country. "The question here is whether money alone can save Yemen. Definitely not. Even though the London and Riyadh conferences allotted large amounts of funds to finance development projects across the country, the most important factor to save the country is the will of Yemenis to overcome war and adhere to the ceasefire.

For that to happen the ceasefire should enable the Yemeni authorities to exercise full authority over Saada and Harf Sufyan, while the army should be deployed on the borders of the entire country. Additionally, no force or militia should stay outside the law. "The other challenge facing the Yemeni authorities lies in the secessionist movement in the South, which has embraced an new extremist ideology similar to that of al Qa'eda. Saudi Arabia fully supports unity, and if there are any grievances by the people of the South, they should be resolved through a national dialogue.

The hundreds of stone quarries in mountainous areas of the UAE yield huge profits, which are in principle national wealth, wrote Murei al Halyan in a comment article run by the UAE newspaper Al Bayan. Regardless of the nature of local agreements between companies and official bodies which grant exploitation licenses, what would be the environmental effects of removing mountains? Will licensing be based on scientific grounds that take into account the future of the environment?

If the whole process is a random one, then it will be hard to predict the future impact. This question worries many who do not know on what basis blocks of rocks are extracted and the effects on the area's inhabitants, who continually complain about the quarries. There should be a solution to this situation, either by finding new places for residents or to stop extraction there altogether." In some countries removal of mountains or forests are done on a scientific basis to make better use of the land. But to extract rocks for mere commercial purposes can be nothing but an abuse of naturat resources.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi @Email:melmouloudi@thenational.ae