x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

No third intifada, this is not a repeat of 2000

A daily round-up of news and comments from publications in the region.

Abdullah Rabhi examined whether a third intifada was likely in a comment piece in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan: "Many may have thought that a third intifada was likely to erupt as a result of repeated incursions into Al Aqsa mosque. Such people drew an analogy to similar events in 2000 when Ariel Sharon dared to enter the mosque's vicinity. Although the two events resemble each other and invite comparison, the wider political circumstances probably will not lead to such an outcome."

The determinant factor that led to the second intifada was the complete breakdown of the peace process. Additionally, Yasser Arafat could unite all the Palestinian factions, including the Islamists. Furthermore, the uprising was spurred on by a political decision and the Palestinian authority supported it economically and politically to ensure that it continued. "Today, however, we have a situation far different from that in 2000. Since 2002, the Palestinian security forces have uprooted the resistance within the framework of the so-called road map and mandates from the Quartet for Middle East peace. Today, the Palestinian authority is more concerned about creating opportunities for peace negotiations at the expense of the resistance structure. The unprecedented state of division within Palestinians also should not be forgotten as it makes a new intifada little more than a wishful thinking."

Grand hopes for peace from Geneva The Iranian nuclear package submitted recently by Iran to so-called 5+1 group during their talks held in Geneva represented a breakthrough that could be the precursor to further constructive talks to contain this issue and defuse the rising tension it causes, opined he UAE daily Al Khaleej in an editorial. "Indeed, settling this dispute peacefully would provide an impetus to achieving stability in the region. Arab countries should emerge as the prime beneficiaries, especially the Gulf states. The biggest loser would be Israel, which lives on conflicts to continue in existence."

After the breakthrough in Geneva the paper hoped that all parties will embrace a rational approach to address their issues and solve problems. "It should prevail and replace the logic of war, which has debilitated the region and benefited Israel. Iran and others must show wisdom in handling their disputes. China and Russia will be looked at to play a greater role in this. "It is a big achievement that Americans and Iranians have met face-to-face and words such as 'positive' have been used to describe the talks by the US president Barack Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton as well as by Iranians. We hope that the situation will change and attention shift again to what the Israelis do and to their nuclear arsenal."

Lebanese want a true unity government The UAE newspaper Al Bayane examined the state of Lebanese politics in an editorial. "Saad Hariri, Lebanon's prime minister-designate, ended his consultations with parliamentary blocs to form a government, which the Lebanese would like to see reflect a true national unity. This is because Lebanon has descended to the point where people will no longer tolerate living without having an executive body to oversee their interests and ensure political stability."

It is natural that the term "national unity government" in any Arab country tends to arouse the sensitivities of hostile foreign powers, which quickly interfere whenever they hear serious calls for achieving reconciliation, strengthening unity and national cohesion. "In Lebanon, such a government has been long awaited. Everyone is impatiently looking forward to seeing an executive team that stands above their political differences, and caters to the needs of the people."

Polarisation remains the defining feature of the political landscape in Lebanon. This may work for Lebanon, but it is of no use to wait for more time to form a cabinet. That would only harm Lebanon and may lead to a new crisis. This why it is important that a government of national reconciliation be formed as soon as possible, to include all the Lebanese parties. Establishing a government is the first defence against external powers that want to use Lebanon for their own benefit.

Goldstone report has Israel worried A report released by an international committee chaired by Richard Goldstone on the Israeli assault on Gaza represents the most serious indictment against political and military leadership in Israel, wrote Mufid Awad in an opinion piece for Jordanian newspaper Al Rai. The report stated that the Israeli army committed war crimes and atrocities against civilians in Gaza. On the basis of these findings, the committee recommended that the results be sent to the international criminal court in Hague for examination.

"This has prompted both politicians and senior army officers to exchange blame on whether it was the right decision to co-operate with the committee rather than to boycott it." Giora Eiland, the former head of the Israeli national security council, took an extreme view. He said that Israel should have blocked the creation of the inquiry committee. Israel accused the committee of anti-semitism, according to Awad, it failed in its attempts thanks to the honesty of judge Goldstone who created a report seen as "the most important" of its kind. "Israel is left almost alone in its attempts to discredit the report. It now hopes that a country such as the US will side with it and not issue arrest warrants against its officials."

* Digest compiled by Mostapha el Mouloudi melmouldi@thenational.ae