x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

The Arabs of 48 and the Arabs outside

"The Arabs outside Palestine have always been cautious about contacting the Palestinians who stayed in their lands."

"The Arabs outside Palestine have always been cautious about contacting the Palestinians who stayed in their lands and didn't leave their houses and became known as the 'Arabs of 48'," wrote Ibrahime al Amine, chairman of the board of directors of Lebanon's independent opposition newspaper Al Akhbar. "Some Arabs and fighters even called for dealing with those other Arabs in a less than respectful manner."

They accused those Arabs of being traitors who sold out the rest of their people by becoming members of the Israeli parliament and carrying Israeli passports, but the Arab countries did not help them economically and culturally to foster their independence, al Amine wrote. "But our backward mind and limited intellect pushed us to demand of the Arabs of 48 proof that they are still the children of that land, even though they endured tougher tests and held out in their land and did not leave," al Amine wrote.

"We are the ones at fault here as we should have asked ourselves the question: what did we do for you, our brothers?"

"In its anticipation of the release of captive Marwan al Barghouti, the Fatah Movement seems to be waiting for something that will revive its spirit and body," reported Al Hayat, an independent Saudi-owned newspaper. "In the past few years following the demise of the founding father of the movement Yasser Arafat, Fatah has suffered from a leadership crisis that caused its fortunes to decline." Fatah declined even further with the failure of the negotiations and peace option to achieve any gain or even to decrease the number of roadblocks in the West Bank, which increased by 200 roadblocks in the past two years, the London-based paper reported. Corruption and an absence of democracy in Fatah added to the demise. "Amine Maqboul, one of the leaders of the younger generations in Fatah, declared: 'Marwan is one of the symbols of Fatah. He has his unique charisma and if he is released then he will give a quantum leap for Fatah in its organisation, struggle and Arab and international dimensions'."

The Palestinian-owned Al Quds al Arabi daily ran an opinion piece by the chief editor Abdel Beri Atwan saying that the British government is drawing up plans aiming at classifying Muslims as "moderate" or "extremists". "However, this might entail reverse results, consecrating and granting an official character to the Islamophobia phenomenon that has spread in Europe and the United States," he wrote in the London-based paper.

"This new strategy places all the members of the British Muslim community - who exceed one and a half million people - under scrutiny." The government classifies as extremist those who call for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate, believe in armed jihad, including that to liberate Palestine, or refuse to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, Atwan said. "Such policies limiting freedoms and violating the citizens' civil rights converge with the goals of the terrorist groups which are said to hate the West due to its different lifestyle that is based on freedom, justice and equality," he wrote.

"British society must prevent the ratification of these plans, because they will be considered a dark point in British history."

"It is only normal for the administration of the new American President Barack Obama to resort to a new diplomatic rhetoric that is different from the language of power used by his predecessor George W Bush," Imad Aryan wrote in an opinion piece for Egypt's state-controlled Al Ahram daily. "However, is the changing of tone sufficient to talk about a real and drastic change affecting the American policy towards sensitive global issues?" Obama - and then his secretary of state Hillary Clinton - started by showing good intentions towards Iran and North Korea. Moreover, the new American administration expressed its wish to deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict. "This solution will probably be based on constant American principles, placing Israel's security and superiority above everything else," Aryan wrote.

"In the end, Obama's administration will wear silk gloves instead of the iron gloves which were used - with extreme stupidity - by Bush's administration." * Digest compiled by www.mideastwire.com