Saturday, July 21, 2007

New Feature-Every Saturday I will post what the Arab Press has been writing-Hang on!

Review of Arab Editorials

Middle East Times

Published July 2007

A roundup of commentary from Arab newspapers.

The Arab press Thursday further focused on the significance of the planned Middle East peace conference from the US, Israeli, and Palestinian viewpoints, as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' refusal to speak with Hamas, calling for early elections.

Abbas call for early elections 'lesser of two evils'

A commentary in the Palestinian Al Quds focused Thursday examined Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech to the Palestine Central Council in which he insisted he would not speak to Hamas after its "coup d'etat" in the Gaza Strip, and called for early elections.

The mainstream daily said just as Abbas had reached a decisive position, so had Hamas in Gaza, as it repeatedly called for unconditional dialogue with Fatah, which the latter faction rejected.

"We now stand before a real strategic crossroads, as the call for elections carries many problems and repercussions," said the Jerusalem-based daily, close to Fatah, adding, "And remaining in this status quo carries even more problems and repercussions."

It stressed that holding new elections remain the "lesser of two evils" and that moving toward any dialogue should start with returning to the status quo before Hamas took total control of the Gaza Strip.

It said that after that, a serious dialogue between the two factions could begin, but not based on the same elements as the agreements reached in Mecca, which, it insisted, were a "cover to achieve ulterior motives."

Resolving Palestinian question key to Mideast summit success

An editorial in the United Arab Emirates' Al Bayan said US President George W. Bush's call for an international Middle East peace conference next fall could be significant if it meant serious action would be taken to resolve the Palestinian issue, based on the Arab peace initiative.

"Resolving the Palestinian issue needs a just solution, which is the key to solving most of the problems in the Middle East," it remarked.

The pro-government daily warned, however, that unless a specific timetable was set to ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories, and establishing a Palestinian state, the summit would achieve nothing.

"Past experience has shown that any effort that doesn't take this into consideration is going to [meet with] the same fate as previous attempts that failed to deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict," it said.

It expressed the hope that Bush's offer was not a mere "political [posturing]," especially after the White House had changed the terminology it was using from "conference" to "meeting," to try to establish Palestinian democratic institutions.

The paper urged the Bush administration to reconsider the substance of its offer, and its implementation methods, if the meeting was to succeed in achieving peace and restoring stability in the region.

Mideast summit bound to fail if Israel not pressured to honor obligations

A commentary in Qatar's Al Rayah said the many fruitless Mideast peace conferences to date had become routine, and their results predictable, all of them ending in unfulfilled agreements.

It accused Israel of refusing to fulfill its obligations thanks to its military dominance over the Palestinians, saying that as long as no power forced Israel to commit to its obligations, and so long as the US continued to support it, the decisions of such conferences would continue to remain as ink on paper.

The pro-government daily added that choosing next autumn for the proposed summit would coincide with the US coalition commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus' expected assessment of the surge of American troops, as well as Bush's Iraq strategy in general.

"This shows the White House is trying to create a parallel event that will [divert] the spotlights [to] be focused on it on the eve of Petraeus' report," it remarked.

The Bush administration had already warned against having any expectations of the fall summit, it said, adding that the gathering would have a "painful outcome when it becomes clear the [US] administration's pockets [are devoid] of any initiative that might move forward the deadlocked peace [process]."

Mideast peace summit unnecessary if US ended pro-Israel bias

An editorial in Egypt's Al Gumhuriya argued that the US president could revive the peace process without resorting to playing for time, presenting promises in return for concessions, and calling for international conferences that achieved nothing.

"If only [Bush] would pressure Israel to declare its [acceptance of] the Arab peace initiative, and to start final status negotiations to draw up international boundaries for the [hoped for] Palestinian state, in accordance with international resolutions," said the semi-official daily.

But instead, it complained, the Bush administration continued to reaffirm its bias toward Israel by repeating its demands of the Palestinians and Arabs to give Israel free reign to continue its occupation and "brutal attacks against the Palestinian people."

The mass-circulation daily insisted the US' favoritism toward Israel had been the primary factor for the "death of the peace process, and it will not [be revived, other than] with an honest and honorable American policy."

Mideast peace summit haunted by ghosts of agreements past

Jordan's independent Al Ghad published a cartoon implying Bush's proposed Middle East summit for next fall was a desperate attempt to revive previous peace agreements that had collapsed.

The lampoon, titled, "Reviving the peace process," depicted a skeleton, identified as "Madrid," digging a grave whose headstone had "Oslo" written upon it.

"Madrid" was a reference to the first international Middle East peace conference that took place in the Spanish capital in 1991, and "Oslo" referred to the interim Palestinian-Israeli peace accords signed in the Norwegian metropolis in 1993, which had not been fully fulfilled.

No comments: