Review of the Arab press

June 5, 2006 at 9:01 AM
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AMMAN, Jordan, June 5 (UPI) -- Arab press roundup for June 5:

The Palestinian al-Hayat al-Jadeeda commented Monday on the 39th anniversary of the Arab-Israeli war in which Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights. It said many events have taken place in the past 39 years, leading to "recognizing the occupiers as something normal and normalization (with Israel) a way of Arab life." Then, it complained, the Americans invaded Baghdad with Arab facilities "and we don't know who made Iraq fall, the Bush administration or the Arab administrations." The mainstream daily's commentary added the Palestinians retrieved what they could from their homeland, but asked if it was a retrieval or a new exodus and whether it was reason to celebrate. "The defeat came on Monday, (June 5, 1967), and today the memory of the defeat comes on Monday, as if nothing happened," it said. The paper insisted that as the Arab defeat of June 5 is marked for the 39th time, all is required is to persist in "our demands for our rights, for we will not stop because repenting for what we believe in is the biggest sin."

Egypt's semi-official al-Ahram daily said in its editorial that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Sunday was part of Cairo's efforts to resume the Middle East peace process. The mass-circulation daily argued that unless the Israelis and Palestinians cooperate with the Egyptians' "honest intentions," there will be no progress in achieving peace between the two sides. It said maintaining the status quo is not in Israeli or Palestinian interests, nor in the interests of the entire region, adding that no just solution to the Palestinian issue would only raise hatred, violence and extremism. The daily urged Israel to reconsider its policy of "repression, assassinations, destruction and blockades, which have proven that not only are they useless with the Palestinian people, but have only increased violence and bloodshed." It also urged Israel to abandon its unilateral plans determining the future of the West Bank as it continues to use the excuse that it has no Palestinian partner with which to negotiate. The paper called on Palestinian leaders to assume their responsibilities to serve the interests of their people and to agree on one political position to face the Israeli government. It complained the continued power struggle between Fatah and Hamas is only distorting the Palestinian image and provides excuses for Israel to do what it wishes.

The Saudi Okaz said in its editorial the struggle between the Hamas government and Fatah enters a crucial point Monday with the end of the deadline that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas gave for the government to accept the "prisoners' document" or put it to a general referendum. The semi-official daily warned the struggle over the document could become an armed confrontation between supporters of the two sides that could lose control and turn into civil war. It argued that Hamas' categorical rejection for a referendum may make the movement lose support from the Palestinian people, adding an endorsement from the people for the "prisoners' document" would mean withholding confidence from the Hamas government. "The government and Hamas cannot bet on the possibility the people will reject the document because it knows the Palestinians, whose suffering has increased under the blockade, need practical policies," the paper said. It suggested that accepting the document was the only way to avert an escalation of the inter-Palestinian struggle.

Iraq's al-Sabah criticized American troops for "proving their ability to kill children, women and defenseless men in cold blood" in Iraq. The daily, which describes itself as independent and as having the largest circulation in the country, said that lessons in ethics for the troops and investigations will not to prevent new American massacres against civilians. It complained the war in Iraq was not a question of killing as many people as possible, but to spread as much fear as possible through creating and inventing the ugliest methods for killing. "The victor in wars of fear are those who are the most inhuman," the paper argued, "and that's what the American troops do as they realize that killing defenseless civilians means spreading fear that may strip them of enmity." This is what the "resistance" has also been doing for the past three years, it added, by cutting off heads and blowing up schools and markets. "In our Iraqi war, the victors are not those who kill the most people, but those who invent the ugliest methods," it complained, adding it is not clear who will win in this war, "but we know very well it will be the most immoral and dirty."

The London-based al-Hayat commented the crisis in the southern Iraqi city of Basra did not come as a surprise to Iraqi leaders since the conditions in the town have changed like others under occupation. The Saudi-financed daily said local militias emerged and strengthened as they seek to consolidate their authority, adding the problem in Basra is the same as in Baghdad, although allegiances and trends differ. It appears as though the occupation forces came to give Iraq to anyone who wants it, it argued, saying the foreign forces confined their mission only to toppling the former regime and dismantling the state's institutions. The paper, distributed in most Arab capitals, said as a result, militias and armed groups were able to flourish. The current Iraqi government, it went on to say, may not be able to do what its predecessors tried and failed, although there are intense efforts to try to make it into a national unity government.

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