The Arab English Language Press: What They Are Saying

What They Are Saying

October 24, 2011

Israel Concerned About New Offices For Hamas In Jordan, Egypt

IMEMC, Palestinian Territories – Senior Israeli security sources said that Tel Aviv is concerned about Egyptian and Jordanian intentions to allow Hamas to open offices in Amman and Cairo, and considered the move as “granting legitimacy to terror”. The sources said that both Washington and Tel Aviv are concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world is gaining more power, and claimed that the Brotherhood challenges the Arab regimes and presents itself as an alternative. The Arabs48 news website reported that Israel considers the move to be a negative factor “especially since Cairo and Amman admit to the rising power of Islamist groups in the region, amidst American talks with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt”. Israeli security and political leaders also stated that, by hosting Hamas, Cairo will be jeopardizing the close relations between the two countries. The leaders added that Egypt played an important, and undeniable role in the release of corporal Gilad Shalit, “but its decision to host a terrorist group cannot be taken lightly”, and added that Israel will be holding talks about the issue with a number of concerned countries, mainly referring to its strongest ally, the United States. Also, a security source in Tel Aviv said that the fact the Turkey hosting a number of former Hamas detainees, who were released under the Shalit swap-deal, “is also a negative indicator showing that Turkey is interested in freezing its relations with Israel and maintaining strong ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Arab regimes”, according to the source.

George Galloway’s Egypt ban lifted

AHRAMONLINE, Egypt – “My persona non grata status imposed by Mubarak has been lifted. Cairo here I come! Long live the Egyptian Revolution!” wrote George Galloway on Twitter on Monday. Galloway was a British member of parliament for the Labour Party (1987-2005) and the Respect Party (2005-2010). He has been long recognised for his anti-Israel stance and support for the Palestinians. He instigated the Viva Palestina aid convoy to the Gaza Strip in 2009 and in January 2010 was declared persona non-grata and deported from Egypt after entering the country from Gaza. He had criticised the authorities for delaying his aid convoy’s entry at Al-Arish and was accused of “incitement” over criticisms of the Egyptian government.

Report: Gaddafi son protected by Sudanese rebel group

ALBAWABA NEWS AGENCY, Jordan – According to report published Monday in a Sudanese newspaper, Saif al-Islam, son of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, is currently in Sudan under the protection of Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the “Justice And Equality” movement. He entered Sudan after crossing from Chad. The “Alintibaha” newspaper quoted sources described as reliable saying Saif al-Islam left the Libyan city of Sirte on the 27th of August in a convoy of six armored vehicles. The report said that with the advancement of the rebels, Muammar Gaddafi asked Khalil Ibrahim to protect his family and large sums of money and gold which were smuggled from Libya. The source said that the Justice and Equality Movement has provided shelter to former regime officials wanted now by the Libyan people. Earlier, reports said Saif al-Islam was detained by the rebels in Sirte while trying to escape after the killing of his father and his brother Mu’tasim last Thursday.

Islamists claim win in Tunisian election; secular party concedes defeat

ARAB NEWS, Saudi Arabia – TUNIS: Moderate Islamists on Monday claimed victory in Tunisia’s first democratic election, sending a message to other states in the region that long-sidelined Islamists are challenging for power after the “Arab Spring.” Official results from Sunday’s vote have not been announced, but the Ennahda party said its workers had tallied the figures from results posted at polling stations around the country and Tunisia’s leading secularist party PDP conceded defeat… “The first confirmed results show that Ennahda has obtained first place,” campaign manager Abdelhamid Jlazzi said outside party headquarters in the center of the Tunisian capital. As he spoke, a crowd of people in the street shouted “Allahu Akbar!” or “God is great!” Other people started singing the Tunisian national anthem. Mindful that some people in Tunisia and elsewhere see Islamists as a threat to modern, liberal values, the party official stressed Ennahda would wield its power in a responsible and inclusive way.

Thousands of Egyptian police go on strike

KHALEEJ TIMES, UAE-  CAIRO — Thousands of Egyptian police launched a nationwide strike on Monday to demand better salaries and a purge of former regime officials from senior security posts.  About 3,000 lower ranking police rallied in front of the Interior Ministry in central Cairo to push their demands, including a 200 percent pay raise. They also called for an end to military trials for lower ranking police. Outside Cairo, police blocked main roads and shut down police stations. Police said they would hold an open ended sit-in until their demands were met, as around 12,000 went on strike. Egypt has 350,000 police altogether. Some of the officers at the protest waved banners reading “Good treatment equals better service.” Another banner called for “Purging the ministry of the mafia and the remnants of el-Adly,” a reference to former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly, who is on trial for deadly police attacks on unarmed protesters during the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. In the eight months since Mubarak’s ouster, the discredited police force has been unable and reluctant to fully take back control of the streets since the uprising. Hatred of the police and their brutal tactics were main motivations behind the uprising.

Nasrallah accuses March 14 of keeping silent on Israeli violations

THE DAILY STAR, Lebanon – Beirut: Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Monday revolutions in the Arab world were genuine and had not been started by the United States. “What is happening today are genuine national movements, such as in Tunis and other Arab countries … and were not part of a U.S. project,” Nasrallah, who spoke to Al-Manar television during an interview, said, adding that it was not logical for the U.S. to overthrow regimes that were loyal to Washington. Nasrallah singled out Syria among countries that were not subjugated to U.S. designs. “The Syrian regime is the only one that is not subjected to the will of the U.S.,” he said. However, the Hezbollah chief said the United States was trying to direct the path of popular movements to its own advantage, hoping to render successive governments under its influence. “If the Americans and the West find that the [new] regimes do not serve their interests, they will try to bring them down and spread chaos … the new leaderships need to be well aware [of this].” The head of Hezbollah, a sworn enemy of Israel, reiterated the danger that the Jewish state poses to Arab countries. “The existence of the Israeli state is a threat to all Arab countries … it is a purely Jewish, racists country,” Nasrallah said.

Prisoner swap reshapes Hamas-Egypt-Israel ties

THE DAILY NEWS, Egypt  –  The release of an Israeli soldier by Hamas as part of a prisoner exchange with Israel is reshaping complex regional ties, mostly in favor of Gaza’s once isolated Islamic militant rulers. The swap, mediated by Egypt, has strengthened Hamas’ bond with the regional powerhouse next door and removed a major irritant from its fraught relationship with Israel. Trading Sgt. Gilad Shalit for 1,027 Palestinians held by Israel also boosted Hamas’ flagging popularity at home, at the expense of its main domestic rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was forced to watch from the sidelines. It’s not clear whether any of this will last, especially if Hamas acts on threats to capture more Israeli soldiers in an attempt to free 4,300 Palestinians still in Israeli prisons. And a fickle Palestinian public could quickly forget about the swap; only a month ago, it cheered Abbas for bypassing talks with Israel to seek UN recognition for a state of Palestine. For now, though, Hamas is riding high. Hamas leaders portrayed the swap, the most lopsided in Israel’s history, as a victory for the movement’s hard-line ideology. Israel only understands the language of force, they said in a jab at Abbas, who until recently had put his faith in negotiations, with little to show for it.

Egypt, Israel to pick rest of detainees in swap deal – Hamas

THE JORDAN TIMES  – Hamas will not be involved in picking the 550 prisoners to be freed by Israel in the second stage of a landmark exchange deal, the movement’s armed wing said on Thursday. In a statement on its website, the Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades said Israel and Egypt, which brokered the deal, would pick the names of the remaining Palestinians to be freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Hamas will not participate in the selection of the names to be released in the second stage,” the statement said, adding that Egypt would however assist “in accordance with the standards and requirements of the [Hamas] movement”. Those requirements include a call for priority to be given to prisoners who are elderly, ill, or have served more than 20 years in jail. The movement also called on Israel to avoid including prisoners whose term is nearly complete or those convicted of common law, rather than security offences.

Israel and change

KUWAIT TIMES – A few weeks ago I commented on the new trend of rebellion by many Arabs against their ruling systems. In that two-part article, I spoke about the status of Israel and how it could react to confront the new flood of democracy. We can probably predict how Iran and Turkey may behave under the pressure but Israel is facing change in the Middle East for the first time. I doubt Israel has enough experience to handle this matter because Israel considers the Palestinian case to be the only threat it has to confront. It is not. The Israelis know how to play their game with the international powers and quash any effort to afford the Palestinians their own country or space or whatever they choose to call it. What they don’t know and what, to date, it is clear they lack, is experience in confronting the fact that the Islamic world considers them intruders. We are not speaking here about the ruling systems that are now gone or on their way to exile or jail, but rather the new powers. The difference now is that the new governments will not dictate but rather they will have to obey what the public calls for. Israel is increasingly being isolated and challenged in the region. The Israelis are facing their darkest hour yet because, while they probably know how to handle the Palestinian powers-even the conservative ones like Hamas-as they could find common language and deals, the change of the ruling systems in neighboring countries can be serious, unpredictable and damaging.

Palestinian Investments Abroad Exceed Foreign Investments Here

PALESTINE NEWS AND INFO AGENCY- Ramallah:  A first of its kind joint study by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) published on Thursday has revealed that Palestinian investments abroad exceed foreign investment in the Palestinian Territory during 2010. A press release said the primary results of the International Investment Position (IIP) — external assets – foreign liabilities — for the Palestinian Territory by the end of 2010 revealed that the net IIP had amounted to about $1328 million, which means that the Palestinian economy of its various sectors had invested outside Palestinian territory by more than the investment amount in the Palestinian territory from abroad. The cash deposits of local banks in foreign banks and the foreign exchange in the Palestinian economy had contributed of major value in the external assets, which represented 58% of the total value of external assets. The total stocks of external assets for the Palestinian territory (Stocks of residents in the Palestinian territory invested abroad) had amounted to $5424 million, the foreign direct investment abroad had contributed to 4%, portfolio investments abroad reached 15%, while other foreign investments abroad reached 64%, and reserve assets amounted to 17%.

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