Second thoughts about the Libyan revolution, Arab newspaper

Editorials in Arab newspapers comment on second thoughts about the Libyan revolution, reasons for worry in Lebanon, alarm in Israel about the Arab Spring, and a possible strike by wedding notaries in Egypt.

Second thoughts on the Libyan revolution

"I wasn't surprised when the French writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy declared that he has transmitted a letter from the Interim Transitional National Council of Libya, the body representing the rebels, to the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he met him on Thursday in occupied Jerusalem," wrote Abdelbari Atwan, the editor the pan-Arab Al Quds al Arabi newspaper.

The letter included a pledge that the prospective regime in Libya will be committed to justice for the Palestinians and the security of the Israelis. The letter also noted that the new Libyan leadership will normalise relations with Israel.

Mr Levy maintains a close rapport with Israel and has a history of defending its actions against the Palestinians. "So I started having seconds thoughts about the nature of this National Council of Libya and its goals from the moment Mr Levy, who is Jewish, practically relocated to Benghazi and became something of a rep for its leadership."

"From day one, this newspaper has taken the side of the Libyan revolution and its legitimate demands to topple the regime, not just introduce reforms, but now that the Libyan people's revolution is being hijacked by a bunch of opportunists from within, using Nato fighter jets and missiles as cover to kill other Libyans, we are reassessing our position, and we have our doubts."


Reasons for worry about Lebanon

Some in Lebanon believe that so long as the situation is as stable as it is in the country these days, there is no real urgency to form the months-overdue new government, wrote Ghazi al Aridi, the Lebanese minister of public works and transportation, in the opinion pages of the Emirati Al Ittihad newspaper.

"This belief is completely baseless." It is as baseless as the claim that the case of Lebanon is like Belgium, a country in the heart of Europe that managed to survive without a government for months.

The region is seeing daily bloodshed, unpredictable unrest and strategic balances crumble. A re-mapping process is taking place.

"How can we ever rest assured that Lebanon is safe, when the norm in this country has always been that domestic turmoil is a chain reaction to turmoil in the neighbourhood?"

Lebanon will not come out unscathed from any major turbulence in the region. With sectarian divisions already taking their toll, Lebanon will suffer first-hand should any of its neighbouring countries fall apart. The state of law will give way to bullying and the rule of sectarian egos.

"Lebanon is facing a real crisis, one that puts its future and destiny at stake. The country needs big decisions, and the maximum wisdom of its wisest politicians, so it does not tumble and fall."


Israel is still alarmed by the Arab Spring

Just take a look at the content that Israeli newspapers are churning out these days to get an idea of how nervous Israeli policymakers are by the rapid developments sweeping the Arab world, wrote Mazen Hammad, a columnist with the Qatari Al Watan newspaper.

According to some reports, Israel is not only aiming to push up (by one year) the completion date of the wall being built along the border with Egypt, but it is actually considering building a similar wall along the border with Syria.

"If Israel had the option to build a wall along all its borders with Arab states in 24 hours, it would have done so, especially after the May 15 Nakba Day scare, when Arab crowds poured in from all directions to challenge the Israeli border."

Israel will be bracing once again for a second such outpour to mark the Naksa Day this time, "the day of the major setback" when the Arab side was defeated in the 1967 Six Day War against Israel.

Indeed, not being able to trust its post-revolution Egyptian neighbour makes Israel an anxious nation. The new rulers of Egypt have so far allowed an Iranian warship to cross the Suez Canal, opened the Rafah crossing for Gazans and declared a revision of the gas supply agreement between the two states.


Notaries put wedding plans on the line

The wedding plans of young Egyptian men and women this summer may be disrupted by a month-long strike that maazuns (notaries public who certify marriage and divorce contracts) have threatened to carry out if their demands are not met, reported Mai Ibrahim for the London-based Asharq al Awsat newspaper.

Summer is the high season for weddings in Egypt, mainly owing to the mass return of Egyptian expatriates from abroad for the holiday season.

"I scheduled my wedding based on the arrival date of my fiancée's father from abroad. If I don't find a maazun at that time, I don't know what I'm going to do," said one Egyptian man who is planning to get married later this month.

The top demand of the maazuns is the right to unionise. "The demand for a trade union is extremely pressing," said Ghazali Abu Mohammed, a veteran maazun. " We've called for it for years. It's unfortunate that sometimes a strike is the last resort."

Article 20 of the law regulating the maazun's profession has also been called into question. The article stipulates that "the maazun must be present at the bride's residence to draw up and certify the marriage contract", which is not always convenient for maazuns who may prefer to do the paperwork in their office.

* Digest compiled by Achraf El Bahi

Published: June 5, 2011 04:00 AM


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