The people want to liberate Palestine

A round up of the region's Arabic news.

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In an opinion article for pan-Arab online daily Alarab, the columnist Fayez Abu Shamala observed if many Palestinian leaders might now be wondering if the call for an end to internal divisions was rendered meaningless as the Egyptian crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square were toppling the sponsor of the negotiations process.

But, what these leaders fail to realise is that the internecine dissension in Palestine ended immediately after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. The causes of Palestinian divisions, however, are politically rooted. It was politics that divided the Palestinians into two camps: one that supports negotiations as the sole course to the resolution of the Palestinian issue, and another that insists on resistance and refuses to recognise the Israeli state.

With Mubarak's departure, the Palestinian position should be an abandonment of pointless negotiations. Supporters of this camp are in agreement with other Arab crowds: the people want to liberate Palestine.

"These crowds didn't call for the ending of the dissent or for Arab unity. They called for the liberation of Palestine as a prelude to end divisions and unite Arabs, as a means to eradicate ignorance and fight corruption and dictatorships."

Egypt's revolution changes Israel's plans

President Hafez Assad ruled Syria for 30 years, King Hussein ruled Jordan for 40 years and Yasser Arafat also ruled over the Palestinian Liberation Organisation for 40 years. Following their death, their regimes remained secure. For that reason, Israelis saw government changes in each of the three countries as natural and reassuring, observed the columnist Mazen Hammad in the Qatari daily Al Watan.

But when Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down as ruler of Egypt, the situation became different. Many Israeli observers expressed their country's concern towards the uncertain future of Egypt following the departure of their main strategic ally.

Throughout the turmoil in the Middle East, the Egyptian regime played the role of the solid rock. Israeli leaders were reassured that their left flank was secure as they went to war or built settlements or negotiated with Palestinians.

Now, the situation differs in Egypt because Mr Mubarak was forced out before he had the chance to pass the rule to a successor of his choosing. What Israel fears most at this moment, more than a possible collapse of the peace agreement, is the possibility Egypt might become an Islamic republic similar to Iran.

For years, Cairo under Mr Mubarak stood against Iran and its allies in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza, but Egypt in its post-Tahrir Square incarnation will not back Israeli aggression towards Iran.

Yemeni official attacks Egypt's revolution

In Yemen's southern regions and in its capital Sana, protests continue to call for democracy, political reforms, an end to corruption and radical changes in all aspects of rule, observed the London-based daily Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial.

Under these circumstances, logic calls for a high degree of reason on the part of Yemeni officials, as they must avoid any statements that might further provoke the public and accentuate the government's embarrassment.

"For this reason, recent statements by Yehia al Raai, chairman of the Yemeni parliament, attacking the Egyptian people's revolution, go against that logic and prove the calibre of officials in the highest positions in Yemen justifies the persistence of the protestors calling to topple them."

Mr al Raai allegedly described the revolution as dishonourable and called on Yemenis to listen to the voice of reason.

Egypt's revolution was a popular uprising for democracy and an outcry against corruption. If such ideals are dishonourable according to Mr al Raai, what might he describe as honourable?

"We hope that these statements associated with Mr al Raai are not true for we can't imagine that in light of the popular tensions in Yemen, such declarations could be uttered by none other than the head of the legislative branch who is supposed to be the guardian of values, liberties and the interests of the people."

A perfect remedy for revolutions

"Who will be next?" now seems to be the most common question asked by media analysts across the Arab world. But, instead of being forced into change, as was the case in Tunisia and Egypt, Tareq Homayed, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab daily Asharq al Awsat has proposed a magical potion that could save countries from damaging protests.

"The advice is simple and credible. In case serious protests were to erupt in our republics, the best resolution would be to immediately call for presidential elections under international supervision. The winner accedes to power and the loser backs out honourably instead of resorting to slander."

The recipe then is to hold elections as soon as protests start and people take to the streets. A call for elections reflects the regime's self-confidence, as long as neutral international authorities supervise such votes, and as long as they allow legitimate contenders to participate in the process.

"The crisis in our region today is the crisis of Arab republics that want to be monarchies. Since the Yemeni president, for instance, has declared that he will not be extending his term, it would be advised, to avoid violence and turbulence, that he calls for presidential elections within three months from now."

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem