The Palestinian daily Al Hayat al Jadidah carried an opinion piece by the Chief Editor Hafez al Barghouthi who decried the recent shooting at his newspaper's office "Until now, we still do not know the goal behind the shooting at Al Hayat. Are there some who cannot tolerate words or political inclinations or is it just an act of hooliganism? At the peak of the intifada, the newspaper was repeatedly shot at from a nearby village. The occupation, which managed to inflict political and psychological defeat upon us, made us wage the wars of the defeated by shooting at each other. Only the defeated kill each other and only those suffering from moral bankruptcy cannot tolerate the difference of opinions."
It is said that the ammunition of Al Hayat al Jadidah lies in its writers who are blunt and courageous and often do not share the same directions but converge on the greater factor of the Palestinian national project.
"We should not cast accusations and should leave all possibilities open, considering that the Palestinian situation cannot be subjected to any logic because it is illogical. Al Hayat al Jadidah will not write off one word, will not confiscate one pen and will not muzzle one objective opinion, for no intellectual or non-intellectual terrorism will be allowed to pass."
The Syrian-based Al Watan daily carried an opinion piece by Dr Marwan Qabalan who said that with the launching of the Israeli general elections, it has become "quasi certain" that the right-wing and extremist right wing parties will win the biggest number of seats in the Knesset. Following his victory in the elections, Netanyahu will have two options. On the one hand, he could proceed in accordance with his convictions, forming a government that includes far right-wing parties.
"If he were to head in this direction, it would mean that the region will witness developments that will not feature any settlement." It is probable, however, that Netanyahu will go in the other direction and form a government that would include the Labour Party and the Kadima Party and therefore be more acceptable to the international community. "In any case, if ever such a government is formed, it will not be better than the previous one for while it will certainly not raise extremist right wing slogans, it will implement some of them without making a lot of noise. This was done by the Labour Party governments throughout the past decades, recognising that the settlements reached their peak under their term and not under that of Likud."
Khaled bin Faisal al Farm, a columnist for Saudi Arabia's Okaz daily, wrote: "We have to admit that there is a general culture of disgruntlement that rules over some of the segments of our society, especially among the young whose ambitions keep rising as a result of the spread of information through the internet and the satellite channels." The irony, the author noted, is that the two sides that realised the importance of this segment in the society are the entertainment satellite channels and the terrorist organisations.
"These two sides are focusing on the young as their main target audience in order to mould their thinking and actions to serve their own goals. Some entertainment channels have become platforms to market sex among the public and to exploit it for financial reasons in a manner that is much worse than that used by channels in Western societies." As for the terrorist organisations, they found in the young a suitable hunting ground for their recruitment operations supporting their ongoing wars with society and the state.
"We see no national strategy for the young. We see no clear vision to dispel the culture of disgruntlement by giving opportunities to young leaders can present an example about how to satisfy ambitions and to climb the social ladder towards national progress."
The Palestinian Al Ayyam daily carried a piece by Rajab Abu Sariya who reflected on the Israeli election. "Should no resounding surprises occur, and if the opposition Likud Party wins - in accordance with the ongoing opinion polls that have been conducted for months - Benjamin Natenyahu will presumably form the new government. A key question arises not about the new prime minister, but rather about the nature of the government components in the first place." The status of the Israeli left-wing parties have declined, Abu Sariya asserted, "and not only in regards to the Labour Party, but also other leftist parties such as Meretz which might disappear from the political map in these elections." The political weight is moving towards the right's favour. The key to the new government, therefore, will be Yisreal Bentinu which will be a chief partner, "something that poses serious challenges and threats to the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens. These elections will perhaps consecrate a reality that has become clear on the Israeli political map: that Israel has become a right-wing state par excellence."
* Digest compiled by www.mideastwire.com