Shift of attention lifts pressure on Israel



The remark by the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, that peace will be difficult to achieve in the foreseeable future is worth considering, wrote Waleed Nouayhed in a comment piece for the Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat. Liberman's statements came following new international developments, which are likely to force the US president, Barack Obama, to change the priorities of his foreign policy.

"The US president is increasingly devoting more attention to the Iranian issue at the expense of the Palestinian cause. Meanwhile, Mr Liberman is more aware than his American counterparts that George Mitchell's peace tours are less likely to yield any returns." The peace process is impossible now because of three changes that have recently taken place: the decision to withdraw from a "missile shield" project in Eastern Europe, the announcement of a new Iranian nuclear facility, and early signs of military failure in Afghanistan. "Taken together, these factors have forced both the US and Europe to change their priorities in the Middle East." The Iranian issue has become an escape since they failed to push the Israelis to freeze settlement expansion. For the Israelis, this shift of attention has given them a golden opportunity to once again placate international pressure to stop settlement growth and interfere with the Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem.

In an opinion piece for the Lebanese newspaper Al Safir, Satea Nourredine wrote that the Nobel Prize in peace and literature of this year went to persons who did not deserve it.

"The prize panel seemed to have been caught in a dilemma of choosing between the three most able candidates: the Syrian thinker, Adnonis, and the Algerian writer, Assia Djebar, on the one hand, and the Israeli writer, Amos Oz, on the other hand. The decision, most probably, had been affected more by politics than by literary considerations. The committee may finally have decided to be as politically neutral as possible and awarded the prize to someone less likely to stir  controversy."

There is no other explanation for awarding the prize to the Romanian-born German writer Herta Müller, who cannot be ranked among the the most distinguished modern writers. By the same token, there is no logic behind nominating the US president Barack Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize only two weeks after his election and for him be chosen this week as the winner. He has, so far, achieved no outstanding peace that can be celebrated. It is not the first time the prize jury adopted double standards, but it is the first time that its decisions look very superficial.

"The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, differs from his predecessor Yasser Arafat in the way he handles political crises. Sometimes he retreats and vows to resign, as he is less able to bear external as well internal pressures," wrote Abdul Arrahman al Rashed in a comment piece for the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat.  Mr Abbas is less flexible, nor is he a skilful political player. Lately, he has been fiercely attacked by both his political supporters and opponents over the Goldstone report on the war on Gaza. Hamas criticised him for accepting postponement of discussion of the report, although the group itself had previously rejected it  as "a conspiracy by Judge Richard Goldstone".

Hamas knows very well that the Palestinian Authority's performance in the West Bank had been the best in the history of Palestinian leadership. Historically, smear campaigns have always been common among Palestinian  factions.  "Systematic smear campaigns against the Palestinian Authority are insane. We cannot say that the Authority is perfect and always correct, but in the case of the Goldstone report, the issue is  blown out  of proportion. After all, sooner or later, it will be stalled once it reaches the UN Security Council." It is better for all factions to settle their differences because that is worth more than a thousand such reports.

The visits exchanged by king Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and the Syrian president, Bashar al Assad, cemented relations between the two Arab countries, and especially between the different Lebanese political factions ahead of forming a national unity government, wrote Assan Atwi in comment piece for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.  "Improved relations between Riyadh and Damascus has left Americans less able to abuse the Lebanese card to control many issues in the region." This is can be seen in three aspects. First, the US president, Barack Obama, was disappointed after he could not make the peace summit held recently in the White House a starting point for resuming peace negotiations. This led Arab countries to reject any normalisation of their relations as the Israelis continued expanding settlements. Many now favour reviving Palestiain reconciliation based on the Egyptian plan instead.

Second, Mr Obama failed in convincing both Russia and China to stand by his administration and other European countries to impose further sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme. Last, the US administration realised that it had to stop accusing Syria of destabilising security in Iraq when regional powers intervened to defuse the tense situation. * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi @Email:melmouloudi@thenational.ae

Brief scoreline:

Liverpool 5

Keita 1', Mane 23', 66', Salah 45'+1, 83'

Huddersfield 0

Abu Dhabi GP schedule

Friday: First practice - 1pm; Second practice - 5pm

Saturday: Final practice - 2pm; Qualifying - 5pm

Sunday: Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (55 laps) - 5.10pm

Company profile

Name: Homie Portal LLC

Started: End of 2021 

Founder: Abdulla Al Kamda 

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech 

Initial investment: Undisclosed 

Current number of staff: 14 

Investment stage: Launch 

Investors: Self-funded

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Nomad Homes
Started: 2020
Founders: Helen Chen, Damien Drap, and Dan Piehler
Based: UAE and Europe
Industry: PropTech
Funds raised so far: $44m
Investors: Acrew Capital, 01 Advisors, HighSage Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Partech, Precursor Ventures, Potluck Ventures, Knollwood and several undisclosed hedge funds

Seemar’s top six for the Dubai World Cup Carnival:

1. Reynaldothewizard
2. North America
3. Raven’s Corner
4. Hawkesbury
5. New Maharajah
6. Secret Ambition

Forced Deportations

While the Lebanese government has deported a number of refugees back to Syria since 2011, the latest round is the first en-mass campaign of its kind, say the Access Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization which monitors the conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“In the past, the Lebanese General Security was responsible for the forced deportation operations of refugees, after forcing them to sign papers stating that they wished to return to Syria of their own free will. Now, the Lebanese army, specifically military intelligence, is responsible for the security operation,” said Mohammad Hasan, head of ACHR.
In just the first four months of 2023 the number of forced deportations is nearly double that of the entirety of 2022.

Since the beginning of 2023, ACHR has reported 407 forced deportations – 200 of which occurred in April alone.

In comparison, just 154 people were forcfully deported in 2022.

Violence

Instances of violence against Syrian refugees are not uncommon.

Just last month, security camera footage of men violently attacking and stabbing an employee at a mini-market went viral. The store’s employees had engaged in a verbal altercation with the men who had come to enforce an order to shutter shops, following the announcement of a municipal curfew for Syrian refugees.
“They thought they were Syrian,” said the mayor of the Nahr el Bared municipality, Charbel Bou Raad, of the attackers.
It later emerged the beaten employees were Lebanese. But the video was an exemplary instance of violence at a time when anti-Syrian rhetoric is particularly heated as Lebanese politicians call for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.

Listen to Extra Time
How I connect with my kids when working or travelling

Little notes: My girls often find a letter from me, with a joke, task or some instructions for the afternoon, and saying what I’m excited for when I get home.
Phone call check-in: My kids know that at 3.30pm I’ll be free for a quick chat.
Highs and lows: Instead of a “how was your day?”, at dinner or at bathtime we share three highlights; one thing that didn’t go so well; and something we’re looking forward to.
I start, you next: In the morning, I often start a little Lego project or drawing, and ask them to work on it while I’m gone, then we’ll finish it together.
Bedtime connection: Wake up and sleep time are important moments. A snuggle, some proud words, listening, a story. I can’t be there every night, but I can start the day with them.
Undivided attention: Putting the phone away when I get home often means sitting in the car to send a last email, but leaving it out of sight between home time and bedtime means you can connect properly.
Demystify, don’t demonise your job: Help them understand what you do, where and why. Show them your workplace if you can, then it’s not so abstract when you’re away - they’ll picture you there. Invite them into your “other” world so they know more about the different roles you have.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The Letter Writer

Director: Layla Kaylif

Stars: Eslam Al Kawarit, Rosy McEwen, Muhammad Amir Nawaz

Rating: 2/5

MATCH INFO

Final: England v South Africa, Saturday, 1pm

Tonight's Chat on The National

Tonight's Chat is a series of online conversations on The National. The series features a diverse range of celebrities, politicians and business leaders from around the Arab world.

Tonight’s Chat host Ricardo Karam is a renowned author and broadcaster with a decades-long career in TV. He has previously interviewed Bill Gates, Carlos Ghosn, Andre Agassi and the late Zaha Hadid, among others. Karam is also the founder of Takreem.

Intellectually curious and thought-provoking, Tonight’s Chat moves the conversation forward.

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The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi’s Arabic Language Centre will mark International Women’s Day at the Bologna Children's Book Fair with the Abu Dhabi Translation Conference. Prolific Emirati author Noora Al Shammari, who has written eight books that feature in the Ministry of Education's curriculum, will appear in a session on Wednesday to discuss the challenges women face in getting their works translated.

Afghanistan fixtures
  • v Australia, today
  • v Sri Lanka, Tuesday
  • v New Zealand, Saturday,
  • v South Africa, June 15
  • v England, June 18
  • v India, June 22
  • v Bangladesh, June 24
  • v Pakistan, June 29
  • v West Indies, July 4
Plan to boost public schools

A major shake-up of government-run schools was rolled out across the country in 2017. Known as the Emirati School Model, it placed more emphasis on maths and science while also adding practical skills to the curriculum.

It was accompanied by the promise of a Dh5 billion investment, over six years, to pay for state-of-the-art infrastructure improvements.

Aspects of the school model will be extended to international private schools, the education minister has previously suggested.

Recent developments have also included the introduction of moral education - which public and private schools both must teach - along with reform of the exams system and tougher teacher licensing requirements.

Four motivational quotes from Alicia's Dubai talk

“The only thing we need is to know that we have faith. Faith and hope in our own dreams. The belief that, when we keep going we’re going to find our way. That’s all we got.”

“Sometimes we try so hard to keep things inside. We try so hard to pretend it’s not really bothering us. In some ways, that hurts us more. You don’t realise how dishonest you are with yourself sometimes, but I realised that if I spoke it, I could let it go.”

“One good thing is to know you’re not the only one going through it. You’re not the only one trying to find your way, trying to find yourself, trying to find amazing energy, trying to find a light. Show all of yourself. Show every nuance. All of your magic. All of your colours. Be true to that. You can be unafraid.”

“It’s time to stop holding back. It’s time to do it on your terms. It’s time to shine in the most unbelievable way. It’s time to let go of negativity and find your tribe, find those people that lift you up, because everybody else is just in your way.”

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 660hp
Torque: 1,100Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Touring range: 488km-560km
Price: From Dh850,000 (estimate)
On sale: October

SPECS

Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8
Power: 625 bhp
Torque: 630Nm
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh974,011

The specs: Taycan Turbo GT

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 1,108hp
Torque: 1,340Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic (front axle); two-speed transmission (rear axle)
Touring range: 488-560km
Price: From Dh928,400
On sale: Orders open

Dhadak

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Starring: Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khattar, Ashutosh Rana

Stars: 3

Explainer: Tanween Design Programme

Non-profit arts studio Tashkeel launched this annual initiative with the intention of supporting budding designers in the UAE. This year, three talents were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be a part of the sixth creative development programme. These are architect Abdulla Al Mulla, interior designer Lana El Samman and graphic designer Yara Habib.

The trio have been guided by experts from the industry over the course of nine months, as they developed their own products that merge their unique styles with traditional elements of Emirati design. This includes laboratory sessions, experimental and collaborative practice, investigation of new business models and evaluation.

It is led by British contemporary design project specialist Helen Voce and mentor Kevin Badni, and offers participants access to experts from across the world, including the likes of UK designer Gareth Neal and multidisciplinary designer and entrepreneur, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi.

The final pieces are being revealed in a worldwide limited-edition release on the first day of Downtown Designs at Dubai Design Week 2019. Tashkeel will be at stand E31 at the exhibition.

Lisa Ball-Lechgar, deputy director of Tashkeel, said: “The diversity and calibre of the applicants this year … is reflective of the dynamic change that the UAE art and design industry is witnessing, with young creators resolute in making their bold design ideas a reality.”

HAJJAN

Director: Abu Bakr Shawky 


Starring: Omar Alatawi, Tulin Essam, Ibrahim Al-Hasawi 


Rating: 4/5

ARGENTINA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Franco Armani, Agustin Marchesin, Esteban Andrada
Defenders: Juan Foyth, Nicolas Otamendi, German Pezzella, Nicolas Tagliafico, Ramiro Funes Mori, Renzo Saravia, Marcos Acuna, Milton Casco
Midfielders: Leandro Paredes, Guido Rodriguez, Giovani Lo Celso, Exequiel Palacios, Roberto Pereyra, Rodrigo De Paul, Angel Di Maria
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Lautaro Martinez, Paulo Dybala, Matias Suarez

The specs: 2018 Peugeot 5008

Price, base / as tested: Dh99,900 / Dh134,900

Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Power: 165hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 240Nm @ 1,400rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 5.8L / 100km

The specs: 2019 BMW X4

Price, base / as tested: Dh276,675 / Dh346,800

Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six-cylinder

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 354hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 500Nm @ 1,550rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 9.0L / 100km


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