Is it the Last Arab Summit?
After three years of their absence, the Arab leaders are gathering once again (early next month) in Algeria for a summit. During this period, many changes have taken place in the Arab world starting with the shift in the position of some Arab countries on the issue of normalisation (with Israel). With this the Arab League now comprises five countries which have normalised their relations with Israel. Last year, the relations of Qatar with other Gulf states have also been restored as was in the past. The battle of Saif al-Quds (sword of Jerusalem) has come to an end. The relations between Algeria and Morocco entered the stage of absolute hostility and the severing of ties. The thing which has not changed, during this period, is that Syria’s seat remained vacant, and Algeria failed in its mediation for the return of Bashar Al-Assad to the Arab League, particularly in the situation when Qatar is insisting that that page cannot be turned without holding Assad accountable.
The efforts to achieve Arab unity faltered due to the lack of consensus regarding the return of Syria to its seat in the league. To save its face, Damascus has quickly regretted that it will not attend the summit. Algeria was left with nothing but the Palestinian cause as a main issue on which the work of the summit will revolve. Algeria has invited the Palestinian factions to attend a new reconciliation meeting next week in the capital, Algiers.
[by Fadhil Munasifah in Al-Arab, London]
Hunger, Death for Freedom
The daily tragedies experienced by the occupied Palestinian territories may be the biggest witness to the reality of the non-existence of the so-called “global conscience.” This is tolerant towards the daily transgressions of the Israeli occupation, and its soldiers’ continuous attacks on Palestinian citizens and their property.
The occupation army is no longer the only force which storms Palestinian cities and villages, causing corruption and sowing fear among their residents, and attacking them with unprecedented repressive and intimidating methods. But they are preceded by the armed battalions of the settlers, crimes of which we watch with worry and see their intense bloodletting in different Palestinian areas from the south of the occupied territories to the north.
The Palestinians stick to their right to life on their lands and in their country. They insist on taking it with all the means of struggle destined for them, which sometimes cost them to sacrifice their lives or their freedoms when they are imprisoned in the occupation prisons.
About 4,700 prisoners are currently held in the Israeli occupation prisons, including 31 women and 190 children under the age of 18. There are also 800 who are held without trial. Each of these prisoners carries a story worth documenting and writing about. On the other hand, this record exposes the crimes of the occupation (Israel), the complicity of most of the countries of the world with it and their provocative silence about the longest and fiercest occupation in the modern world.
[by Jawad Boulos in Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London]