Qatar’s Al-Jazeera leads it website Saturday with reports on the Friday Land Day protests in Israel, the Palestinian territories and across the Arab world.
Al-Jazeera sets out to portray the righteousness of the Palestinian cause in its aspiration to return to Jerusalem: It makes a point of mentioning the religious connection to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the national connection to the occupied city, and the human connection to more than a quarter million Palestinians who currently reside in Jerusalem under an Israeli regime “set on further Judaizing the city with more and more settlements.”
It highlights the rest of the Arab world, where “Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt have joined in similar marches towards Jerusalem in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”
And it critiques the ostensible disproportionality of Israeli counter-measures by quoting an Israeli directive that had called “to open fire towards any person who attempts to cross the border.”
The article ends with an overview that acts as yet another justification of the Palestinian cause. It states that “Israel is currently in possession of 85% of the area of historical Palestine.” And this number is likely to climb with every new settlement built, it says.
Annan’s harsher tone towards Assad
Al-Hayat, the London-based pan-Arab publication, covers international reactions to the relentless bloodshed in Syria.
Former UN Secretary General and joint Arab League-International envoy Kofi Annan’s reaction to Friday’s events – where 40 Syrians were killed in confrontations between protesters and military forces – is especially interesting given his need to maintain a certain measure of impartiality in order to act as a mediator. Yet Annan is taking more of a critical role, the paper reports, “calling on Assad to stop the violence at once and to start implementing [Annan’s] initiative for direct negotiations.” This marks the first time Annan has launched a direct plea to Assad and not to both parties – placing a certain measure of increased culpability at Assad’s doorstep.
The paper does stress, however, that Annan’s comments stop short of an outright denunciation of Assad. This reservation, the paper states, stems from Annan’s desire to maintain the role of middle-man and his desire “to avoid confrontation with Russia” — which is still wary of any direct critique of the Syrian regime, and is regarded as a key nation in moving forward toward a solution.
The paper does find a modicum of good news in that “It was tentatively agreed that a team of 200-250 international inspectors will arrive in Syria in order to oversee the implementation of Annan’s initiative.” The exact details of the delegation are still being negotiated with the Syrian regime. Currently, the paper reports, it seems the team of inspectors will be unarmed and will be secured by Syrian police forces.
7th candidate for Egypt’s presidency
The pan-Arab Saudi paper A-Sharq Al-Awsat announces the latest entry to the Egyptian presidential race: The conservative Salafist sheikh, and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail on Saturday became the seventh individual to announce his candidacy.
The publication makes a point of specifying the manner in which Abu Ismail’s candidacy was announced: He “arrived at the East Cairo nomination center in person followed by thousands of his supporters and filed his papers by hand.” This process, the paper comments, is very symbolic of the type of person Abu-Ismail is – a hail-fellow well-met with an extremely zealous support-base of mostly devout Salafists.
But there’s criticism in the report too. The article notes that “Egyptian security forces were forced to mobilize a number of security cars and ambulances to ensure the safety of Abu Ismail and his fellow marchers.”
4 kids in 7 years for Mrs. bin Laden
East-Jerusalem’s Al-Quds daily reports on the Pakistani interrogation of Osama bin Laden’s youngest wife, Amal. While bin Laden was in hiding in Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks, the 30-year-old Amal has revealed, she gave birth to four children during a seven-year period. Life was not easy: “All births were delivered in a remote hospital near Islamabad, but then Amal would be whisked away from the hospital a mere two or three hours after birth without so much as a chance for recovery.”
The four wives of bin Laden face trial in Pakistan for entering the country illegally and are likely to be deported. The fate of those bin Laden kids who were born in Pakistan, the paper reports, remains uncertain.