Arabs applaud UN movement on Syria

Arabs applaud UN movement on Syria

Arab media widely covers Delhi attack; columnist warns of Israeli land grab of Arab property

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

'Give us back our childhood.' Al-Quds Al-Arabi
'Give us back our childhood.' Al-Quds Al-Arabi

The international efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria continue to occupy the headlines of Arab newspapers Tuesday. The headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat reads “International calls to transfer the Syria portfolio to the criminal court,” featuring a photo of three tanks patrolling the abandoned streets of Homs. According to the daily, the Arab bloc in the UN continued to call for immediate international intervention in Syria, with strongly-worded speeches from the Egyptian, Saudi, Libyan and Tunisian representatives.

Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, printed in London, opens its coverage by quoting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay as calling for the International Criminal Court in the Hague to discuss the situation in Syria.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a hard-line daily printed in London, opens with the comments of the Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, who blames UN member states for sending Al-Qaeda Jihadists into Syria to destabilize the country. The daily features a photo of a young Syrian girl holding a doll in one hand and a sign reading “give us back our childhood” in the other.

Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya eschews the diplomatic developments in favor of developments on the ground. Its headline reads “Syrian army perpetrates a new massacre in Baba Amr in Homs,” with a video report featuring nightly amateur footage of a burning car accompanied by excited voices saying that it was bombed and that a man was trapped inside. The channel reports 43 new victims across Syria on Monday.

Delhi attack widely covered

The Arab press is widely covering the attack on Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia. Anti-Iranian A-Sharq Al-Awsat chooses Israel’s version as its headline, reading “Israel: The attack on the two embassies carries the fingerprints of Iran and Hezbollah.” The report ignores the actual event, focusing solely on the Israeli accusation and the Iranian and Lebanese denial of involvement in it.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi, generally harshly critical of Israel, carries a factual Reuters report of the event.

Al-Hayat leads with the Iranian denial of involvement and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s condemnation of the bombing. Al-Hayat’s coverage feeds widely on the Israeli reporting, quoting Israeli ministers at length and attributing the attack to the fourth anniversary of the killing of Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh.

Iran and the US prepare for naval showdown

Iranian and American statements regarding a looming naval confrontation in the Persian Gulf are making waves (no pun intended) on Tuesday. Al-Hayat, quoting Western news agencies, reports that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is preparing “wise control” over the Strait of Hormuz to overcome American naval intervention in the Gulf. The Americans, for their part, warn that Iran is preparing small boats for suicide missions.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi quotes a report in Newsweek magazine in which Mossad chief Tamir Pardo recently visited the United States to gauge its reaction to a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran.

Meanwhile, Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya chooses to focus on developments inside Iran, reporting security intensification across the country in preparation for widespread popular demonstrations against the regime, which it dubs “an Iranian Spring.” According to the news channel, various opposition groups are calling for mass protest on the one-year anniversary of the house arrest of opposition leaders Mir-Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Israeli Arabs and the peril of Judaization

Columnist Nabil Sahli warns in an opinion piece in Al-Jazeera Tuesday of the perils of focusing solely on Israeli settlement expansion instead of focusing on the real danger, in his opinion: an Israeli-Jewish land grab within Israel proper.

“In a race against time, the Netanyahu government is attempting to Judaize the land remaining in Arab possession within the Green Line,” states Sahli.

The latest development in this master scheme, he warns, lies in the recommendation of the Braver Commission, which recently proposed the “confiscation” of 800,000 dunams of Arab land in the Negev and the deportation of 30,000 Palestinians.

‘In a race against time, the Netanyahu government is attempting to Judaize the land remaining in Arab possession within the Green Line,’ states Sahli

The first solution to this threat is Palestinian unity, writes Sahli, since the challenge posed by Israel is “purely national.”

“It is also imperative that the PLO adopt a constant discourse focusing on the dangers of the Jewishness of Israel on the Palestinian people and its rights, instead of talking about freezing settlements as a stepping stone for pointless negotiations.”

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