Arabic media review

Arab media dubs Moshe Silman the ‘Israeli Bouazizi’

New Syrian massacre shocks the Arab world, and the US administration makes nice with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

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

A massacre in Syrian town of Treimseh Thursday in which some 200 people were reported killed still features high in Arab news outlets Sunday.

“Bodies are dispersed in the fields of Treimseh and gruesome stories of victim torture,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, which features a video grab of three bodies of men lying in a row on the ground.

A team of UN monitors that visited the village of Friday concluded that the Syrian army likely targeted homes of defectors and Free Syrian Army activists, Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera reported.

“Hundreds of dead and injured in a new massacre in the Hama region,” reads the headline of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, printed in London. The daily, which focuses on Palestinian affairs, reports that three Palestinians were killed in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi, normally quite sympathetic to the Assad regime, claims in an editorial that the harsh condemnation issued by Kofi Annan for the Treimseh massacre proves that it could not have been perpetrated by armed gangs, as the Assad regime claims.

“We do not understand the reasons that lead the regime to perpetrate these massacres from time to time, and so cruelly. The victims are Syrian citizens whose lives should be safeguarded … if the regime believes that through these massacres it instills terror in the hearts of Syrians and causes the the uprising activists to retreat, it is completely mistaken. This people was not intimidated by the previous massacres,” reads the editorial.

Al-Hayat columnist Abdullah Iskandar also wonders why the Assad regime chose this timing for the massacre.

“One may ask about the motives of the regime for perpetrating this massacre while Annan strives to include the Iranian ally in the solution and turns to the Russian ally in that context, and while the issue returns to the Security Council. We have already seen the Arab and international condemnations, demanding Chapter Seven and some even calling for international intervention.”

“The regime probably tries to beckon such reactions, pushing matters toward political escalation on the ground in order to block the possibility of dialogue — whether through Annan or Moscow — in addition to its adamant refusal to discuss any transitional stage.”

Saudi owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports Sunday that the Syrian opposition is finally fighting under a unified command. The Joint Military Command of the Syrian Army, announced in Turkey Saturday, is led by general Adnan Salu, former chief of staff of the chemical warfare administration.

US administration makes nice with Morsi

Arab dailies are displaying smiling pictures of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during her visit to Cairo over the weekend.

The dailies highlight Clinton’s unflinching support for Egypt’s “democratic transition.”

Egyptian establishment daily Al-Ahram reports protest demonstrations against Clinton’s visit, across from the American embassy, the presidential palace and Cairo airport. The “Silent Majority movement,” reports the daily, protested what they dubbed “the American-Brotherhood alliance” and the attempts by the United States to sow discord between the Egyptian people and the military.

Al-Jazeera reports that on Sunday Clinton will discuss the role of the Egyptian military with General Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Meanwhile, Saudi-owned news site Elaph reports that Morsi is trying to regain Egypt’s central role as an African country. Hosni Mubarak, reports the daily, was absent from African summits for two decades, but Morsi will attend the summit which begins Sunday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya reports that Morsi addressed the African audience in English, appealing to participating countries to establish a free-trade zone and open a new economic era for the continent.

Arab media dubs Moshe Silman an ‘Israeli Bouazizi’

Arab media has followed the self-immolation of Israeli protester Moshe Silman, calling him an “Israeli Bouazizi” in a reference to the Tunisian youth who set himself on fire in late 2011, sparking widespread protests in his country and across the Middle East.

Elaph reports that the protest letter left by Silman “underscores with precision and detail the dramatic situation experienced by Israelis,” noting the tiny pension Silman was given by government.

Al-Arabiya carries footage of the self-immolation, noting in its website headline that “the Israeli Bouazizi” did so “because of humiliation.”



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