Palestinian media bashes Netanyahu’s ‘Jewish state’ law
Arabic media review

Palestinian media bashes Netanyahu’s ‘Jewish state’ law

Iraq fearfully awaits elections results as columnist calls for complete political overhaul

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

Electoral workers carry ballot boxes at a counting center in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, May 1, 2014 (photo credit: AP/Nabil Al-Jurani)
Electoral workers carry ballot boxes at a counting center in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, May 1, 2014 (photo credit: AP/Nabil Al-Jurani)

As Arab media begins analyzing the result of Iraq’s general elections on Friday, Palestinian newspapers focus on a draft law advanced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to define Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

“Netanyahu strives to draft the racist ‘Jewish state’ law; Livni vows it will not pass,” reads the headline of official Palestinian daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah.

“Netanyahu has made the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state a mainstay of any peace agreement, asserting that the basis of the conflict between the peoples is the Arab rejection of the Jewish state and not the occupation of Palestinian land since 1967,” reads the article.

With a similar report, official PA daily Al-Ayyam‘s headline reads “Netanyahu tries to draft a basic law in the Knesset enshrining Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people.”

Ma’an, an independent Palestinian news agency, focuses on the controversy the draft law has caused within Netanyahu’s government.

“Debate in Israel surrounding the draft ‘Jewish state’ law,” reads the article’s headline. The report focuses on support and opposition to the law among Israeli legislators, choosing for some reason to survey only women MKs: Miri Regev (Likud), Tzipi Livni (Hatnua), Ruth Kalderon (Yesh Atid), and Tamar Zandberg (Meretz).

Iraqi vote exposes divided society

Arab media dedicates much attention to the Iraqi elections held Wednesday; noting that while official results have not yet been made public, no clear winner seams to have emerged.

“Iraqi election results exacerbate the conflict, and open the door for dialogue,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, reporting a slight majority in exit polls for President Nouri Al-Malki’s State of Law coalition, followed by the Citizen Bloc led by Shiite cleric Ammar Al-Hakim.

“Maliki and Hakim both claim victory, and the prime minister rejects compromise democracy,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. displaying a photo of an Iraqi citizen handing a flower to a policeman guarding a May Day parade in Baghdad.

The daily quotes liberal Iraqi leader Iyad Allawi as claiming irregularities in the Western predominantly Sunni provinces of Anbar and Nineveh, but saying he cannot comment on results before they are announced by the Independent Elections Committee.

“Fear of election results controls Iraqis,” reads the headline of an article on Saudi-owned news site Elaph. Mutual threats by the rival parties have caused fear of social collapse, the article reports. One activist is quoted as warning that he will “twist the finger of anyone who steels our votes,” a possible reference to the marking of voters’ fingers with dark ink.

Meanwhile, Al-Hayat columnist Randa Taqi A-Din warns that Iraq may fragment into three regions following the elections.

“There used to be hope that following Saddam Hussein a democracy would emerge in Iraq which would be a model for Arab regimes. But Maliki’s rule and the expanding corruption are diametrically opposed to what any citizen believing in democracy would wish for. Iraq is a big, rich and important country, but it needs a complete change of leaders.”

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