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Middle East Press (01 May 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Globalization of Terrorism in the Service of Bigotry: New Age Islam's Selection, 01 May 2017





New Age Islam Edit Bureau

01 May 2017

Globalization of Terrorism in the Service of Bigotry

By Eyad Abu Shakra

Jordan Abolishes Rape Law, It Must Follow Suit with Honour Killing Law

By Yara Al-Wazir

Turkey under the Scanner Again

By Yasar Yakis

With $300bn on the Table, Saudi Arabia Gets Ready For Sale of the Century

By Frank Kane

Israel-Palestine Peace Requires Fresh Strategies

By Linda S. Heard

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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Globalization of Terrorism in the Service of Bigotry

By Eyad Abu Shakra

30 April 2017

In real democracies elections are a ‘means’ not an ‘end’. This is not the case with other types of democracy; such as the democracies of cheap slogans, and %90 victories which we have experienced in our countries, either to imitate others or to ingratiate ourselves to them in order to escape their pressure or anger.

This year, political observers have been awaiting three major scheduled elections in the Netherlands, France, and Germany, following the Brexit referendum in the UK and the US presidential elections. However, certain calculations have prompted British Prime Minister Theresa May to call for a snap early election. As if the Brexit ‘earthquake’ has not been enough, and the Scottish nationalists’ drive for independence is not gathering added momentum, voters in the UK will find themselves on 8 June facing a second general election in less than one year and one month after the last one.

Two days before the first round of France’s presidential elections, in the London apartment of an anglophile friend, there was a lively discussion about how the French and British deal with their respective democratic systems. During that discussion, we touched on two interconnected aspects: The difference in ‘party culture and traditions’, and the difference in ‘personal and social moods’ between the French and British (primarily, English) voters.

The French who vote today for their new president live a political culture different from that of their neighbours across the English Channel. Behind this fact are several factors, including:

1- The Geo-Environmental factor, as France is very much a part of the European mainland; and thus has witnessed since the dawn of history endless conquests, waves of immigration and settlement, and centuries of multi-ethnic interaction that have left a huge cumulative imprint on the French identity. Across the Channel, the British are ‘islanders’, which is a reality not only do they profess, but also stress to justify their tendency for exclusivity and exception. Still, while one must not dismiss the multi-ethnic side in the identity of the British, recalling the waves of conquests which brought the Celts, Romans, Angles and Saxons, Juts, Normans and others to Great Britain, the centuries’ old semi-isolation of the island has ensured a semblance of homogeneity in its central areas (as the Celts moved to the peripheries in Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall). This is not exactly true for France.

2- The factor of political change. Here, while France and the UK have both gone through civil wars and dynastic changes, the French have been more at home with ‘revolution’, as compared with ‘evolution’ – or gradual change – in the UK. In the latter, this has been the pattern since Magna Carta, and later ‘The Restoration’ (of monarchic rule after the Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth period following the parliamentarians’ rebellion against king Charles I). Hence, if ‘The French Revolution’ helped shape the political identity of France, and the storming of the Bastille became its national day it celebrates annually, the British position vis-à-vis rebellions or revolution is totally different. In fact, the British political establishment has been averse to any kind of armed struggle against the state as sedition, and in today’s jargon an act of terrorism. This is why London treated not the Irish Republican Army members, but also George Washington and the Mahatma Gandhi as “terrorists”.

3- The organizational/institutional factor. This applies when we see that the roles played by historic ‘larger than life’ individuals (such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles De Gaulle, and Francois Mitterrand) in France were much greater than those of political parties even during democratic rule. In the UK the opposite is true, as British political parties have always been ‘larger’ than the aura of their most successful leaders. One proof is that Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, the two longest serving Conservative and Labour prime ministers in the last 100 years, were brought down by their own parties, not defeated by the opposition.

During that evening at my anglophile friend’s apartment, those present talked about the ‘moodiness’ of the French voters as opposed to the consistency, even predictability, of their British counterparts.

Among the things said was that Theresa May would not have called for snap general elections 3 years before the life of the current Parliamentary term had she was not sure she would win big; something which would ensure her a lager majority, and give her the freedom to finalize the UK’s exit from Europe. Those holding this view noted that she must have calculated – based on opinion polls – that the Labour opposition was in a pretty bad shape under its current radical leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn, particularly, since Corbyn has lost Labour the support of the uncommitted ‘floating’ voters, against the background of a divided opposition parties, and increasing threat of secessionist nationalists, namely in Scotland.

Despite the fact that opinion polls went badly wrong twice last year, with ‘Brexit’ and US presidential elections, the clear cut single-constituency party-based British general elections are usually easier to predict than the result of a single-issue referendum that divided both Conservatives and Labour down the middle.

In France, it has been more difficult to predict the outcome. What is at stake is not just how to satisfy the voters of a country where there are 264 types of cheese – as De Gaulle famously said –, but also the broad spectrum of candidates from the extreme right to the extreme Left, while the traditional ‘establishment’ candidates trailing badly. The latest polls gave both the Republican Gaullist candidate and the Socialist candidates less support than the extreme Right’s Marine Le Pen and the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, and sometimes even the extreme Left’s Jean-Luc Melenchon. Then, as if all this was not enough, the Muslim identity of the ‘Champs Elysees Terrorist’ could only boost the chances of Le Pen, as well as the Republican Francois Fillon, who has shared a lot of her stances on Muslims and immigrants during the last months.

A final thought. British democratic traditions have proven to be capable of containing extremism. While in France, is a second and decisive round of voting enough to prevent ‘globalized terrorism’ from making fear-nurtured isolationism and bigotry… the major voter?

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/04/30/Globalization-of-terrorism-in-the-service-of-bigotry.html

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Jordan Abolishes Rape Law, It Must Follow Suit with Honour Killing Law

By Yara Al-Wazir

30 April 2017

Earlier this week, Jordan’s cabinet finally moved to abolish a law that exempts rapists from prosecution if they marry their victims. The proposal was endorsed by King Abdullah and is a result of years of campaigning by women’s rights groups. Although the proposal must now be debated in parliament before the article is abolished, a process that can take months, it is a major step forward for Jordan and is setting the precedent for the region.

Jordan has truly pioneered in the region by setting the standard in abolishing this rape law. Similar articles exist in the law in Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine and Syria. While the root of the law stems from colonial rule by the French, which saw French law adopted, the article is outdated. Some argue that marrying the rapist actually protects women form possible honour killings that their families may undertake if the law didn’t exist. There is nothing that rips honour straight out of a woman than marrying her rapist.

Two Further Steps Are Needed For This Law to Be Effective

Abolishing the law is only the first step in reform and protecting women’s right to exist. There are two major steps that must follow suit. The first step comes through abolishing the exemption clauses that give lenient sentences to murders in the cases of honour killings. The second step that must follow suit is reforming society and public opinion and perception of victims of rape.

Article 340 of Jordan’s Penal Code reduces the penalty if a man kills or attacks a female relative if she commits adultery. This is a further extension under article 98 of the penal code, which reduces the penalty for murder if the killer is in a “state of great fury”. These two articles are prime examples of abominations to women’s rights. Further to the vilification that women receive from society for adultery, the law is fundamentally designed with loopholes that would allow their partners and family to literally get away with murder.

The region’s obsession with “honour” is outdated and easily misconstrued. There is honour and pride in a woman achieving her dreams, purchasing her first home, and seeking education – the honour of a woman is not a currency, and is most definitely not a function of her ‘purity’ or ‘virginity’, at least it shouldn’t be in this day and age. If society continues to value a woman by her virginity, then society needs a major reality and priority check.

According to Human Rights Watch, 2016 saw a 53 per cent increase in the rates of honour killings. Addressing Article 340 and 98 in conjunction with Article 308 (which addresses this rape law) is key to creating a safe environment for women.

No Precedent For Rape Or Honour Killing Under Islamic Law

Fundamentally, a killing is a killing. The Quran quotes a monumental verse ‘if anyone killed a person not in retaliation or murder… it would be as if he killed all of mankind”– the same is true for honour killings: murder is murder, regardless of the context. Honour killings must be treated for what they are: murder.

From an Islamic Law perspective, there is no Islamic-legal precedent to forgive a man if he marries his victim; cases of sexual assault during the life of the Prophet lead to the punishment of the man, with no mention of an exception being made if the rapist marries his victim.

Jordan has taken the first major step in protecting the rights of women to exist and live freely; this step must be heavily encouraged so that other countries follow-suit. Jordan must now continue this great plight and work to abolish outdated clauses that protect murders. Given enough time, this will inevitably lead to societal reform and allow women to regain control of their lives and ensure they have the right to live and love as they wish.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/04/30/Jordan-abolishes-rape-law-it-must-follow-suit-with-honor-killing-law.html

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Iranian Meddling In Bahrain: No Longer In Denial?

By Baria Alamuddin

30 April 2017

In the years after 2011, I grew accustomed to receiving a condescending grimace from Western officials when I asked about Iranian terrorism in Bahrain. Often this would earn me a lecture about “prisoners of conscience” and “rights to peaceful protest.”

Despite Bahraini authorities’ efforts to reach a consensus with opposition entities via dialogue, reforms and permitting licensed protests, there was a stiff refusal to countenance Iranian meddling in the Gulf, and to recognize the militant and sectarian ideology of these Tehran-backed groups.

Today, not only has the mountain of evidence become incontrovertible, but the Trump administration has loudly denounced terrorist entities pursuing Iran’s agenda in Bahrain. British leaders have been quick to parrot these denunciations. Suddenly everybody wants to talk about Iranian interference.

The spotlight has fallen on a previously unknown figure, Murtaza Al-Sanadi, who fled to Iran in 2012. Al-Sanadi is the effective leader of the terrorist group Al-Ashtar Brigades, responsible for a string of killings of policemen in Bahrain. Al-Sanadi recruited hundreds of impressionable young men, many radicalized while on pilgrimage or religious study.

Along with training by the Revolutionary Guard in Iran, numerous militants traveled to Iraq for training with the Hezbollah Brigades, an Iranian proxy fighting as part of Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi that is complicit in war crimes, including sectarian cleansing and mass summary executions.

As dangerous as learning to build bombs is the poisoning of minds against Arab heritage and nationalism. Differences in religious belief between Shiites and Sunnis are tiny, yet these radicals are brainwashed into a culture of anti-Arab sectarian hatred.

Western misconceptions on this issue are rooted in the post-9/11 belief that terrorism is a Sunni phenomenon. But while Daesh tends to flaunt its violent acts, Iranian proxies in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere have been more discreet about the trail of blood they leave behind.

It has been relatively easy for Bahraini militants to join bus-loads of pilgrims visiting Iraq and obtain training from the Hezbollah Brigades. Some even temporarily signed up to Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi. An Ahrar Manama division of Bahraini fighters was reported earlier this year.

Pakistan’s leaders recently protested Iran’s policy of recruiting and radicalizing Pakistani and Afghan nationals for cannon-fodder in the Syria conflict. During the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, Iran used a similar tactic of battle-hardening Gulf militants on the frontlines, before sending them home to wage war.

A number of prominent Bahraini militants even lost their lives in this fighting. This militarization of Bahraini radicals culminated in a 1981 coup attempt by an Iranian proxy, the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain.

More than 35 years later, Iran’s strategy toward Bahrain and other Arab states has become more malign and expansive. As Quds Force Commander Qassim Soleimani reiterated and boasted in 2015: “We are witnessing the export of the Islamic Revolution throughout the region, from Bahrain and Iraq to Syria, Yemen and North Africa.”

The Hezbollah Brigades was also recently in the news as it sought to take receipt of half a billion dollars in ransom for 24 Qatari hostages it kidnapped in 2015 — the largest ransom in history. Although this money (for now) has been impounded on the orders of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, the dangers of handing over such a huge sum to terrorists and war criminals are only too obvious.

Given the Hezbollah Brigades’ support for Bahraini militants, this ransom money is in effect enabling terrorists to commit mass murder in a fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nation, not to mention encouraging hostage-takers to strike again against high-value regional targets.

Among the other catastrophic consequences of this hostage deal are Syrian population swaps. In 2016, it became widely known that Iranian proxies were lobbying hard for a deal that removed Sunnis from the towns of Madaya and Zabadani, between Damascus and the Lebanese border.

Demographic engineering and sectarian cleansing are war crimes. Parties enabling such measures should be conscious of their obligations and the consequences under international law.

Tehran’s motivations are clear: Controlling weapons convoys to Hezbollah and a contiguous territory reaching the Mediterranean. I speak to Syrians who exclaim that Iran is creating “a hundred Palestines.” Does anyone believe that Syrians will simply walk away from land that has been theirs for hundreds of years?

Al-Sanadi, using Iranian media outlets to incite “holy war,” is one of many Arabs who have sold out their nations. The US designation of him as a “global terrorist” is belated recognition that when Iranian leaders threaten that the US Fifth Fleet could be “raised to the ground,” they are not joking.

A Washington Post report cites the seizure in Bahrain of “armor-piercing projectiles capable of slicing through a tank,” C4 explosive “in quantities that could sink a battleship… that almost certainly originated in Iran.” Militants were building sophisticated explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), devices last seen being used by the Hezbollah Brigades against US troops in Iraq.

In American politics, we are accustomed to policy U-turns every four to eight years, or in Donald Trump’s case from one day to the next. This makes the West ill-equipped to grapple with an Iranian strategy for regional dominance with the patience and tenacity to remain consistent over many decades.

The West may no longer be in denial about Iran’s meddling, but we seem little closer to a coherent strategy for halting its regional stranglehold by dismantling proxy militias and terrorist cells wreaking havoc across the Arab world.

Source; arabnews.com/node/1092661/columns

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Turkey under the Scanner Again

By Yasar Yakis

30 April 2017

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted on April 25 a resolution entitled “The functioning of the democratic institutions in Turkey.” The resolution received 113 votes in favour and 45 against. Unlike the other members of Turkey’s delegation to PACE, two members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) voted in favour.

The resolution placed Turkey under observation, and said it deviated from democratic practices by violating human rights in security operations. This means Europe deems Turkey non-compliant with the Copenhagen political criteria, which is considered the main reference for good governance and human rights.

Turkey was put on the watch list in 1996 and stayed there for eight years. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) worked hard in 2004 to get Turkey off the list, and prided itself on doing so. It persuaded the Council of Europe by carrying out structural reforms in all areas of fundamental rights and freedoms. These reforms were also a precondition for starting Turkey’s accession negotiations to the EU.

Its performance was much appreciated by Gunther Verheugen, then-EU commissioner in charge of enlargement, who said in 2004: “The reforms achieved in Turkey in the last 18 months are more than the reforms achieved in the last 80 years.” The same country has now become the first in the history of the Council of Europe to be put back on the watch list.

PACE resolutions are regarded as a touchstone for high standards in governance. The EU, which is an entirely different body, follows closely the activities of the Council of Europe and abides by its norms.

Turkey, a founding member of the Council since 1949, now has the highest number of complaints against it in the European Court of Human Rights, the Council’s judiciary organ. Most of the complaints are about violations of human rights such as suspending, sacking, arresting and jailing public servants.

After the PACE resolution, eyes turned to the meeting of EU foreign ministers on April 28 in Malta. Some EU politicians, such as Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, were trying to promote the idea of suspending Turkey’s accession negotiations to the EU. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the EU not to end accession talks despite deep misgivings over Turkey’s human rights record, saying the country is key to European interests.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remained defiant, saying after the April 16 referendum on amending the constitution that Turkey may hold another referendum on whether to continue accession negotiations with the EU. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who participated in the Malta meeting, afterward said the EU has understood its mistake and is now trying to find ways to relaunch the accession talks.

The tone was slightly different in a statement by Frederica Mogherini, high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy: “Some clarifications are needed from Ankara. The accession process continues, it is not suspended, not ended (although) we are currently not working on any new chapters. The criteria are very clear, well known and if Turkey is interested in joining, as the foreign minister told us today, it knows very well what that implies, especially in the field of human rights, rule of law, democracy and freedoms.”

Mogherini’s statement means the EU preferred to put the ball in Turkey’s court by leaving the door ajar to become a member, but asked Ankara to provide clearer signals on whether it intends to meet the admission criteria, especially regarding human rights and the rule of law.

The interests of both Turkey and the EU require that wisdom prevail and politicians on both side avoid inflammatory rhetoric and use silent diplomacy to sort out their differences and reduce tension. If this is not done, Europe will be deprived of a strong ally in the Middle East and the Islamic world, but Turkey’s loss will likely be bigger because it will be further isolated internationally.

Source; .arabnews.com/node/1092686/columns

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With $300bn on the Table, Saudi Arabia Gets Ready For Sale Of The Century

By Frank Kane

1 May 2017

As bankers and business execs home in on Riyadh this week for the annual Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference, they have before them a glittering prize — $200 billion worth of privatization deals to be won and executed in one of the biggest state sell-offs in history.

You have to go back to the British privatization program of the 1980s, or the great sell-off of assets by the former Soviet states in the 1990s, to find a program of comparable magnitude and significance.

As if to whet the appetite of the financiers and advisers heading to the Saudi capital, Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, the minister for economy and planning, has offered a kind of menu of the delights in store for them.

The minister told Reuters that he had prepared a detailed series of studies of valuations and market demand for the great sell-off to come over the next few years, as part of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 and Vision 2030 strategy.

It amounts to a smorgasbord of corporate assets for their delectation: Health care, sports facilities, electricity generation, water provision and grain silos. Among the first of the assets on offer will be one of the country’s top medical institutions, the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSHRC) in Riyadh, the minister said.

And, of course, Saudi Aramco, which is on course for an initial public offering (IPO) next year, according to official statements.

It should be noted that the $200 billion tag Al-Tuwaijri put on the asset sale excludes the value of up to $100 billion hoped for from Aramco. With a total value of $300 billion, the privatization program will be worth nearly half of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Al-Tuwaijri stressed that the process is very well advanced. “This year, we have a crystal-clear idea of market demand size, valuation, financial advisers, the appetite locally and globally, cash flow certainty, government off-takes, structure. That is all done,” he told Reuters.

Spirit Of Entrepreneurship

If Saudi Arabia gets this right, it will transform the economy, business culture and society of the Kingdom in a profound way by putting large parts of its corporate structure in private hands, hopefully igniting a spirit of entrepreneurship for the young generation who are its future, and bridging the gaps in state finance that have been opened up by the fall in the oil price.

It would also go a long way toward achieving the goal of reducing dependency on the oil economy, which is the overriding goal of the Kingdom’s economic policy. 

So what could possibly go wrong? That will be the subject of much debate at the Euro money gathering, which is held under the theme: “2030: Delivering the Vision.” You should not underestimate the extent of the delivery challenge, which Al-Tuwaijri himself conceded to Reuters. It is comparatively easy to draw up grandiose strategies, especially with an army of expert consultants as the Kingdom has employed, but the execution and implementation are more difficult. With enterprises in 16 sectors earmarked for privatization by 2020, some deals would be difficult and complex, he warned.

But he said that Saudi Arabia would be flexible in choosing structures that potential buyers wanted, like IPOs, private placement of shares and private equity transactions. These are in addition to the full panoply of public-private-partnership transactions in which the state shares investment costs — as well as risks and potential profits — with the private sector.

The Euro money agenda has identified three challenges to achieving the great transformation: Sustained low oil prices; liquidity issues; and continued regional instability. Each is formidable.

The oil price will continue to be the key economic variable even as the Kingdom advances the diversification program. The US has emerged as the main threat to a recovery in oil prices, with its shale producers expanding at a rate that was not supposed to be possible at $50 a barrel.

Just last week, President Donald Trump announced he was freeing deep-sea exploration from regulatory shackles, in a clear sign that America is looking to further expand oil production in its own backyard. Neither of those is positive for the oil price, despite Saudi Arabia’s ongoing commitment to production limits.

Liquidity is also a serious issue. The Saudi stock market, Tadawul, had a market capitalization of about $400 billion in the first quarter of this year, so the privatization program will be a huge bite for it to swallow and digest. It is no surprise that the Kingdom’s policymakers are looking for help from foreign exchanges in the great sell-off.

Regional insecurity goes with the turf in the Middle East. President Trump’s comments last week that some countries in the region were not being “fair” to the US in military spending was bizarre and incongruous from an administration that has been broadly welcomed in the region as a bulwark against terrorism and Iranian expansion. There will always be a significant risk factor in regional markets and global investors will have to learn to live with that.

The financiers at Euro money will have all those reservations in mind, but their main focus will be the enormous opportunities available in Saudi Arabia’s sale of the century.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1092711/columns

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Israel-Palestine Peace Requires Fresh Strategies

By Linda S. Heard

1 May 2017

Enough international conferences. Enough pretending the US is an impartial broker. Every American-conceived initiative has failed primarily because they have all been angled in Israel’s favour, with no respect for UN resolutions.

Most have been little more than shows, with the possible exception of the joint efforts made by Nobel Peace Prize recipients Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, who signed up to the Oslo Accords in 1993. Unfortunately, their sincere intentions were scotched by the arrival of hard-liner Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush, who relegated Arafat to pariah status.

Palestinians are today worse off than ever before, without a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The Palestinian Authority (PA) played by the international community’s rules and received nothing in return.

Like all those before him, US President Donald Trump says he is set on sealing a peace deal. “There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he told Reuters. Can we believe he is genuine when he is mulling relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem?

The fact that he appointed his son-in-law Jared Kushner as intermediary and David Friedman as ambassador to Israel, when both men materially support Jewish settlements in the West Bank, hardly instils confidence. Moreover, his Ambassador to the UN Nicky Haley has railed at the body for what she claims is its anti-Israel bias. Just days ago, 100 Senators signed a letter calling on the UN to quit its supposedly unfair treatment of Israel.

Trump is right on one thing though. Peace is not rocket science. Some of the bloodiest wars and conflicts have been ended through dialogue. To quote former US Secretary of State James Baker: “You negotiate peace with your enemies, not with your friends.” With that in mind, perhaps it is time for Arab leaderships to become more proactive.

Nuclear-armed Israel, which basks under Washington’s military umbrella, is not going anywhere. Former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat realized that when he flew to Tel Aviv in November 1977 bearing an olive branch. That historic visit was frowned upon by not only the Palestinians but the entire Arab world. But if Arab leaders had participated in Camp David talks, it is more than possible that a flourishing Palestinian state would now be in existence.

That said, Saudi Arabia announced an Arab Peace Initiative at the 2002 Arab League Summit, offering Israel normalization of relations in return for its withdrawal to 1967 borders. The plan was endorsed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and all Arab League member countries.

Israel welcomed the initiative’s spirit but could not accept some of its conditions. If there had been face-to-face discussions between Arab heads of state and Israelis, those differences might have been ironed out. While I understand there are sensitivities involved due to decades of mutual enmity, if the goal is to rescue the Palestinian people from occupation, pragmatism, however bitter the pill, must take priority over emotion.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, then-US Secretary of State John Kerry presented a regional peace plan to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a secret summit in Aqaba last year. Netanyahu turned it down because he was unable to sell it to his ultra-right-wing coalition partners.

Yet in February, he said there was an unprecedented opportunity for peace because the region had changed. Reading between the lines, he meant Arabs and Israelis share the same enemy: Iran.

Arab leaders would do well to call his bluff. It would be interesting to see how he would respond to an offer of peace with the entire Arab world as a prelude to negotiations on a Palestinian state down the road. Arab and Israeli foreign ministers sitting around the same table in full view of cameras would be a good start.

A region in peace would deprive Netanyahu of pretexts based on security concerns. A PA that represents all Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza would pre-empt his excuse that Israel has no partner for peace. If Arab states openly reach out, at the very least Netanyahu would be hoisted on his own petard for all the world to see. At best, a new door would emerge to free Palestinians from decades of despair and indignity.

Source; arabnews.com/node/1092721/columns

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