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What happened in Cairo - Nasser Lahham
Published Saturday 31/07/2010 (updated) 02/08/2010 17:30
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Arab media has not paid enough attention, either deliberately or out of ignorance, to what could be described as a “tough political raid” in Cairo on Arab countries' attitude toward Israel over the past few days.

Palestinians have fought fierce battles against Arab countries to defend the independence of Palestinian decisions. In 1970, there was Black September in Jordan. In 1976, there was the Tel Az-Za’tar battle against the Syrian army in Lebanon, then the 1978 civil war in Lebanon and Maghdouche in 1983, among others. Despite all these battles to secure the independence of Palestinian political decisions, President Mahmoud Abbas decided to put the ball in the Arab countries’ court regarding the resumption of direct negotiations with Israel.

In fact, the Arab public -- including leftists, moderates and rightists -- knew that their leaders would never disappoint the US, and that they would ask Abbas to resume direct talks with Israel. However, the more optimistic among them expected a little hesitation before the leaders announced their decision, and were surprised that Qatar, Syria and other countries rushed to urge Abbas to agree to US demands so quickly.

Last Tuesday, Abbas attended a meeting in Cairo with a committee of foreign ministers from 13 Arab countries, authorized to follow up with the Arab Peace Initiative adopted in the Beirut Summit of 2002. Arab League chief Amr Mousa attended the meeting, which was dedicated to discussing the peace process and the ongoing indirect proximity talks.

The follow-up committee concluded their Cairo meetings with Abbas on Thursday, and agreed “in principle” that the president should resume direct talks with Israel, but with conditions. A message was sent to the US president following the meeting to notify him of the Arab countries’ position.

The decision was condemned by Palestinian factions who described it as “submission” to US pressures. Meanwhile, Israel welcomed the decision.

For its part, the Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, slammed the decision, calling it “submissiveness to a de facto imposed by Israel, and yielding to pressures exerted by US President Obama who is siding with Israel for the sake of internal US calculations related to the upcoming elections.”

The Islamic Jihad movement reiterated its rejections of a resumption of direct negotiations. Senior leader Khalid Al-Batsh said during a rally in Gaza, “We expected the leaders of the Arab world to take action to protect the besieged Palestinian people and support their just rights.”

He added, “Instead of punishing the enemy for its crimes and instead of boycotting Israel, we find that once again, the Arabs provided the extremist Israel government with the safety equipment.”

Muhammad Dahlan, who was once Fatah’s strongman in the Gaza Strip, currently commissioner for media, said his movement wanted guarantees before moving to direct negotiations.

Chief editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper Abdul-Bari Atwan entitled his editorial “Congratulations for resuming negotiations.” He wrote, “Even the Arab League chief Amr Mousa did not coin his words as usual to save the face of the Arab countries’ official system. The old equation is still in effect: Israel sets the demands, the US adopts them, and the Arab countries submissively execute them without any discussions.”

Nasser Lahham is the editor-in-chief of the Ma'an News Agency.
1 ) Nour / One-State
31/07/2010 17:07
Obama is but a facade of the elite system in the US. Any person who is betting on Obama to achieve anything positive in the Middle East is dreaming. That Palestinians should not or dare not upset him is a myth propagated by the Oslo gang. Obama is nothing but a colossal failure not only in his Middle Eastern policies (Iraq,A Afghanistan, etc.) but also on the domestic front. Nodding to Obama will prove to be another error on the part of Abbas the illegal puppet president.

2 ) Amira / world
31/07/2010 20:14
US has to be free from zionism before US government could take just decisions regarding Palestinian's rights.

Amercian if they have a quota of dignity and sense of justice can free their government by refusing to have their taxes being used for israel's crimes and by boycotting everything kosher.

3 ) Anna Morel / USA
31/07/2010 20:48
Personally I do believe that TALKS WILL - NOT - BRING PEACE!!

There is still too much "distance" between
the Arab minimum (in Jerusalem, borders, & refugees), and
the Israel maximum (in Jewish heritage sites), to bridge the "gap".

However, the "gap" will NOT get any smaller by NOT talking!
The "occupation" will NOT get any shorter or nicer by NOT talking!

Why do Arabs refuse to talk directly with Jews?
Seemingly, they neither gain nor lose anything!!
- Please explain!

4 ) southparkbear / usa
01/08/2010 05:06
nice and busy history, war against jordan, Baleztinians lost, against Syria, same outcome. Against lebanon lost again. Of course in between trying to take on israel with same results. Amazing history we are all proud of baleztinians lack of achievments

5 ) chil / usa
01/08/2010 17:37
the palestinians authority is talking about dismantling itself. hamas on the other hand isnt. who do u think the future belongs to. those who want to work with the occupation in order to get paid or those who are working to free palestine. war is not coming, war is already here. yes many will die and suffer but thats the price of freedom. when under occupation if u fight back then u have chosen to do so knowing death might happen. freedom is more important than life. freedom is god

6 ) southparkbear / usa
02/08/2010 19:01
lizten to me ya beoblez, ze jews yaani al yahuds, ze mossad agents were in charge of cairo meeting

7 ) Anna Morel / USA
03/08/2010 05:09
Chil (5),

I am PRETTY SURE that "the future belongs to" ISRAEL!!

- As you say the PA is "dismantling itself".

- Hamas is locked-up tight in Gaza, & if the

- West Bank behaves like Gaza their towns will be fenced like Gaza,
just as they were during the last "Intifada"!!!

- Settlements are expanding!

So, I am PRETTY SURE "the future belongs to" ISRAEL!!

8 ) betty / US
04/08/2010 21:00
Amira, I'm not sure if you understand how taxes are collected in the US. Employers put in the position of acting as the tax collector, and we have no power over how the money is spent by our government after collection. I agree with you on principle, I don't know how to implement it without total refusal to pay federal taxes.

9 ) Anna Morel / USA
05/08/2010 21:44
Betty, Amira, et.al.,

We are all subject to the laws of the land where we live:

- If Betty earns without paying taxes, a jail cell awaits her.

- If "Pals" built in Area "C" without permits, a bulldozer awaits them!

- If Arabs attack Israel, international law allows blockades & retaliations!!

10 ) southparkbear / usa
06/08/2010 18:18
the important line in this piece of cr-p is that baleztinian beoblez as the writer do not want peace. they want everything and then some. we in the usa and in israel can simply tell them the same think baleztinians were told in jordan, lebanon, egypt, syria, kuwait and iraq. we can tell them go to hell, now

11 ) Wissam / Palestine
06/08/2010 18:20
#9 Hi Ben, I would strongly advise you not to venture into any area of Palestine (that is, if you had the "balls" to do it, or were sincere enough to actually act upon your Judea/Shomron Zio-fantasies). It's said Hamas will soon start imprisoning your wandering lot and personally I can't wait.

12 ) Anna Morel / USA
08/08/2010 15:44

I am sure that Ben knows what to expect from Hamas!

The same Dan Pearl should have expected from the Taliban

13 ) southparkbear / usa
09/08/2010 17:31
Ha twisted mentality? if you are so good why are you crying baby?
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