Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Editorial: Why Kuwait summit is vital

Posted by valentinabalzati su 20 gennaio, 2009

Arab News

WITH Gaza still smoldering, bodies still being pulled out of the rubble, Israeli troops still there and the cease-fire far from certain, many in the Arab world and beyond can be forgiven if they have initial difficulties understanding why Arab leaders are meeting at present in Kuwait to discuss economic issues and wonder whether this is the moment to discuss plans for an Arab free-trade area by 2015 and an Arab common market by 2020.

They miss the point. Quite apart from the fact that the situation has changed from just a couple of days ago as a result of the cease-fire and that Gaza and reconstruction there in fact dominate the summit, the carnage in fact makes the economic agenda all the more crucial. There is a very real connection between what has been one of the most murderous onslaughts against Palestinians since the creation of Israel 61 years ago and working on an Arab common market and joint policies on issues such as investment and combating unemployment across the Arab world.

For years, as Palestinians suffered wave after wave of Israeli repression and violence, the great cry from Arabs on the street from Morocco to Iraq has been for Arab unity. Ordinary people have instinctively understood that unity is the only way the Arabs are ever going to be able to stand up to Israel and to the attempts by others to impose their “solutions” on the region. Unity does not mean a single Arab state. Look at Europe: Germany is still Germany, France still France, but the EU is a powerful force that the world respects and listens to. There is no reason the Arabs cannot have the same, every reason they should.

The lack of Arab unity goes to the heart of the Arab predicament. It goes to the heart of Arab political failure for 60 years. Arab disunity is the greatest weapon the Israelis possess. If Arabs continue to speak with 22 separate voices, the Israelis will remain unbowed for another 60 years.

Gaza has exposed the overriding need for Arab unity. Only through unity can we withstand foreign interference and attempts to keep us on our knees. Only through unity can we be masters of our own destiny.

Unity is what this summit is all about. But an Arab equivalent of the EU cannot happen overnight. It has to be built the right way if it is to work — and a customs union, a single currency and joint economic policies are the necessary building blocks.

Arab countries have lost $2.5 trillion in the global economic crisis. On top of that, despite being the crucible of the world’s energy resources, the Arab world receives just 4.6 percent of global foreign investment, has some 20 million unemployed (the worst record of any region in the world); over a third of all Arabs aged 15 plus are illiterate. These are dire issues that have to be addressed.

The agenda may have been decided before the devastation in Gaza, but what happened there makes it all the more imperative.

An emotional rage at our enemies, real and perceived, is not going to help the Palestinians. What is needed is bold new thinking, a new order so that there can never be another Gaza again, so that there is an Arab voice that the world respects. The Kuwait summit may just achieve that.

Brutal lessons of Gaza offensive

IF US, NATO, Egypt, Britain and France take on the role of preventing Hamas from re-arming with rockets, they must also ensure that Israel lifts its siege of Gaza, said The Guardian in an editorial yesterday. Excerpts:

Struggling to contain his delight, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert claimed victory on Saturday. If the Israeli leader considered himself absolved for the sins of the ill-prepared invasion of Lebanon, Gaza has paid a grotesque price for Olmert’s salvation. More than 5,400 Palestinians have been injured, sometimes by weapons designed to maim and terrorize.

But what lesson has Hamas been taught? Has the bloodshed re-established the deterrence that Israel lost in Lebanon two and half years ago? Has it dramatically increased the penalty that Hamas and other militant groups incur for continuing to fire rockets at the civilian population in southern Israel?

Israel makes great claims for the military blow Hamas has suffered, but as yet has produced little concrete evidence. Hamas’ arsenal of rockets may be depleted but still exists, as does its ability to fire them. Hamas’ structure survives and it continues to hold the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captive.

Hamas can claim it has withstood Israel’s fury and emerged intact. The core of this conflict, the blockade of Gaza, remains unchanged. Nor is there any evidence that Gazans will turn on Hamas for bringing the wrath of Israel down on their heads. If anything, Hamas’ status as the head of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation has risen, not least in the minds of the relatives of those 1,234 Palestinian dead. Not much sign, in other words, that anyone had learned anything. But Barack Obama, who becomes US president this week surely must have.

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7&section=0&article=118342&d=20&m=1&y=2009

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