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01:26 | 08/25/18

Voices from the Arab press: An Israeli campaign to discredit Corbyn

CHILDREN WAIT for meals provided through the initiative Family Kitchen, in the Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp near Amman, Jordan, on June 11 (photo credit: REUTERS) CHILDREN WAIT for meals provided through the initiative Family Kitchen, in the Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp near Amman, Jordan, on June 11 (photo credit: REUTERS)
A weekly selection of opinions and analyses from the Arab media around the world.
AN ISRAELI CAMPAIGN TO DISCREDIT CORBYN
Al-Ayyam, Ramallah, August 16

The sheer number of statements made in recent weeks by Israeli officials against Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party, indicates that the occupation government has decided to launch a fullscale attack against the British politician. Individuals spanning the entire political spectrum in Israel, including so-called liberal forces, have accused Corbyn of antisemitism, describing him as an “enemy of the entire Jewish people.”

The accusations against Corbyn have been identical throughout the entire world, whether they came from Israeli officials, Jewish leaders in the UK, or rabbis throughout Europe. Their repetitiveness suggests that this smear campaign is far from a spontaneous wave of anger over Corbyn’s policies. Rather, it is a well-orchestrated campaign that is prepared and maintained by the occupation government, under the guidance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an effort to challenge Corbyn’s growing popularity and Britain.

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Yet Corbyn is not going anywhere. He and his party have been enjoying widespread support among the British public, especially in light of Prime Minister Theresa May’s problematic policies both at home and abroad.

Corbyn himself has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause for nearly four decades. He demonstrated his utmost commitment to freedom and justice when he voted time and again against his very own party and in favor of Palestine. He personally worked to ban Britain’s weapons sales to Israel, he promoted the boycott of Israeli products, and he conducted multiple visits to Gaza and the Palestinian territories.

In the wake of these recent accusations against him, Corbyn even published an op-ed in the Guardian, in which he vowed to uproot all antisemitic remnants from Labour. He also confronted the Israeli prime minister, who had accused him of hypocrisy, and claimed that the real hypocrisy is Israel’s killing of dozens of innocent Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border, while claiming to be the only humanrights- protecting democracy in the Middle East.



Corbyn is a true champion of Palestinian rights and a dear friend of the Palestinian people. Perhaps more importantly, he is not alone: More and more European legislators today stand by the people of Palestine in their struggle against the occupation. Unfortunately, we Palestinians have failed to cultivate these relations or establish meaningful connections with our allies around the world. It is up to us to build bridges with our advocates and promote our cause, before the Israeli occupation manages to discredit them and cast doubt on their legitimacy.



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THE BLOOD IS ON PUTIN’S HANDS
Al-Arab, London, August 16

Russian President Vladimir Putin will go down in history as one of the most reprehensible murderers our world has ever known, joining a list of disgraceful figures such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. While Assad has been killing his own people, it is Putin who has been giving the orders and orchestrating the brutal Syrian genocide.

Putin’s doctrine has trickled deep down into the ranks of the Syrian government and military. Take, for example, Jamil al-Hassan, the Syrian head of Air Force Intelligence, who just last week claimed that it would be better to have a Syria with 10 million loyal citizens than a Syria with 30 million dissidents.

Without thinking twice, he suggested that Syria would be better off killing 20 million of its citizens.

He also warned that any opposition forces returning to Syria would be immediately incarcerated.

The Syrian general surely knows what he is talking about. In the past year, close to 10,000 Syrians have been slaughtered in Assad’s jails, while thousands of others have been tortured. A handful of survivors who managed to escape these prisons recently revealed horrifying details about the way in which Syrian dissidents have been treated by Assad’s forces, sharing grueling stories about prisoners who had their limbs, ears and eyes harvested. All of these practices have been taken directly from the Russian playbook.

Therefore, any attempt to normalize Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime would be a betrayal of the Syrian people. Any inclination to forgive Assad for his ruthless crimes would dishonor the millions of innocent Syrians who have been killed at the hands of his appalling regime. Most importantly, anyone looking to Putin and Russia to solve the Syrian crisis – providing them with international legitimacy – dishonors the people of Syria.

These unspeakable abuses of human rights have been committed not merely by Assad but also by those who were supportive of his regime. Assad has no better friend than Putin. – Jibril Awda HAS THE RESISTANCE COMPLETELY DIED? Al Jazeera, Qatar, August 15 It is sad to admit that today, over 60 years since it was first launched, the Palestinian resistance movement has officially died.

Recent reports published in the Israeli media revealed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conducted a secret visit to Egypt last month, where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip. The two leaders considered a package of sticks and carrots – that is, financial incentives and sanctions – that would compel Hamas to lay down its weapons and accept a long-term truce with Israel.

Sisi was fully on board with Netanyahu’s plan for Gaza. Instead of standing by the people of Palestine against their brutal occupation, he has fully aligned himself with Netanyahu’s stance on Hamas. Egypt has moved from being an honest broker between the two sides to a firm supporter of Israeli interests and an unwavering adversary of Hamas.

Yet Egypt isn’t the only culprit in this situation.

Hamas, too, seems to have forgone its once noble goal of liberating Palestine from the Israeli occupation.

A look at the travel history of leading Hamas officers, including the head of its political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, reveals that leaders of the Gaza-based organization met with their Egyptian counterparts before and after the Netanyahu-Sisi summit. There is therefore no reason to believe that Hamas wasn’t directly involved in the negotiations with Israeli officials, perhaps even directly. Instead of delivering its promise to liberate Palestine, Hamas seems to have accepted Israel’s legitimate authority over the Palestinian people.

It is interesting to note that this normalization of ties between Israel and Hamas is reminiscent of the normalization of ties between Israel and the PLO during the 1980s. Today, Hamas has succumbed to the same illusion of abandoning the resistance in return for economic development. The Israelis have managed to dupe the Palestinians into believing this fantasy in the past, and they seemed to have done so again now, with Hamas.

Wael Qandil

UNRWA THROUGH JORDANIAN EYES
Al-Khaleej, UAE, August 14

As if the crisis over the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital wasn’t enough, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is now facing yet another predicament generated by the Trump administration: the attempt to strip millions of Palestinians of their refugee status.

White House officials have made clear their intention to cut funding for the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and eventually bring an end to the organization’s existence. This would pose serious political and financial repercussions for Jordan, where over 125,000 students attend UNRWA schools, while 10,000 others are employed by them.

The American funding constitutes roughly half of UNRWA’s budget, and is thus crucial for the organization to survive.

Aware of this risk, the Jordanian government was quick to convene an international donor conference in Rome last March, where it raised over $100 million in aid pledges to UNRWA from various governments.

The fear in Amman is that the collapse of UNRWA would pose excessive pressure on an already faltering Jordanian economy, forcing the government to take out excessive loans in support of its Palestinian population. According to Jordan’s perspective, this is nothing short of a threat to the kingdom’s national security.

The Palestinian refugee problem, together with the issue of Jerusalem and final border arrangements, are all political matters that must be negotiated and determined by the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves.

Any attempt to change the status quo on the ground through an American intervention, especially one designed to eliminate these issues from the table, is dangerous to Jordan’s political stability.

Unfortunately, it seems as if King Abdullah of Jordan is alone in this battle. Other Arab nations have barely agreed to ramp up their support for UNRWA, let alone confront Washington on this issue. In the wake of such a faint Arab coalition to support Palestine, it seems more and more likely that Trump’s dreadful “deal of the century” might actually come into fruition with minimal, if any, Arab pushback.

Muhammad Abu Riman



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