Op-ed review: Jerusalem, the Palestinian cause, and the Arab world

Amira El-Fekki
4 Min Read
A Palestinian stone thrower watches the situation during clashes in the East Jerusalem neighborhoodof Ras al-Amud, on February 28, 2014 (AFP/File, Ahmad Gharabli)

Most of Sunday’s newspaper headlines focused on Palestinian protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of occupying Israel. The role of Arab countries’ has also been a subject of criticism for lack of effectiveness. Opinions also included the idea that there should be more than just loud voices of condemnation.

Al-Shorouk private newspaper’s Editor-in-chief Emad El-Din Hussein focused on the core issue, which in his opinion, is not Trump’s decision, but the occupation itself. “What does it mean to be accustomed to such behaviour? Simply, we have forgotten the origins of the problem, or are trying to forget it, or just hanging on to secondary topics,” Hussein wrote, as he argued that Arab and Palestinian division serves the occupation well.

“Thank you Trump,” was the title of Al-Shorouk’s Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafiz’s column, as he wrote that the decision revived the Palestinian cause, especially bringing it to the attention of younger generations, whose awareness of the case was undermined by “absurd battles”. He also “thanked” Trump for “embarrassing” his allies who would now have to choose between continuing to support him or take into consideration public opinion hostile to “the Zionist entity”, resulting from the decision.

In the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm, politician Amr Al-Shobaky also picked up the topic of “Arab failure”, the result of which was Trump’s decision. “Unfortunately, we will not be able to stand in the face of the decision, because Saudi Arabia and most Gulf countries consider Iran more dangerous than Israel and seek Trump’s support to oppose Iran, while Egypt believes terrorism in Sinai is more threatening to its security than Israel,” he wrote.

Karam Gabr, head of the National Press Council, wrote about the role of Arab press in the cause in his piece for Al-Youm Al-Sabea, saying that he proposed to the Federation of Arab Journalists the establishment of a media monitor tasked with keeping coverage of Israeli violations alive.

Writer Khaled Montasser provided the example of the Pharmacists Syndicate’s reaction to the American decision as an example of an unhelpful “loud voice”. The syndicate’s leader said it planned to boycott American medical products, which the writer described as a “stupid” move because it will not affect the US, but the Egyptian people will suffer.

But, Head of the Supreme Media Council Makram Mohamed Ahmed opinied, in the state-owned daily Al-Ahram, that Trump’s declaration will not pass without violent reactions despite, US bets that it was the right time to do so given the weakness of Arab states caught in internal struggles. “Terrorism has been fuelled by the decision,” Ahmed wrote.

In the same context, Al-Ahram’s Morsi Attallah wrote that Trump’s declaration, “worse than that of James Balfour”, has ended the period of hope and sparked anger, bringing the conflict back to point zero when it comes to the so-called peace process.

As for journalist Ahmed Abdel Tawab, his column in Al-Ahram stated that the recognition of Jerusalem was the strongest declaration before the world of the death of the peace process, and an announcement of an American-Israeli alliance in the face of anyone. As such, Abdel Tawab argued that maybe it is time for the Palestinian Authority to resign in order to allow a new Palestinian approach to the problem.

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Journalist in DNE's politics section, focusing on human rights, laws and legislations, press freedom, among other local political issues.