About The Latest French Stance

Archive: Al-Hayat , 2003/12/28

There is no doubt that any progressive Arab should bless the French president in his attempt to protect France's secularism.

The Arab League Between Internet And Grammar

Archive: Al-Hayat  1/02/2004

The Internet revolution might be a double-edged sword. In fact, Internet might be the ultimate source of knowledge that links the four corners of the planet by the means of a computer. However, Internet might also be a tool to spread ignorance and vulgar taste.

Salman Masalha ||

The Arab League Between Internet And Grammar

Many are the articles written in the Arab media about the information revolution and the importance of keeping pace with it to cope with the progress. In order to reach this target, Arab societies need institutions, ministries and governments that seek the achievement of this objective and allocate the necessary budgets to realize it.

The Internet revolution might be a double-edged sword. In fact, Internet might be the ultimate source of knowledge that links the four corners of the planet by the means of a computer. However, Internet might also be a tool to spread ignorance and vulgar taste. Hence, in front of the huge amount of information, one should be armed with the adequate tools to enter this world in a right way. In addition, anyone who wants to own a site should offer surfers information they might need.

I want to discuss here one of the Arab sites that was not supposed to be the way it is; it's the Arab League site. What does it offer to its Arab or foreign surfer; all the more it displays the information in English in addition to the Arabic language?

The site contains many pages as if the designers wanted to facilitate the surfer's mission to enter it.

The site contains a page entitled Arab issues. It displays the issue of the weapons of mass destruction and then the statement of the League ever since 1989, 1991 Damascus' meeting and the 1991 resolution to welcome Kuwaiti sovereignty. What does that mean? It means that over a decade of time was omitted. A second page is entitled the Arab Solidarity. It encompasses the solidarity statement with Sudan, the Republic of Comores and Somalia. This is all about the Arab solidarity in the Arab League site. Another page is entitled 'Other Issues.' It displays information about the occupation of Iran of the UAE islands, the water issue, the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, the Sino-Arab relation and the Arab-African cooperation. In order to show that the Arab League does not give up decisive Arab issues, the site displays a page about Jerusalem.

The site contains another page entitled the Arab civilization. Aren't we pretending we are a civilized nation? However, the page contains some Arabic antique words in addition to news about Amro Moussa.

This is the Arab civilization according to the Arab League. As for the page about Arab Youth and Society, it is empty. Yes, empty!

This is all what the Arab League site is about. It is better you check. The question is: where are the millions of dollars spent in the Arab League? Isn't it better to spend these huge amounts of money on schools and real needs? This institution is a useless one that could be easily cancelled with no repercussions.
Published: Al-Hayat, 2004/02/1

For Arabic, press here

The dwarfs of Oslo

The Oslo Accords were merely a trick, a deception. The Israelis sought to maintain the occupation, while the Palestinians sought to regain legitimacy.
Salman Masalha || The dwarfs of Oslo

In 1993, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two African leaders: Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk. The award went to them for bringing to an end the apartheid regime in South Africa by peaceful means. These two leaders were certainly deserving of the prestigious prize. A year later, in 1994, apparently because of the inertia in the committee in charge of the “peace” department, the prize was awarded to three leaders from the Middle East: Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat, on account of the accords between them, named after the Norwegian capital of Oslo.

The fundamentalist right in Israel has coined the phrase “the criminals of Oslo” and attached that name to the Israeli leaders who supposedly tried to promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Benjamin Netanyahu, the orator, was also there when the campaign of incitement against the “Oslo criminals” was taking place. I was reminded of those “criminals” this week because I happened to have been at the Grand Hotel in the heart of Oslo, and I learned that the Nobel Peace Prize laureates stay there when they come for the award ceremony.

It is worth recalling that the Oslo Accords that were signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Israeli government were not the result of a true and earnest desire on the part of the leaders for peace. The two leaderships of the two conflicted nations sought, each in its own way, a means of escape from the imbroglio in which they found themselves following several decades of mutual lack of recognition. The Oslo Accords were merely a trick, a deception. The Israeli government was looking for a way to continue the occupation, and thought that calming down the area, which had flared up during the first intifada, would help. The Palestinian leadership was seeking a way to regain legitimacy after the political defeat it suffered when Arafat embraced Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

Netanyahu, who took every opportunity to publicly speak out against the “Oslo criminals,” has become prime minister for the second time. As a student of Yitzhak Shamir, Netanyahu continues to earn his living from doing nothing. A short while ago, he even repeated the mantra of his teacher and guru about “the same sea and the same Arabs.” But it turns out the situation is actually the opposite of the one he spoke about: The sea is the same sea, the Israeli government is the same government, and what was then is what is now.

Nobel laureate Shimon Peres, who was responsible for preparing the ground for the settlements in the 1970s, is now, many years later, continuing to hand out kashrut certificates for all the evils of the Israeli right. From time to time, he serves as the glowing showcase for the Israeli government, with its plethora of members that at no time ever intended to promote any kind of peace process.

The Oslo saga has not ended. A few years ago, when Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, before he had done anything whatsoever toward the objective of the prize, the members of the committee hastened to grant him the Nobel Peace Prize. Among the reasons cited for the honor was the objective of strengthening the cooperation between the nations. But now, four years later and in retrospect, the prize that was awarded to Obama can also be seen as ridiculous.

If the committee continues in this fashion, if there are more peace prize laureates of this kind, we shall be lost. Compared with Mandela, the prize winners from the Middle East look like dwarfs. That being the case, the time has come to speak about the real Oslo criminals. These are in fact the members of the selection committee for the prize, who make a mockery of the dream of peace and trample uncaringly on the principles of the prize when they award it to those people that have not done a thing to earn it.
Published: Opininons-Haaretz, September 10, 2012

For Hebrew, press here