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1. Iran-Saudi Relations
Roznama Siasat (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 16 June 2010, Wednesday
Israel has the support of the Western governments and Western media in its expansionist efforts in the Middle East, especially in the Islamic world. Israel’s unholy military ambitions came to the fore when it propagated that Saudi Arabia has allowed it to use its airspace for attack on Iran. This news was a shock for the Islamic world, but Israel’s plans were thwarted when Saudi Arabia strongly denied the report. In fact, Israel got a boost after UNSC sanctions on Iran. The Western countries have obliged Israel by imposing sanctions on Iran through United Nations, but that should not be a prelude for Israel to create an atmosphere of hatred and sabotage the Islamic world. Israel propagated the news of Saudi Arabia’s approval for use of its airspace for attack on Iran as a conspiracy but it was thwarted by Saudi Arabia’ strong denial. The Iranian President clearly stated that it is an Israeli conspiracy, which along with the US support wants to sabotage the strong relations between Muslim countries. It is true that America and the Jewish state are staunch enemies of the Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. Ahmadinejad has given some strong statements in respect to Saudi-Iran relations, which is unacceptable for Israel and that is why it is trying to spread this conspiracy. Saudi Ambassador to Iran (sic), Prince Muhammad bin Nayaf, also supported the statements by Iranian President. Anguished with Iranian defence capabilities, Israel also considers four places in Iran, having uranium enrichment plants, as a danger to it and is looking for an excuse to attack these plants. In its efforts to execute its plan it tried to involve Saudi Arabia, which shows that it wants to create discord between Muslim countries, as Saudi Arabia has a strong position among Islamic countries. Iran has also tried to strengthen and enhance its relations with Saudi Arabia. The meeting between Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Saudi Arabia’s new ambassador, Muhammad bin Abbas al-Kalbi, showed that Iran and Saudi Arabia are trying to improve their bilateral relations. Saudi Arabia is trying to improve its bilateral relations with Islamic countries as well as other countries since King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz took full control of the government. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has effectively fulfilled his duties as head of the state for the past five years at regional and international level. King Abdullah, after taking over the throne in 2005, has taken Saudi Arabia to a new level of stability, prosperity and development. He has succeeded in his efforts towards improving relations with the neighbouring countries. King Abdullah has been able to provide all round development to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s progress in fields like education, health, communication, industry, power, water and agriculture has created a new power among Arab and Muslim countries. That is the reason why enemy countries want to destabilise Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia. The work to utilise natural resources available in Saudi Arabia was started 70 years back and now it is one of the richest areas in the world. This progress got a boost during King Abdullah’s reign. His efforts for enhancing inter-religious dialogue were appreciated by all. The 2008 Madrid Inter-Religious Conference gave importance to his ideas. The growing strength of Arabs has become an eyesore for the West. This may be another conspiracy to destabilise the Muslim countries, but the strong rebuke by Saudi Arabia and Iran was a marvellous display of unity among them. The statement by Iranian President Ahmadinejad against Israel’s plan and enhancing relations with Saudi Arabia would be helpful in dealing with Zionist conspiracies in the Islamic world.
2. Israeli Aggression on Ascend
Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (The National Sahara Daily), New Delhi
Editorial, 23 June 2010, Wednesday
There is no sign of decline in Israel’s aggressive and vocal behaviour, even after facing international criticism and condemnation for its attack on the aid flotilla. The demolition of 20 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and denial of entry into Gaza to the German Minister are proof of such behaviour.
Israel is, in fact, facing international criticism since it attacked the aid flotilla. Though it has the blind support of the US, even after this incident, it is still feeling the heat due to international pressure. The decision to demolish 20 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is, in fact, a sign of the worry that has crazed Israel. Israel has already announced its construction plan for East Jerusalem. Palestinians termed this as expansion of settlements and, no doubt, this decision to demolish Palestinian homes and creation of Jewish settlement is like repopulating the area. There is no talk of even taking approval for this demolition plan. Israel claims that these buildings are illegal, but it has not clarified the basis for this claim. But one thing is clear that Israel has opted for a new aggressive policy since its attack on the aid flotilla and now it is employing new ways to create problems for Palestinians.
The second incident that proves its increasing aggressive behaviour is the denial of entry into Gaza to a Minister from Germany. Even though Israel has indicated the loosening of its blockade of Gaza under international pressure and has said that the prohibition on civilian material will be lifted, but the fact of the matter is that the blockade of Gaza and stopping foreign envoy’s entry into Gaza has not stopped. It is important to mention here that Gaza is under Israeli blockade since 2005 and the only reason for that is that Hamas has immense influence in this area, which is an eyesore for Israel. So, Israel has blockaded Gaza since Hamas came to power, which has created huge shortage of food and necessary goods in the region. The aid flotilla that was attacked by Israeli military was also carrying necessary goods of daily use to Gaza. However, Hamas has termed the Israeli announcement of loosening the blockade as ‘deception’ and ‘meaningless’, which Israel proved by not allowing the German Minister to go to Gaza. The interesting point is that the US has praised Israel for its announcement of loosening the blockade, but did not utter anything on its denying of the entry of the German Minister into the Gaza Strip.
Israel did not explain the reason for not allowing the German Minister’s entry. The important point is that Minister, Derek Nibble, was going to Gaza for meeting representatives of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees). The question is why he was stopped from visiting Gaza? If Israel is really planning to loosen the Gaza blockade then why does it have problems with foreign envoy’s or high ranking officials’ entry into Gaza? It is very clear that such visits are based on humanitarian grounds and aim to investigate the real situation in Gaza. But if Israel is still not allowing such visits then it shows that it is hardly sincere about the announcement to loosen Gaza blockade. The Palestinians are still facing Israeli tyranny and the international community has failed to bring change in the Israeli behaviour even after such pressure.
If the situation after attack on ‘Freedom Flotilla’ is analysed, it becomes extremely clear that the kind of change which Israel has shown in its statements has not been backed by action. The Israeli aggression is continuously ascending, the condition of the oppressed Palestinians has not changed and the criminal American support to Israel is continuing as well.
Dawat Online (Invitation), New Delhi
Editorial, 25 June 2010, Friday
Freedom of expression is said to be a basic right and it is the West that advocates it the most. It means that a person is free to express his opinion on any incident or matter, and nothing shall prevent him from it. The Western philosophy gives it a major role, but is it a conditional right or an absolute one? Are there any limitations or discipline attached to it? If one talks on the basis of principles then it becomes clear that, according to the Western philosophy, it is a conditional right and not absolute. There are some disciplines attached to it which shall be taken care of. For example, if a certain expression of opinion may hurt someone, may cause character assassination of somebody, may cause financial loss or there are chances of financial loss, which may be manipulative for others, such freedom of expression cannot be allowed. Criticism is fine, pointing out any weakness is also allowed and any disagreement is also fine. But all this has some disciplines, everybody shall keep these disciplines and boundaries in mind and if someone is found disrespecting them, they shall be caught and nudged for such behaviour. These are all devised and available in writing and have been applied as well, but when it comes to its application, then the double standards come to the fore. The measurement gets changed and the measurement for ‘give and take’ differs. The condition, however, is getting worse and the behaviour is becoming stubborn and shameless. The attitude of the West is very much proof of its double standards. Earlier, there was some consideration for these things, but gradually they are becoming completely shameless. On the one hand, people are taught to be moral while, on the other hand, others are praised for refuting such actions.
The recent example of this is of the 90 years old American women, Helen Thomas, who in response to a Rabbi’s question on current situation in Palestine said that the Jews should leave Palestine as it is an occupied land. It is world known how Jews from all over the world were transported here after establishment of Israel. They were brought here from Poland, Russia, Germany and other European countries and were settled on the Palestinian lands in an organised manner, while the Palestinian residents were left homeless. Currently hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are living as refugees in various parts of the world. This is a historical fact and cannot be denied, even by Jews themselves. It has been sixty years but what is wrong if someone states this fact. How is it a crime? But when Helen Thomas said this, the whole Jewish community stood against her. They got angry and she was made a ‘hated lady’ all over the Jewish world. The attitude was, as if she will be swallowed. But this was not enough. She was thrown out of the White House. This was made to be such a serious crime that even President Obama had to criticise her. It means that those who were affected by this statement were not satisfied with action against her, and there were doubt that they were satisfied by Obama’s statement. Similar news came from Britain when a senior diplomat had to face punishment for expression of opinion. Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, British special envoy to Afghanistan was removed. The reason was that he expressed his opinion against the NATO and the US authorities. He was not allowed to enjoy his freedom of expression. Both these incidents are related to Muslim world, but both affected persons belonged to the West. Perhaps this is the reason they were left without much punishment, else the individuals as well as their country and community would have been made to pay for the crime.
Roznama Urdu Times (The Urdu Times Daily), Mumbai
Open-Ed Article, 27 June 2010, Sunday
The world political map was completely reorganised in the aftermath of the World War II. This was the time when the British rule in India came to an end. This was also the time when the Middle East saw the establishment of Israel, in 1948, by forcible occupation of the Palestinian lands, as a result of the execution of Jews by the German dictator, Hitler. It was propagated that Hitler is killing Jews and Jews are coming to Palestine to save their lives. But the unnatural way in which the Palestinian land was occupied and the Zionist government was established does not indicate any dispute between Jews and Christians, rather a collusion between them to occupy the Muslim Palestinian territory. The aim was to weaken the Muslims and achieve economic and political targets in the region. The situation now is that the governments and media in the West do not even call it Palestine rather they use names like the West Bank and Gaza. The Arab monarchies are watching all these things silently.
The efforts to make Israel an economic and military power house have been continuing for the last sixty years. The Israeli military might was exposed with its defeat at the hands of Hezbollah and Hamas in 2006 and 2008, respectively. The economic condition of Israel can be understood from the fact that almost 800,000 Jews, who immigrated to Israel from Germany and other European countries after establishment of Israel and from Soviet Union after its disintegration, have emigrated to their respective countries. The reasons are unemployment, inflation and violence in Israel. Recently it was reported by the AFP that as many as 2,300 Jews took German citizenship in 2006, while 2,000 Jews returned to Germany in 2008. They all acquired German citizenship and dropped their Israeli citizenship. Currently, a big worry for the Israeli authorities is the emigration of its citizens. As per the reports of the Israeli embassy in Germany, as many as 13,000 Jews are residing in the capital Berlin itself. A majority among them are those whose forefathers were executed or expelled from Germany by Hitler. A new German law makes it possible for these people to return and take German citizenship. Shirin Rosin, an Israeli who emigrated to Berlin, said that the number of Israeli immigrants to Berlin is continuously growing. She said that the flights from Tel Aviv to Berlin are always busy, because Berlin is a cosmopolitan city and is comparatively cheaper as well.
According to reports, the Israeli younger generation does not care much for the Holocaust. They have just read it in schools and it does not mean much for them. A new website has been dedicated in Germany for facilitating the return of the Israeli Jews. The founder of this website, Evi Efroni Levy, said that ‘one cannot always focus on violence because it is pessimistic, I have to do lots of thing in life, and I have to achieve something. We have old wounds but it should be left behind.’ The Israeli population was 672,000 in 1948, which doubled within a span of two years due to migration from European and Arab countries on the basis of religion and the Holocaust. From 1951 to 1990, a large number of Jews immigrated to Israel, but the number declined to 9,505 in 1985. Almost one million Jews immigrated to Israel after Soviet disintegration in 1990 till 2000. Nearly 86per cent of them were from the erstwhile Soviet states. As per the reports, a large population of these migrants have left Israel. As of now, the population of Israel is about 7.5 million among 28per cent are of non-Jews.
The Muslim population was just nine per cent in Israel in 1950. But now they constitute more than 20per cent. The Washington Post published an investigative report in April 2004 titled ‘Immigration from Israel more than migration to Israel.’ This report said that nearly 800,000 Jews immigrated to Israel after Soviet disintegration but they are returning due to unemployment, bad economic conditions and dangerous security conditions. According to this report, in 2003 the number of Jewish migrants to Israel was lowest in the last 15 years. Enton Nosek, an Israeli immigrant to Moscow, said that ‘I don’t think one would like to leave a good settled life anywhere to live an unemployed life in Israel’. This report also said that most of the Jewish migrants from erstwhile Soviet states preferred Germany over Israel during 2002-03. Census reports tell that from 1989 to 2003, 75,000 Jews emigrated to their previous countries from Israel. A large number also emigrated to the US; 100,000 in New York, 50,000 in Los Angeles and a sizable number in Boston and Chicago have emigrated from Israel in recent years. Montreal, Toronto, Caracas and Reo de Janeiro also saw large numbers of Israeli immigrants. According to Mike Rosenberg, the director of Israeli agency for registration of migrants, at the time of establishment of Israel, Jews from all over the world came to Israel to save their lives, but the situation has changed now and any Jew coming to Israel also has another choice.
The Time magazine, in a report titled ‘Israel: Return of Worried Refugees’ published in 1976, wrote that former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said, while addressing the annual council of Zionist Labour Union, that two million of Jews should immigrate to Israel in next two years and that the Arabs only understand this language. The Time magazine is also owned by The Washington Post group that also has support of fundamentalist Jews in the US According to the report the Israeli authorities are worried due to Jewish emigration from Israel. Most of the immigrants do no declare it at the time of leaving Israel, because of observation by intelligence agencies. But the statistics show that 40 per cent of Jews who immigrated to Israel during 1989 to 2003 returned to their respective countries. The number of migrants to Israel in 2003 was 19,700 while immigrant from Israel was 19,000. Newmax.com wrote in October 2002, in reference to Haifa University’s Professor Enron Sofer, that due to less fertility among the Jews, their emigration to respective countries and due to high fertility among Arabs, Jews will become a minority in Israel by 2020 and their population percentage would become 42per cent.
Whatever may be the facts, Israel continuously gets the US support. Recently, an 89 years old reporter in White House, Helen Thomas, was sacked for saying that the problem in Middle East can be solved only if the Jews return to their respective countries. The senior journalist, who was working in White House for 57 years, was sacked for her straight speaking. Similarly, the person in charge of American forces in Afghanistan was sacked for his public expression of opinion. Mahmud Ahmadinejad has, time and again, said that the Israeli state should come to an end and recently, on the occasion of completion of five years of his presidency, he said that the condition of Israel is very bad. Large numbers of Jews are leaving Israel and nobody wants to remain surrounded with dangers and violence for life. According to experts, due to the weakening American economy, Israeli Jews are leaving Israel. On the other hand, the Jews are feeling insecure due to increasing strength of Hamas and Hezbollah and due to ideological support of Iran. The American foreign policy experts also expressed risks of political unrest due to economic crisis. With the weakening of Washington, Israeli existence would also face existential threat. Undemocratic, weak regimes in Arab countries are also worried because of threat to their existence. Who would have expected the fast demise of Soviet Union till 1990 and who could have guessed the fall of Saddam government till 2003? Moscow was preparing to face the disintegration of Soviet Union but in spite of all the problems, the US in not preparing for any political crisis. One should not be surprised to see large scale changes in the future.
Author: Muhammad Ahmed Kazmi
Md Muddassir Quamar is a research student at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND: P R Kumaraswamy