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1-15 September 2012             13-27 Shawwal 1433 Hijri

Note: Using editorials as an indicator, this series presents views, understanding and attitude of the Urdu periodicals in India towards various developments concerning the Middle East. The selection of an item does not mean the endorsement or concurrence with their accuracy or views. Editor, MEI@ND
Roznama Hamara Samaj (Daily Our Society), Delhi
Editorial, 1 September 2012, Saturday
1. Indian PM’s Address on Palestine and Syria
India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his NAM Summit address said that the Palestinian and Syrian crises should be resolved soon. The Palestinian issue is very old; Israel still occupies Palestinian lands and does not allow Palestinian Muslims to pray in Islam’s third holiest site. The Palestinian people have been struggling against Israel since 1948 and a large number of Muslims have sacrificed their lives to protect the first Qiblah. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has tried to bring the world’s attention towards this problem. Israel wants to destroy the Haram al-Sharif and has been secretly creating tunnels around the structure. India has always supported the Palestinian cause. India wants peace to prevail all over the world. The Prime Minister's address at the NAM Summit is proof of India’s unwavering resolve to help the people of Palestine get back their lands.

The Syrian problem has since the last few months become a major crisis and it is important to stop the bloodshed. Moreover, a majority of Jews in Israel are enemies of Islam. That is why many hardliner Jews indulge in blasphemous activities against Islam and harm Palestinians, their houses and their Mosques. The US supports Israel due to various reasons, even if the latter kills Palestinians and occupies their lands. Is it possible to bring peace in the world this way? It is important that the world respond to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s address and work towards resolving these issues. The condition in Syria is extremely bad, thousands of people have lost their lives and the fight is continuing as Basher al-Assad is not yet ready to relinquish power.

The Egyptian President also expressed his concern for the people of Syria and Palestine and asked Basher al-Assad to step down. He also said that peace will remain a casualty till the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. Nevertheless, the Indian Prime Minister address has reiterated India’s support for the Palestinian cause which it has maintained since the beginning of the problem.

The Etemaad Urdu Daily (The Confidence Urdu Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 7 September 2012, Friday
2. Foreign Policy of the New Egyptian Government
The New Egyptian government has not laid down its foreign policy. The newly-elected President went on a tour of China in his first foreign visit. Next, he visited Iran to attend the NAM Summit. The US looks towards both these countries with suspicion and the Obama administration is facing criticism for its aid to Egypt after Morsi’s visit to China. Despite the criticism though, the US has decided to send a large business delegation to Cairo. Nearly a hundred executives from fifty giant American companies like Coca Cola, Boeing, General Electric, Google, IBM, Microsoft etc will be participating in a four-day conference in Cairo.

The Egyptian economy has been in doldrums since the fall of Mubarak. The forex reserve has also been affected due to problems in oil payments. The US wishes to help the Egyptian economy. Though the US is uncertain on Morsi’s policy towards Israel whose security is of paramount importance for it, the Obama administration has agreed to give aid to Egypt. The latter is hugely indebted to the US and the talks on settling the issue are continuing.

The biggest problem for the Egyptian economy is the huge budgetary deficit. Forex reserve has also diminished. Unemployment among the youth is also a major issue. It is important to create opportunities and improve the school and university system and would not be possible without the help of international organizations. The way Morsi has worked till now has given a very mixed indication, and it would be difficult to suggest how he would deal with the economic problems. He swiftly established his authority over the military when faced with the problem of the military trying to undermine his power and the elected parliament. He has promised to respect all international agreements including the one with Israel but has not shied away from issuing strong statements about the neighbour.

The first most important challenge for the newly elected President would be to improve the economy. He wants to avoid devising any foreign policy which can affect domestic issues. It is important to deal with external issues but not before stabilizing the domestic situation. Egyptian moves can impact the entire region as Egypt is a very important country. It can be a major voice in dealing with the regional issues. His visit to Iran is the first by an Egyptian President after the 1979 revolution. The Gulf countries and American anxiety over the visit were put to rest to a large extent with his criticism of his Iranian ally, Syria. Morsi will also take into consideration the opinion of the Muslim Brotherhood and its old leaders before taking any foreign policy decision.

Roznama Sahafat (Journalism Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 8 September 2012, Saturday
3. Aftermath of the Tehran Conference
The remarks made by Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, regarding the functioning of the UN while addressing the NAM Summit in Tehran speaks volumes about the leader. In the presence of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, he said that the structure of the international organization was impractical and it had become a puppet of the US. The Supreme Leader said that the Security Council had become a symbol of authoritarianism and that the West wished to monopolies nuclear power. In addition, it was clarified that Iran was not pursuing nuclear weaponry, it being a crime against humanity and a non-pardonable sin. The Supreme Leader reiterated the Iranian position for its right to peaceful use of nuclear power, which it will therefore not give up.

The successful organization of the NAM Summit has been a slap for the US and Israel given the majority of national leaders who attended the Summit including those whose participation was not sure. The US was not expecting such participation from so many countries. In this context, the Summit gains more significance, which will lead to many long-term results that are certain to go against the US.

As far as Ban Ki-moon is concerned, he spoke the American language during his meeting with the Supreme Leader and the Iranian President. He appealed to the Iranian leadership to take strong steps towards proving their nuclear programme as peaceful. It was also said that the threatening language used by Iranian leaders against Israel would not be tolerated. It is the duty of the accuser to provide proof, and in this case the countries which accuse Iran of making nuclear weapons should provide proof in support to support their claims. Yet what proof can they provide if they have not succeeded in gathering any evidence against Iran? The American intelligence agencies themselves have said that there is no proof of Iran trying to make nuclear bombs. The successful organization of the NAM Summit in Tehran has further enraged those countries who have been long accusing Iran.

The Siasta Daily (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 12 September 2012, Wednesday
4. India-Palestine Relations
The so called super powers have acquired silence over the question of the freedom of Palestine and its people and have since long backed Israel. However, many developing countries including India have time and gain expressed their concern about the Palestine issue. India has consistently maintained friendship with Palestine. The Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was a good friend of India. The majority of India’s population supports Palestine and opposes Israeli behaviour. The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited India after the NAM Summit where India tried to bring the focus back on the Palestinian problem. Many NAM members expressed their voice against American and Israeli policies in the Middle East. India appealed to the world to come forward and help resolve the Palestinian issue. It also committed US$10 million in aid to Palestine which would further strengthen the friendship.

The UN should work towards giving Palestine a membership status. Palestine has been trying to secure the UN membership for long, and it came for discussion during the meeting between the visiting President and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Palestine and its people feel proud that a country like India is their sympathizer and friend but India’s growing relations with Israel raises doubts about its Middle East policy. It is the policy of leaders and it has not changed the sympathy among the common people towards Palestine and its people. India and Palestine agree on several international issues and they agree that the conflict can be resolved only through peaceful negotiations. India has made its position clear on illegal Israeli constructions on Palestinian lands even though some of India’s policies in the region have emboldened Israel. It is true that the Middle East conflict cannot be resolved through the use of force, but to restrain Israel from using force, the world community needs to use forceful means. Until India and fellow developing countries assert their way into restructuring the UN, it would be difficult to resolve the crisis in the Middle East. The support towards the Palestinian cause is an important part of India’s foreign policy. It is important to help the people of Palestine regain their lands and state and it is the duty of world powers to restrain Israel through force. The people of Palestine have been struggling for freedom and statehood for a long time.

Inquilab (The Revolution), Mumbai
Editorial, 13 September 2012, Thursday
5. Mahmoud Abbas’s Visit and Our Palestine Policy
Mahmoud Abbas while returning after his two-day India visit must be as happy as was after his earlier visits. He was given a warm welcome upon his arrival in New Delhi and India reiterated its support to Palestine but also said that it would make all possible efforts to help Palestine achieve a member status at the UN. New Delhi has maintained this position of help and co-operation with the Palestinian people for the past six decades.

The India-Palestine friendship is as old as independent India’s history, in fact, it goes further back. The father of the nation had supported the Palestinian people. This friendship has thus passed through several winters and autumns. That is what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated when he said that India has always supported the people of Palestine and he has never gone back from India disappointed. India has always provided financial help to Palestine and has provided scholarship to Palestinian students to pursue higher education in India. It has also founded two libraries in the Gaza Strip. The diplomatic relations are deep-rooted and the Palestinian leadership has made several visits to India whilst India has reverted back with high level visits to Palestine. India gifted an embassy for Palestine in New Delhi. An important point is that despite establishing diplomatic relations with Israel India has never abandoned the Palestinian cause. It is an important aspect of our foreign policy and is in tandem with our non-aligned policy.

However, one needs to understand that the intensity of India’s support towards Palestine has declined over the years while its relations with Israel, particularly in the fields of defence and technology, have strengthened. India’s voice against Israeli aggression, illegal occupation and construction on Palestinian lands have also become milder as if we no longer remember that Mahatma Gandhi was against the establishment of Israel. It is also a point to remember that we did not establish immediate diplomatic relations with Israel. Perhaps the changing times have made it difficult to continue with the old policy of considering a friend’s enemy as our enemy.

Compiled and Translated by Md. Muddassir Quamar

Md. Muddassir Quamar is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Email

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.