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Arabs Not Ready to Normalise Relations with Israel

The state-run Al-Thawra newspaper in a July 29 editorial strongly criticised comments made by a United States official asking Arabs to normalise relations with Israel as a step towards peace in the region.

The editor-in-chief of the daily, Asaad Aboud, was referring to recent statements of the US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, who visited Damascus late last month as part of a regional tour.

The author said that any normalisation with the Jewish state would amount to turning a blind eye to the “aggressiveness and brutality” of Israel and would reward its hostile behaviour instead of punishing it.

He added that the Israelis should show their commitment to peace and present Arabs with satisfactory guarantees before they should consider opening up to Israel.

He stressed that linking the freezing of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories and the normalisation of ties with the Arab world was a big mistake.

On July 28, Samira al-Masalma, editor-in-chief of the official newspaper Tishreen, wrote that stopping the building of settlements was not enough, and she insisted on the principle of land for peace, which states that Arabs will conclude peace with Israel in return for its withdrawal from occupied Arab territories.

Nobody has the right to give Israel cover to continue occupying Arab land and then demand that Arab nations normalise relations with the Jewish state, she said.

Another opinion piece in Tishreen said that there was a contradiction in the policies of the Obama administration in the region.

Ezeldin Darwish wrote on July 28 that Obama says that he is working to achieve peace and stability while avoiding annoying Israel, which, the author said, rejected the internationally-recognised basics of peace.

Darwish wondered about the value of American peace endeavours in the absence of any pressure on the Jewish state.

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