Many critical of Egypt’s position, but few solutions suggested
CAIRO: The Israeli-Hezbollah conflict continues to dominate the news and consequently editorials. Articles are covering numerous angles. These are from critics of the US, Israel and Europe, as well as those channeling their censure towards regional leaders including the Egyptian government.
The Qana massacre and its lack of international condemnation have given ground to debate over the role and intentions of the international players in this conflict.
George W. Bush is still insisting on giving the Israelis more time to destroy Hezbollah, wrote Makram Mohamed Ahmed in Al-Ahram. This would help impose the Israeli-American terms, Ahmed added, because a cease-fire might mean that Hezbollah has won.
In Al-Masry Al-Youm, Amr Khafaga noted a new kind of atheism: losing faith in the international community. He said anyone who followed the Lebanese news would lose their belief in world order.
Everyone talks with a frigid language that doesn t press for a solution or demand the immediate cassation of these crimes, Khafaga explained, Even with the second Qana massacre; the international community didn’t move an inch. [The reaction] didn t amount to anything more than a bunch of statements that avoided accusation and objection. While many were critical of the United States, Khafaga expressed his disappointment in the European community. Three weeks of civilian assassinations, particularly women and children . and Europe remains on the bylines as an embarrassing commentator.
He, however, was fearful of the demise of European power, as it would lead to a further imbalance of power leaving Arabs under Israeli, American and British rule. What s more important is that [we as Arabs] become a power that stands up to other powers, he concluded.
In the same newspaper, Gouda suggested the Arabs take a united stance and freeze their membership in the United Nations as an objection. Gouda explained that the U.S. is not absolute and neither is Israel; the confrontations of the former in Iraq and the latter with Hezbollah are proof. Other countries suffering from American oppression would join Arab and Islamic countries in their decision, he added.
Gouda offered his suggestion to Arab governments and to the Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa in particular, saying that this might make up for the league’s silence in the past few days.
Critical of Moussa s role, Gouda wrote that he didn t even try to deal with the current crisis in an appropriate manner. The public respect for Moussa, Gouda continued, gives him an added responsibility that he’s expected to live up to.
Gouda ridiculed Moussa s statement that proposed Arab governments should use oil as a weapon. The use of the term Arab governments is misplaced, Gouda explains. There are no sovereign Arab governments . There are Arab governors with individual and absolute rule.
The same opinion, which implies Arab leaders are not supporting Lebanon due to personal interests, was also expressed in other independent publications. In Al-Destour, one of the front page headlines implied that National Democratic Party Leader Gamal Mubarak paid the price for inheriting the Egyptian rule by supporting the Israeli aggression. Al-Destour editor Ibrahim Eissa criticized the continuous official statements that say Egypt won t fight others wars. No one, Eissa explained, has asked the government to go to war. Even Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, said he isn t betting on Arab leaders. The only request, Eissa continued, is that those leaders would stop talking instead of sinfully collaborating with the enemy.
But Egypt went to war against Iraq to liberate Kuwait and participated in the U.S.-approved war against Iraq, added Eissa. When the U.S, doesn t want [Egyptian intervention] the President is concerned about his children and population and doesn t fight.
Eissa also refuted government claims that its stance towards Lebanon is fueled by a concern over the country s interests. He said, It’s not in Egypt interest to receive foreign funds and aid [in exchange for participation in certain wars] or the [Mubarak] keeping his presidency for an eternity or passing it on to his son . This is the interest of the country’s leader.
It wasn t all criticism, though. The president had supporters in state-run newspapers, mainly Al-Gomhorayia. Samir Ragab described President Hosni Mubarak s statements as daring, courageous and honest. Egypt won t abandon the Arab nations under any circumstances, Ragab said in reference to Mubarak s statements and efforts in resolving the crisis.
The citizen is blaming the government because it doesn t hear them or comply with their needs, wrote Mohamed Mostafa Shardy in Al-Wafd.
Anger towards the government for not listening to public demands for a firmer official stance against Israeli aggression was also expressed via the government s decision to suddenly raise oil prices in spite of the public rejection.
In Al- Masry Al-Youm, Magdy Mehanna criticized a high ranking official at the National Democratic Party, who had earlier said that he doesn t read newspapers but instead chooses to skim through summaries presented to him at his desk. This official made another announcement that the government hadn’t organized a poll prior to increasing oil prices; because it knows there would be 100 percent rejection.
Mehanna said that studies carried out by a contributory of the ministerial presidency office indicate otherwise. The studies have shown that there is room for accepting the price increase, but only as long as the government will compensate the elimination of these subsidies by an increase in salary or the distribution of monetary funds in some other manner.