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Columnists question Arab apathy

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Last few weeks saw assault on Gaza has prompted condemnation from the world body politic and civil-society groups, but the Arab world politicians have largely turned their head away from the grisly fiasco. Many commentators across the globe are pointing fingers at the Arab rulers and kingdoms who have remained as U.S.-CHICAGO-MIDEAST-PROTESTmute spectators.

In his piece in Huffington Post, Mehdi Hasan, the popular news website’s political director, says that their silence is not the worst part but the complicity is. He argues that Israeli officials may have bragged to their US counterparts that they wanted to “keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge”, but they couldn’t have maintained their seven-year siege of Gaza without help.  From Air Chief Marshal Hosni Mubarak to General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Arab Republic of Egypt has been a keen accomplice in Israel’s strangulation of Gaza.

He says that the blockade is a joint Israeli-Egypt crime. “In recent months, the junta in Cairo has resealed its border with Gaza, destroyed most of the tunnels that were lifelines for its residents and allowed a mere 140 injured Palestinians to cross into Egypt through Rafah – the only exit from the Strip that isn’t controlled by the Israelis,” he noted that.

Meanwhile Arab cartoonists have fervently used their sketch pencils savaging the failure of governments to help the Palestinians, and criticising ordinary people for being too preoccupied by the World Cup to care. In a piece in the Guardian, Ian Black argues that  Arab world cartoonists prove a faster draw than their governments over Gaza: “Gazas suffering in the latest round of conflict with Israel has prompted anger and condemnation but little action across the Arab world – where cartoonists are savaging the failure of governments to help the Palestinians, and criticising ordinary people for being too preoccupied by the World Cup to care.”

The Arab street is also finding the official Arab reaction incoherent, at times providing cover for the Israeli military assault. A New York Times report says that as Egyptian activists organized an aid convoy, and marches were held in Yemen and Tunisia, the breach between the leaders and their citizens seemed wider than ever.

 

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