Thursday, March 6, 2008

More than Gaza

As Israel pursues its "holocaust" in Gaza, America deploys a destroyer off Lebanon, Iranian President Ahmadinejad makes a historic trip to Iraq and the Arab cold war grows colder, should the region be bracing itself for the worst?

By Amira Howeidy
Al-Ahram Weekly

""Silence, massacre" ran the caption to a scathing cartoon published in the London- based Al-Hayat newspaper on Tuesday showing a line of faceless, suit-clad men watching as black smoke rises from Gaza. The illustration, a depiction of international and Arab silence over Israel's "holocaust" in the Gaza Strip, encapsulates the general mood in the Arab world where feelings of frustration and helplessness are mixed with growing apprehension over the direction of events in the conflict-ridden Middle East.....

If there are any winners or losers in the current flare up in Gaza, former diplomat and director of the Arab Centre for Futuristic Studies Gamil Matar told the Weekly, "then Hamas has emerged victorious and Abbas and Israel the losers".....

Conflicting messages emanating from the region are, says Matar, worrying to Egypt, whose own officials have, in response, contributed some confusion of their own. "Egyptian officials are so worried that at times they have issued confused and contradictory statements. Two weeks ago Egypt's foreign minister said Egypt would break the leg of any Palestinian that crosses the border and now they are inviting injured Palestinians to cross the border for hospital treatment."

Egypt's primary concern, says Matar, "is Hamas's powerful position and rising popularity on its north east borders".

And the real dilemma?

"That anything can happen," says Matar."

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