|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
4 - 10 January 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Let them eat cakeSir- The latest US proposals for a Middle East peace accord must be causing Mr Arafat and his aides sleepless nights. To accept or not to accept? That indeed is the question.
Let us look at the proposals dispassionately: the Israelis would have to evacuate 95 per cent of the West Bank and 100 per cent of the Gaza Strip. This is unprecedented. It would mean that something like 200,000 Jewish settlers would be sent packing, leaving the path clear for a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. What could be better?
For this, Mr Arafat would have to forego the long-standing Palestinian demand for the right of return. At first sight this would seem like a deadly blow against Mr Arafat. But is it?
There are some four million displaced Palestinians all over the world. These have made their way, for better or worse, in whichever country they found themselves in. Would it be reasonable or practical for them to give up a thriving existence in order to "return" to the impoverished West Bank and Gaza Strip?
There they would find no jobs, as those already living there can tell them. So what if they have no right of return privilege?
But let us, for argument's sake, assume that all four million wish to return to their homeland. What does this mean? It means that Israel will be swamped with Palestinians who will soon outnumber the Jews and perhaps the status quo will return to what it was in 1917 when the notorious Balfour Declaration was made.
Now what Israeli government would agree to that? So the right of return will never be accepted by any Israeli government. And if the Palestinians insist then the Arab-Israeli conflict will go on forever.
In view of the above, would it be so terrible for the Palestinians to accept the US proposals (with minor amendments and provisions for the holy places)? After all, you can't have your cake and eat it.
Mamdouh El Dakhakhni
Change of faceSir- Is there a reason why you have the photo and photo gallery of Gamal Abdel-Nasser continuously on your site? Is Al-Ahram a Nasserist newspaper? Or do you simply like to irritate people? Nothing personal, but how about giving a break to Sadat or one of the kings? Let's see someone else once in a while.
Patrons and clientsSir- First of all, let me express my profound thanks to you for giving your readership the opportunity to unveil their thoughts and views on miscellaneous issues and causes.
I will take this opportunity to broach the subject of a detestable phenomenon predominant in Egyptian society, and which affects very badly the people living in it. That phenomenon is patronage. Good jobs and unfair advantages are obtained for a bunch of incompetents, simply because they are the relatives of some dignitary or another. This nepotism is conducive to corruption and mischief on all social, political and economic levels; it also breeds the apathy and jealousy that prevail among the populace.
If only we could make viable suggestions to eradicate patronage. Any of the underprivileged who wants to be successful on his own merits is in fact hoping against hope.
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