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Kings and comedians

Arab leaders have done nothing to benefit the Palestinians

by Yasser Akkaoui

There’s something wrong here. Protesters are supporting Palestinians in London, Paris, Berlin and even Santiago while the streets of Arab capitals are mostly quiet. Meanwhile, the American — and Jewish — comedian Jon Stewart is expressing more outrage over the accumulating atrocities in Gaza than all of the Arab leaders combined.

What is it they fear? The Americans are obviously frustrated with Israel’s heavy handedness — a point driven home by Secretary of State John Kerry’s unintentionally public quip about Israel’s ‘pinpoint’ strikes. Arab leaders can use this to their advantage by publicly and privately pressuring American politicians to more loudly condemn Israel’s actions. This may be hard given that it’s an election year in the US, but they should at least try and could even make some donations of their own.

For far too long, Arab leaders have done nothing to benefit the Palestinians. During times of conflict they keep their mouths shut, waiting to throw money at the destruction when the fighting ends. This simply must change.

There is mounting evidence to suggest Israel has been committing war crimes in Gaza, as it is suspected of doing in the past. These crimes must be properly documented. Arab and Palestinian leaders could deal Israeli propaganda a deadly blow by working to prove beyond doubt how horrendously the Israeli army batters Gaza.

While Arab leaders are failing, it is refreshing to see Western media doing a better job covering the conflict this time around. It was happenstance that journalists witnessed four children murdered on a beach, but at least this time children killed while at play got more coverage than in the past. Palestinian suffering is being reported better than it used to be, which is a welcome change.

There are further signs of progress. US broadcaster NBC was shamed into returning its correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin to Gaza after pulling him for suspicious reasons. Meanwhile, CNN is being criticized for dispatching Diana Magnay from the region to Moscow after she called Israelis who were cheering as bombs rained on Gaza “scum” on Twitter. US news outlets are beginning to realize how one-sided they have been in their past coverage, and journalists are increasingly doing their part to investigate Israeli claims of Hamas using ‘human shields’ that have for too long gone unquestioned and been used to justify heinous actions. Even Israel’s +972 Magazine is heaping criticism on Tel Aviv. Arab rulers should follow their lead.

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Yasser Akkaoui

Yasser Akkaoui is Executive's editor-in-chief.

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1 comment

Andrew August 2, 2014 - 6:16 PM

There needs more real analysis here – certainly it is true, but what should Arab leaders do specifically? Who are you blaming specifically? Jordan? I think it is clear that in 2012 Egypt’s intervention stopped the attacks after only a few days. Their complicity now is sickening.

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