Sunday Readings


2013: A Bad Year For Hamas, Analyst Contends, But It Remains Standing And A Threat To The West Josh Nason of Tabletmag says that for Hamas, 2013 was a very bad year as the number of its allies and finances suffered declines. Nonetheless, the terrorist group remains standing and a threat.

“The organization has a penchant for resilience and a knack for biding its time. If anything, the upheaval in the Middle East shows just how quickly luck can turn around. While “wait and see” rarely makes for good policy, neither Hamas nor its foes seem to have much of a strategy for moving forward.

“Those hoping that Hamas’ relative weakness might bring about a bold move such as recognizing Israel are likely to be disappointed. Though desperate, Hamas relies on resistance to Israel as its raison d’être. With American-brokered peace talks officially ongoing between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and Israel, Hamas must preserve its traditional role in the opposition to save face in Palestinian society. This is especially true given the emergence of Salafist organizations that have provided a challenge from the right, giving Meshaal a pressing internal incentive to derail any moves toward peace with a new round of rocket attacks,” cautions Nason.

Christian Persecution In Middle East Poses Threat To Democracy In The Region
Former special prosecutor and current law professor Ken Starr writes in USA Today that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East is both a human rights outrage but a threat to democracy in the region.

“The silence of Western governments about this phenomenon and its primary cause – the rise of Islamist extremism – is at best short sighted. The Christian exodus represents not only a humanitarian crisis, but a looming national security problem for the West.

“As Baroness Warsi notes, Christians have helped shape the cultures they are now fleeing. In Iraq, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, Christian communities have lived and worked for almost two millennia. If they continue to exit the region, or if they continue to be persecuted and repressed, the increasingly thin chances that Middle Eastern countries will develop into stable, peaceful societies, free of violent religious extremism, will virtually disappear,” he contends.

Gulf News Editorial Calls For World To Support Syrian Refugees

The paper’s editorial board expresses exasperation at the abandonment of the millions of refugees from the civil war in Syria and calls on the world to make a difference in 2014.

“The huge scale of the humanitarian crisis is overwhelming efforts to help the refugees. As the world looks forward to 2014, there needs to be a renewed international effort to support the humanitarian task. Donors who promised money to the UN fund should make sure that they have paid in full and then they should recognise that they need to double their contributions as what was planned a year ago has proved totally inadequate to deal with the consequences of the continuing mayhem.

“It is shocking that this massive humanitarian disaster has been totally created by man. Nature had nothing to do with it, but only the cruelty and lack of interest of human beings fighting for a deluded and miserable cause.”

Columnist Says Palestinians And Israelis Can Coexist
Hussein Ibish of The National believes there is hope for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – but only if Israel ends its occupation, which seems an unlikely option. Ibish points to two episodes of violence in recent weeks to support his assertion that both are possible.



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