July 19 to 23, 2010

– Arab guilty of rape after consensual sex with Jew (21/7/2010) – The Guardian

Sabbar Kashur, 30, Palestinian, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for having, according to the court, committed a rape by deception. He indeed had a relationship with a Jew who did believe he was Jewish. Gideon Levy in Haaretz responds by asking this question: if the man was Jewish and had prentended to be an Arab to sleep with an Arab woman, would he have been accused of rape ? (He impersonated a human, Haaretz, 22/7/2010).

– Gaza blockade eased, back to business – slowly (Gaza: le blocus assoupli, les affaires reprennent – un peu) (21/7/2010) – Le Nouvel Observateur

At the occasion of the visit to Gaza from the High Representative of EU for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, the Nouvel Observateur analyzes the economic conditions in the Palestinian territory after the relaxng of the blockade by Israel. Some activities are gradually resuming, but the economy will not recover as the export is still prevented by the blockade.

– Why Palestinians will not hold elections, at least for now (21/7/2010) – Arab Reform Bulletin

Omran Risheq, a Palestinian writer, highlights the causes of the postponement of local elections in Palestine last June. On the one hand, Fatah has failed to solve its internal divisions. On the other hand, it has failed to create a national coalition around him, all parties trying to catch the unsatisfied voters. This context thus left Fatah with to two choices, either to cancel the elections, or to repeat the scenario of 2006. The author sees no solutions in the near future. According to him, « the Palestinian political system is entering into an extended period of stagnation characterized by authoritarian, police state rule, whether in the West Bank or Gaza”.

– Belgium-Morocco for 12 euros (Belgique-Maroc pour 12 euros) (20/07/2010) –La Libre Belgique

The Belgian telecommunications company Belgacom launches a new way to transfer money via mobile phones to Morocco. Didier Bellens, CEO, explains that the « mobile phone is an ideal solution in countries where the banking system is less developed than in Europe”. Belgacom intends to compete with a company like Western Union with lower commissions.

– In sign of warming ties, Turkey FM reportedly meets Hamas chief(20/07/2010) – Haaretz

During a one-day visit in Damascus on Monday, Ahmet Davutoglu met with the exiled leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, established in the Syrian capital. The two men reportedly discussed ways to break the siege of Gaza, Palestinian reconciliation efforts and Turkey’s requests in the aftermath of the flotilla events. The Turkish Foreign Minister also met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with whom he discussed the same issues, as well as a Turkish mediation in possible negotiations between Syria and Israel.

– Syria’s niqab ban is part of a clash within Islam itself (07/19/2010) – The Guardian

Syria has decided to ban the niqab for public school teachers. According to Faisal al Yafai, the Syrian case illustrates the debate that now agitates the entire Muslim world: the relation between the personal and the political spheres. The Syrian government feared that the growing religiosity in the society would jeopardize its authoritarian and secular power. The author doubts however, that such a political prohibition of a choice related to the personal sphere – identical to that recently has been voted in France – is likely to improve the situation.