October 31 to November 4, 2011

–          Euphoria Turns to Discontent as Egypt’s Revolution Stalls – The New York Times  – 01/11/2011

More than eight months after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled, the euphoria of Egypt’s political spring has surrendered to a season of discontent. There is widespread gloom that Egypt is again stagnating, its economy heading toward a cliff, while the caretaker government refuses or fails to act. Parliamentary elections, scheduled to start Nov. 28 and entailing three rounds ending Jan. 10, were meant to bring a sense of achievement and distill the uprising into a fairer, less corrupt political and economic system. But as campaigning begins in earnest this week, the proliferation of more than 55 parties and about 6,600 candidates for 498 seats in the People’s Assembly inspires mostly confusion.

–          Israel ‘punishes’ Palestinians for joining UNESCOMiddle East Online – 02/11/2011

Palestinian leaders reacted angrily after Israel said it would build 2,000 settler homes and freeze the transfer of Palestinian tax funds to punish them for joining UNESCO. Every month, Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority tens of millions of dollars in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports. The money constitutes a large percentage of the Palestinian budget. Israel often freezes the transfer of funds as a punitive measure in response to diplomatic or political developments viewed as harmful.

–          Arab spring: the media make their revolution ( Printemps arabe : les médias font leur révolution) – Jeune Afrique – 03/11/2011

The recent political upheavals are accelerating a change that was already engaged in the Arab newsrooms. To varying degrees, the Arab media have one thing in common: they did not wait for 2011 and its attendant demonstrations or riots to do their aggiornamento. Since the 1990s, satellite channels – the most iconic is the Qatari Al-Jazeera – and the Internet revolution forced the print media, including the most resistant to change to adapt. Gradually, Algerian and Moroccan newspapers, for example, began to push, mostly in the dark for lack of clear definition of the limits not to exceed, the famous red lines. The Arab Spring has not been the trigger for a profound change, but a catalyst.

–          Syria: despite the agreement with the Arab League, the violence continues( Syrie : malgré l’accord avec la Ligue arabe, les violences continuent) – Le Monde – 03/11/2011

Dozens of people were killed Thursday, November 3 in Homs, in central Syria, after Damascus’s agreement of a peace plan of the Arab League to stop the repression of demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad, report witnesses and opponents. After seven months of challenging the regime, the Syrian authorities have pledged Wednesday to evacuate the troops deployed in the cities, to release political prisoners and open talks with the opposition. Analysts said the Arab initiative may allow the Assad regime to « buy time and reduce the pressure at which it is subjected. »

–          ‘New setback’ for Palestinian hopes on UN membershipBBC – 04/11/2011

A UN diplomat says the UK, France and Colombia have told Security Council members they would abstain in any vote on Palestinian membership. Their decision is a setback for the Palestinians, who have been trying to win support from European states. In real terms this does not matter, because the Americans have already made it clear they would veto the Palestinian request. But in political and moral terms it does: the Palestinians were hoping to show they could isolate the Americans by getting majority support on the Security Council. That looks unlikely now.