Abdel Bari Atwan endorses Eilat attacks

This is a cross-post from Just Journalism.

Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, is reported to have endorsed the attack on Israelis in Eilat last week. According to Memri’s translation of an editorial from his newspaper, Atwan argued that the attack successfully ‘corrected the course’ of the Arab Spring :

‘The Eilat operation, as I see it, corrected the course of the Arab revolutions and refocused them on the most dangerous disease, namely the Israeli tyranny. This disease is the cause of all the defects that have afflicted the region for the past 65 years…’

Atwan is a prominent media commentator who regularly provides high-profile commentary on developments in the Arab world. For example, he appeared on the BBC’s Newsnight earlier in the year to debate Western intervention in Libya, while The Guardian’s print edition included an op-ed by him as recently as last week – the fifth time he has appeared in print in the broadsheet this year.

His editorial for Al-Quds Al-Arabi framed the Eilat attack as a response to the ‘disgraceful collaboration’ between Arab regimes and Israel that had provided it ‘40 years of security and stability that it did not at all deserve’:

‘This attack put the spotlight back on the most important struggle – [the struggle] for the honour of the Arab and Islamic nation, which Israel has harmed with the disgraceful collaboration of the Arab dictatorships… [These dictatorships] entered into a false peace process [with Israel], thereby providing it with 40 years of security and stability that it did not at all deserve. Resistance is a legitimate right as long as land is occupied and the people and holy places are humiliated… Any democratic change that is born out of the Arab revolutions but does not embrace the resistance will be [only] a partial and superficial change, incompatible with the principles of Arab and Muslim honour.’

Atwan contends that the attack provides Egypt with an ‘opportunity’ to ‘gradually revoke’ the peace treaty with Israel, which ‘takes pleasure’ in the ‘abasement of the Arabs and Muslims’:

‘The Israeli attack [on the Egyptian soldiers] is not only an opportunity for the SCAF, which rules Egypt, to reopen [the issue of] the Camp David Accords and restore full Egyptian sovereignty to Sinai; it is also [a chance] to gradually revoke these accords in practice, as long as Israel is not committed to them. Israel’s policy, which is directed toward, and even takes pleasure in, the abasement of the Arabs and Muslims, and which securely relies on American and Western support and on the submissiveness of the Arab dictatorships… is responsible for this operation and for all future operations of its kind.’

The editorial is only the latest example of Atwan’s extreme hostility towards Israel. In 2007 he allegedly stated that if an Iranian nuclear missile struck Israel, he would go to Trafalgar Square and ‘dance with delight’.

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