by Sami Allaheq
Disagreements between the GCC and Arab League.
The Gulf Corporation Council (GCC), whose members consist of the oil-rich nations of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, are also part of the broader Arab League. However, Abdul Aziz Al-Owaisheq who is the assistant secretary-general of the GCC for negotiations and strategic dialogues emphasized on his disagreements with the Arab League’s recent economic summit declarations. Al-Owaisheq argues how the Arab League should be more realistic and practical regarding their economic ambitions. The goals of the impending Third Arab Economic Summit are to increase investments between member nations, strengthen Arab cooperation institutions, and to unify capital investments of joint Arab companies – all for the hope of creating or opening new job opportunities in order to reduce unemployment and poverty for Arab League member-nations. Al-Owaisheq mentions how these goals might translate to futile attempts due to several factors. One reason is the lack of export diversification among Arab League members which would in turn mean a lack of intra-regional trade. Other reasons include the lack of adequate transportation facilities, absence of a unified customs union, and finally the non-existence of unified standards and specifications between member nations are among other factors. Al-Owaisheq urges the Arab League to follow the GCC as a model for achieving successful economic integration. http://www.arabnews.com/gcc-official-wants-arab-league-set-realistic-goals
The legitimacy of Israeli settlement outposts in Palestine
After Palestine achieved its recent status as a non-member observer at the United Nations, Palestinian activists are now eager to use their status as citizens of an internationally recognized nation (though not yet as a state) in accordance with the international community. Recently these activists are setting up an outpost or tent settlement which is specifically known as Bab Al-Shams in the E1 strip of the occupied West Bank land east of Jerusalem, due to Israeli plans announced last year in November that it would construct thousands of settler homes in the area. There is disagreement within the Palestinian community that Israel’s plans are illegal since their plan is to establish settlement outposts in independent Palestinian territory. The E1 area is under full Israeli security and civilian control where it is impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits. Palestinian activists believe that their plight is a legitimate non-violent right after the UN general assembly granted Palestinians independence recently. However, Israeli Police gave the activists an eviction order since they stated the area is a closed military zone off-limits to civilians alike. The idea of a “genuine” two-state solution still seems farfetched. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/2013111192445727430.html
IsDB to significantly subsidize member-countries.
Khalid Al-Aboodi, chief executive officer of the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank’s (IsDB) Islamic Corp recently announced that the organization will subsidize $US 500 million to member-countries. The aim is to assist private sector investors and governments to develop affordable homes in all 56 member countries. Progressive funding will initially start in only 10 countries before funding the rest of the organization’s members. The plan could significantly strengthen ties between all the Muslim-member countries in the Middle Eastern, African, and Central Asian regions. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-18/islamic-development-bank-to-start-500-million-fund-for-affordable-homes.html